PEEPAL, Ficus religiosa

PEEPAL

Latin name:            Ficus religiosa

English name: Peepal, Bo tree, Bodhi tree, Holy tree, Scared fig

Sanskrit name: Ashwattha, Bodhivriksha, Plaksha

Indian name: Pipal, Peepal

Medicinal parts used: Fruit, Leaves, Bark, Latex, Seeds

Peepal is worshipped all over India and is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists. It grows in northern and central India, in forests and alongside water. It is also widely cultivated throughout the subcontinent and south-east Asia, especially in the vicinity of the temples.

A large, glabrous tree, with characteristic, milky latex and the trunk often covered with epiphytes. The bark is light grey and peels off in patches. The leaves are large, up to 16 cm in length; alternate, with long petioles (up to 12 cm) and a broadly ovate, subcoriacious lamina. The tip is long, lanceolate and cuspidate, the margin sinuate and the base truncate. The female fruit (figs) are small, axillary, paired, sessile, obovoid or globose, purplish when ripe. The male fruits are osteolar, sessile, ovate-lanceolate.

Therapeutic use:

  • Its bark and leaves are used for diarrhea and dysentery, while the leaves alone are used to treat constipation.
  • The leaves are used with “ghee” (a clarified butter) as a poultice and applied to boils and to swollen glands in mumps.
  • The powdered fruit is taken for asthma, and the latex is used to treat warts.
  • Effective for heart diseases, constipation, mumps. The leaves are infused in water at night, distilled the next morning and stored in bottles for heart diseases.
  • The seeds and fruits are cooling, laxative and refrigerant. Leaves and young shoots are purgative.
  • Medicated oil made from the root bark is applied externally to skin diseases such as eczema, leprosy and is also used in rheumatism.
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