What is Ficus Religiosa?
Ficus Religiosa Hindi name is Peepal Tree, some common names are sacred fig, bodhi tree, pippala tree, peepul tree, peepal tree, the pipal tree, or ashvattha tree and it is mainly found in India and Indochina. It is a fast-growing, evergreen tree, that can live over 3000 years.
The sacred fig tree is a tall tree often epiphytic, with aerial roots. The tree has male and female flowers on it, flowering and fruiting times are November to January. It has religious significance as well as medicinal values. In Ayurveda it is used for various medicinal benefits, it is also worshiped on Purnima.
The Pipal tree is sacred to followers of Buddhism and Hinduism because Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, sat under this tree when he received enlightenment (bodhi) that’s why it is also known as the bodhi tree.
The Ficus Religiosa has multipurpose uses, it can be used for medicine, social, craved material, rubber, fiber, ornamental, ritual, and animal feed. The wood is made into spoons used in rituals and in sacrificial fires by Hindus, and the tree is commonly roped by Hindus in India near the temples. The fruits are the food of the birds, and the leaves and twigs are fed to cattle and goats.
What are the Benefits of Ficus Religiosa?
Leaves, bark, and gum are mainly used to make medicines. Here are the benefits of Ficus Religiosa.
The Ficus Religiosa leaves are usually simple and waxy, and most leave white or yellow latex when broken. The leaves have antidote, aphrodisiac, astringent, and laxative antivenom properties and are beneficial in the menstrual cycle, hemoptysis, and fistula. It contains contain carbohydrates, protein, lipid, calcium, sodium, potassium, and phosphorus.
The Ficus Religiosa fruits come in summer and are ripped in the rainy season. They are green in color when raw and turn black when they are ripe. The fruit has antioxidant, laxative, and cooling properties. The fruits contain protein and have the essential amino acids, isoleucine, and phenylalanine. They are also rich in macronutrients and micronutrients. Fresh fruits are reported to be a good source of carbohydrates and a fair source of protein.
The Ficus Religiosa / peppal bark is used in Ayurveda since ancient times, it has antibacterial, antiprotozoal, antiviral, astringent, and antidiarrheal properties. The chemical composition of stem bark is phenols, tannins, steroids, alkaloids, and flavonoids. It is rich in vitamin K and excellent for skin problems like complexion, heals bruises, pigmentation, acne, and scars.
The bark is beneficial to cure mouth ulcers, diabetes, bone fracture, urinary tract, and digestive problems. It is very helpful in diarrhea because it controls dehydration and cleans the stomach impurities.
Peepal Gum / Lakh
The Ficus Religiosa gum/lakh is dark marron with shine, it comes from the stem of the tree. In Ayurveda, it is beneficial to give relief from fever and cold and relief from Eye Pain.
Some health benefits of Ficus Religiosa bark are listed below
The Ficus Religiosa bark has astringent and absorbent properties due to which it can help to control diarrhea and helps to make stool thicker by controlling the loss of water in the body.
Due to its cold and astringent properties, it helps to control the excessive secretion of menstrual blood and control heavy bleeding during periods.
It has anti-diabetes properties and contains sitosterol and glycoside compounds which help to control diabetes and high blood sugar.
Due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, it gives relief from pain, swelling, and toothache. In ancient times bark has been used to reduce swelling and heal wounds.
It has antioxidant property, which is beneficial in generating cellular antibodies, that helps to boost immunity.
The bark is beneficial to heal wounds and cuts and reduces the time of healing. It depends upon how immediately it is applied to the wound.
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How to Use Ficus religiosa Bark?
Dosage and uses depend upon the health problems and conditions or as recommended by an Ayurvedic doctor. The general recommended dosage is 5-10 grams of Ficus religiosa Bark twice a day before an hour of a meal. A decoction of the bark with honey and water can also be used.
Uses of Ficus religiosa Bark
- Take 5 grams of fine powder of Ficus religiosa Bark and gently rub on teeth and gums, gives strength and kills bacteria.
- Take 4 grams of bark powder and add with honey, make a paste, and apply it on the face, helps to relieve skin problems.
- 40-50ml Decoction of bark a day helps to control diabetes and vaginal tract problems.
- Take 2-4 grams of bark powder and boil it with 1 cup of water, reduce it by ¼ cup. Strain it and use 15-20 ml of this twice a day or as directed by a doctor.
- Taking 1-2 grams of bark powder with water twice a day helps to control mensuration problems.
Uses of Ficus religiosa Leaves
- Take 5-10ml of leaf juice and mix it with one cup of lukewarm water, gives relief from constipation.
- Soak dry leaves overnight and take the extract thrice a day, gives relief from heart problems.
- Take 2 grams of leaf powder with 1 gram of fennel seed powder and jaggery, which help to control constipation.
- Leaf extract of 2-3 leaves with sugar and milk, helps to cure jaundice.
- Put some drops of leaves powder in the nostril, helps to control nostrils bleeding.
Side Effects of Ficus Religiosa
- Excessive consumption of the leaf extract can cause bleeding in the digestive tract. Consult the doctor for the right dosage.
- Some people have hypersensitive skin, it is advisable to consult the doctor before applying it to the skin.
- It is not recommended for breastfeeding women and for pregnant women.
- Consult the doctor if you are on any supplement or on dietary medicine.
- If you are on any medication, first consult the doctor before starting to take Ficus Religiosa.
- If you are on diabetes or high blood sugar medication, consult the doctor first before starting Ficus Religiosa.
- It may interact with some allopathy and homeopathy medicine, consult the doctor if you are taking any of these.
Note: This post is about educating the benefits and uses of Ficus Religiosa, consult the Ayurvedic doctor before starting.