Ficus Religiosa is commonly known as sacred fig and Bo-tree. In Hindi it is known as Pipal and the Sanskrit name is Ashwattha. The Peepal tree is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. It is worshipped all over India and is usually seen in temples. Siddhartha attained enlightenment and become Buddha under a Peepal tree. These trees live for long years. In Sri Lanka a Peepal tree which is more than 2000 years old exists. The bark of the tree is an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine.
Peepal is native to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. It is also seen in China. It belongs to the Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family.
PARTS OF THE PLANT USED
Bark, seeds, fruits, latex and leaves of the tree are used for medicinal purposes.
CHARACTERISTICS OF FICUS RELIGIOSA
It is a glabrous, large tree mostly covered with epiphytes. It has characteristic milky latex. The bark of the tree is light grey in colour and peels off easily in patches. The leaves are big, up to 16 cm in length, alternate and have long petioles. The tip of the leaf is long, cuspidate and lanceolate. The female fruits are small, paited, globose or obovoid and turn into purple when ripe. The male fruits are sessile, osterolar, lanceolate-ovate.
THERAPEUTIC POWERS OF FICUS RELIGIOSA
This herb has several relieving powers; some of them are as follows:-
- Ficus is used in the traditional medicine to relieve about 50 types of disorders which include diarrhea, diabetes, epilepsy, inflammatory disorders, and gastric problems, sexual and infectious disorders.
- The leaves and the bark are used for controlling dysentery and diarrhea.
- The leaves are also used to relieve constipation.
- For relieving boils and swollen salivary glands as in mumps, the leaves of the tree are coated with clarified butter and applied as a poultice.
- The latex is used for relieving warts.
- The powdered fruit is useful in asthma.
- The bark of the tree has cooling, astringent, laxative and haemostatic properties.
- It is useful in relieving diarrhea, diabetes, nervous disorders, menorrhagia, urogenital disorders. The bark is effective in relieving bone fractures, earache, glandular diseases, scabies, soreness in the mouth, and skin diseases.
- A decoction or infusion of the bark along with a little honey is useful in relieving gonorrhea.
- Freshly burnt ashes of the bark are mixed with water and allowed to steep for some time. This mixture is useful in relieving obstinate cases of hiccups and control vomiting.
- Oil made from the root bark can be applied externally to relieve skin diseases like leprosy, eczema and also useful in relieving rheumatism.
- The seeds of the tree have laxative, cooling and refrigerant properties.
- Young shoots and leaves are purgative in nature.
Leaves contain tannic acid. The bark comprises of bergaptol and bergapten. The fruit consists of tyrosine and asparagines. The seeds contain threonine, alanine and valine. The leaves also contain leucine, isoleucine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine, glycine asparatic acid, serine and arginine. Vitamin K is seen in the stem. Minerals like iron, copper, calcium, zinc and manganese are present in the leaf.
CARE FOR AILMENTS
This herb acts as a relieve for many ailments. Some of these are:
- Gout: Roots of the tree are effective in relieving gout problem. They are effective in reducing inflammation.
- Constipation: Leaves can be used for relieving constipation problem.
- Gum diseases: Roots of the tree are used for chewing to prevent gum diseases.
- Wounds and bruises: A paste of the leaves can be directly applied on boils, bruises and wounds. It works effectively in relieving them.
- Swollen glands: The root of Peepal tree is used for relieving swollen lymphatic glands and neck problems.
- Stomach upset: The fruit of the tree aids in healthy digestion. For relieving upset stomach, the powdered form of the fruit can be consumed along with a glass of milk.
- Dehydration: Fresh fruit of peepal tree is useful in eliminating dehydration.
- Skin diseases: The latex of the tree when used in combination with the juice of the roots is helpful in relieving a variety of skin diseases like ringworm, fungal diseases and athlete’s foot.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS AND SIDE EFFECTS IN USING FICUS RELIGIOSA
It is always advisable to use any herb or herbal product after consulting a medical practitioner. Over dosage may lead to serious complications.
PLANET AYURVEDA PRODUCTS THAT USE FICUS RELIGIOSA
Currently there are no Planet Ayurveda Products that use this herb as an ingredient in them; however the below mentioned Planet Ayurveda products are useful in some conditions for which Ficus Religiosa is used:
Ayurveda products are manufactured with 100 percent natural and vegetarian ingredients, without any chemicals or preservatives. We rely on ancient Ayurvedic texts to prepare all the medicines. We do not encourage testing of our products on animals. All the medicines and herbal supplements undergo quality checks at various levels. Please opt for Planet Ayurveda products and seek good health.