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Peepal Tree

  Introduction
 Common Names
 Description
 Location
 Cultivation
 Medicinal uses
 Other uses
 Religious importance
 Chemical Compounds in Peepal
 Research
 Help to reduce air pollution

 Introduction

  Peepal or Pipal or Sacred Fig (Ficus Religiosa) is a large woody, fast growing deciduous tree with few or no arial roots. The Peepal tree is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal , Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina. It has mythological, religious and medicinal importance in Indian culture since times immemorial!. Peepal is one of the longest living trees, hence it symbolises the continuity of life. Peepal is the only tree which is honoured as the state tree of three Indian states, .Bihar, Haryana and Orissa.

           Peepal tree

 The root, leaves; bark and fruits of the Peepal  tree contains medicinal values and cures many diseases. The Peepal tree is held sacred both by the Hindus and Buddhist. Peepal has the great importance in India especially among  Hindus and the Buddhist. Hindus holds the great spiritual regard for the Peepal  while Buddhist regard Peepal tree as the personification of Buddha.



Common Names

  Latin           : Ficus religiosa
 English       : Peepal tree, Sacred Fig
 Sanskrit      : Aśvattha ( अश्वत्थः )
 Hindi           : Peepal , Pippal  ( पिंपळ)
 Tamil          : Kaavam (கணவம்)  , Arasa maram ( அரச மரம் )
 Malayalam :  Arayal (അരയാല്‍  )
 Telugu:        : Raavi (రావి)
 Kannada      : AraLi mara ( ಅರಳಿ ಮರ)
 Marathi       :  PimpaL (पिंपळ)  
 Bengla         : Ashwattha (অশ্বত্থ ) ,  Peepal (পিপল)
 Oriya -           Ashwatth (ଅଶ୍ୱତ୍ଥ)
 Gujarati         Pipdo ( પિપળો )
 Nepali          : Pipal  (पिपल)
 Urdu             :Peepal  ( پیپل )
 Thai -             Pho ( โพธิ์ ) 

    Peepal tree postage Stamp

    Peepal postal stamp

   Description

    Peepal tree leaves

 Peepal tree Ficus religiosa)   is a large, fast growing deciduous tree. It has a heart shaped leaves. It is a medium size tree and has a large crown with the wonderful wide spreading branches. It shed its leaves in the month of March and April. Leaves are shiny, thin and bear 5 to 7 veins. 

  Fruits are small and are about ½ inch in diameter similar to that of eye pupil. It is circular in shape, compressed. When they are raw it is of green color and when it is ripe then it turns brown or black in color. The tree fruits in summers and gets ripened by rainy season. The fruits of the Peepal are hidden with the figs. The figs are ripen in peepal-treethe month of May. The figs which contain the flowers grow in pairs just below the leaves and look like the berries. Its bark is light gray and peels in patches. Its fruit is purple in colour. It is one of the longest living trees.

  Location

  Peepal tree is found mainly in India, Bangladesh, Nepal , Pakistan, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina. In India it is mainly grown in State of Haryana, Bihar, Kerala, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

Cultivation

  Peepal tree Ficus religiosa)  is grown by specialty tree plant nurseries for use as an ornamental tree , in gardens and parks in tropical and subtropical climates. Peepal tree is easily propagated through the seeds or through the cuttings. It can grow in any type of soil. In initial stage Peepal tree needs proper nourishment, Peepal tree requires full sunlight and proper watering for growth.

  Medicinal uses

 The Peepal (Ficus religiosa) parts as bark, fruits, tender shoots and seeds are used in traditional medicine for about 50 types of disorders including asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, gastric problems, arthritis, inflammatory disorders, infectious , sexual disorders and  vigour and vitality

  Asthma : The dry leaves powder of Peepal tree is used in Asthma. Use 5gm of this powder with honey every morning for Asthma and Coughs.

  Dysentery The leaves of peepal are used in treating dysentery. Equal parts of tender leaves, coriander leaves and sugar are chewed slowly to relieve the condition.

 Cure wounds:  Tender leaves of the tree boiled with oil for some time and applied on the wound, they heals fast.

 Boils and Acne : The paste of bark of Peepal tree is used for boils and acne.

 Gouty arthritis:  Peepal bark powder with honey may helpful in arthritis. The tender leaves of peepal are boiled into water and after cooling poured on the joints.

 For vigour and vitality: The fruit of root, bark and tender shoots are boiled with milk and after filter taken with sugar and honey are helpful to increase vitality.

 Other Diseases : An infusion of the bark is a specific medicine for the diseases of uterus and vagina, in vomiting, ulcers in mouth and in inflammation swellings.

 

  Other uses

  The leaves are a good fodder for animals and cattle. The leaves are used for the decoration purpose. From the bark of the Peepal tree reddish dye is extracted. Its bark yields the tannin used in treating leather. The bark yields a tenacious milky juice which hardens into a substance resembling rubber. Its bark yields a fibre as well. The latex is used as a sealing wax to fill cavities.

  Religious importance

  The Peepal tree is held sacred both by the Hindus and Buddhist.
  Hindu mythology: Peepal tree  is considered to be the most auspicious tree in Hindu mythology which says, “Peepal tree is the abode of Gods and Goddesses.” Peepal tree is also closely linked to Lord Krishna . He says  in the Bhagavad Gita,  "Among trees, I am the Ashvattha." Hindus regard it as the tree beneath which Lord Vishnu विष्णु)   was born. As of the belief that trinity Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh or Lord Shiva (शिव)  used to reside in the tree,  the roots being Brahma, the trunk Vishnu and the leaves Shiva.

  Buddhist;  Peepal has the great importance among the Buddhist who regard Peepal tree as the personification of Buddha. According to the Buddha 'He who worships the Peepal will receive the same reward as if he worshiped me in person'.  Lord Buddha   is believed to have attained enlightenment under this tree, it is often referred to as the Bodhi tree or the ‘Tree of Enlightenment’. Peepal tree has also symbolic meaning of Enlightenment and Peace.

  Chemical Compounds in Peepal

 Bark of Peepal contains 4 % tannins. Besides this it contains certain alkaloids, mineral and vitamins.

  Research

  The antidote for fluoride poisoning may well lie in the Peepal and Drumstick trees. The Animal Disease Research Institute (ADRI) at Phulnakhara to conduct a research to find this out. The basis for the research project was formed after preliminary investigation by the Institute’s experts in the fluorosis affected zones of Angul district revealed that these plants can thwart the debilitating effect of the disease. A project proposal for an in-depth study of the plant’s characteristics, which will help formulate an antidote, was recently accepted by the ICAR.

  Help to reduce air pollution

  Generally all plants by photo-synthesis utilise carbon dioxide and release oxygen during day time. But Peepal can also do a modified form of photosynthesis called as Crassulacean Acid Metabolism. Though they may not release large amount of oxygen by this process but they are capable of doing photosynthesis during night. Besides this research work conducted on several plants revealed that the Peepal releases large quantities of Isoprene a volatile organic compound necessary for preventing depletion of ozone layer concluding that these trees play an important role in preserving ozone layer. Hence Peepal helps to reduce air pollution.

 Refrences

  1 Singh D, Singh B, Goel RK "Traditional uses, photochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus religiosa: a review.
  2. Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press 
  3. Journal of Ethno pharmacology  Traditional uses, photochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus religiosa: A review
  4. Asvalayana Srauta Sutra, Sankhayana Srauta Sutra;Macdonell and Keith 1912
  5. D.S. Chauhan in Radhakrishna, B.P. and Merh, S.S. (editors): Vedic Sarasvati, 1999

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