Golden Apple / Bael Fruit (Aegle Marmelos)

ORAC Value:
μ mol TE/100g.

The antioxidant value of Golden Apple / Bael Fruit (Aegle Marmelos) described in ORAC units is: 17,933 μ mol TE/100g.

Depending on the part of the world you are in, a golden apple or wood apple will be referencing an entirely different fruit, so it's important to clarify this ORAC value is for the Aegle marmelos. In addition to those names it is called the bael fruit tree, bengal quince, maredoo, and Japanese bitter orange.

It's a species of tree found throughout Southeast Asia, most notably India. Though it can also be found growing in neighboring countries such as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Nepal. It can tolerate a wide range of climates; a soil pH range from 5 to 10; temperatures as low as 20 degrees and as high as 118 degrees Fahrenheit; very high drought tolerance. Because of its versatility, this deciduous tree is known for growing in many conditions others can't. A mature tree will reach a height of 30 to 50 feet. In the Hindu religion, the aegle marmelos is considered a sacred tree and as such, its leaves are used as offerings for one of their 33 gods (or by some counts, one of the 330 million gods in total).

The golden apple is one of the highest antioxidant fruits in the world. You can eat the bael fruit or apple, though its peel is extremely tough and its only the tender fruit pulp inside which is edible. It is reported to taste very sweet, like a marmalade. In India it is often made into jams, chutneys, and a sweetened juice beverage similar to lemonade. Its alleged health benefits - in Indian herbal medicine Ayurvedic - have been for digestive disorders and general vitality. These purported health benefits are unproven and not clinically validated. In fact, despite how much antioxidants it has, as evidenced by its ORAC value, this plant is not entirely safe and some parts are reportedly poisonous. Found in the bael leaf is aegeline, which is a substance associated with toxicity and death when used in dietary supplements. In 2013, eight different people in Hawaii who had used supplements containing aegeline were hospitalized for liver damage from it. One of these people died and two had to have emergency liver transplants. Ultimately there were 43 victims in that state alone. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice filed criminal charges against the sellers of these supplements (1). Due to these dangerous and potentially lethal side effects, one should not buy supplements containing ingredients derived from the golden apple/aegle marmelos.

ORAC Source

Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't: Journal of Food Science and Engineering 2 (2012) 187-195 Link April 2012