The peepal tree can be immediately identified not because of its large trunk or its heart-shaped leaves but rather the fact that it is one of the most revered trees in India. One that can be seen wound with many religious threads around its trunk, especially during auspicious religious rituals or when a devotee wants to pay obeisance to Lord Vishnu, as this tree is considered as a symbol of the lord.
The tree with roots that run deep
The peepal tree has its mention not just in Hindu mythology but even in Buddhist culture, as it is thought that it is under this tree (Bodhi tree) that Buddha came to attain enlightenment. This is why the peepal is also called as the tree of awareness or enlightenment.
Even today, the Peepal (Ficus Religiosa), the Peepal tree or the sacred fig tree (call it as you may) is considered sacred and is found to be growing abundantly in people’s backyards or in residential society premises. Those who know the medicinal value of the leaves harvest it for its curative properties.
The ashwattha or the peepal tree can be recognised because of its –
The peepal tree is large and has a thick trunk with beautiful green leaves that are longish and pointed. Many would think the leaves resemble a heart shape. There are smallish fruits– the green figs that grow on the tree, which later turn purple upon ripening and are usually found scattered on the ground around the tree. The bark of the tree is greyish and smooth and finds its use as tannin in the leather industry.
It’s a tree that heals
Needless to say, the peepal is not considered sacred only because of its mention in religious texts or because of its spiritual associations but also because the tree, its bark and the leaves are of significant medicinal value and are used to cure a variety of ailments, even some serious ones. Let’s explore some of the benefits of this versatile tree-
In Ayurveda, the pippala (peepal) tree leaves are considered to be very good for their ability to heal wounds. The leaves are warmed with ghee and used on the lesion.
For those down with Jaundice, the bark is utilised for controlling extreme urine in the patient. It is believed that just soaking the bark in water for a night and consuming it the next morning proves a wonder solution for control of this problem.
As a laxative, again, the peepal leaves have powerful remedial properties as it is thought that consuming the sun dried, powdered leaves mixture taken along with a blend of jaggery and anise cures constipation and ensures good bowel movement.
Talking about versatility, the Indian basil peepal is even used to cure diarrhoea. A concoction of ground coriander and peepal leaves chewed along with sugar have shown to cure the ‘diarrhoea’.
Heart healthy too-
The leaves are considered to be very effective for treatment of heart weakness and palpitations. Home remedies suggest the consumption of the water in which the leaves have been soaked overnight, purified and stored in white bottles the following morning. Though not proven, cardiac disorders and related ailments have found some succour with this remedy.
For those suffering from skin disorders, i.e. irritation, boils and bumps have also found relief with peepal leaves. In fact, even those who have mumps may follow this natural treatment. Heating/ warming of the leaf with ghee and application of it on the affected area of skin with the help of a bandage has shown to relieve the symptoms.
In treatment and prevention of Arthritis– Peepal leaves are known to possess anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and palliative qualities. That is to say that the leaf contains properties that can alleviate and even prevent arthritic pains and associated aches.