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Peepal Tree
Scientific Classification:

Kingdom Plantae
Division Magnoliophyta
Class Magnoliopsida
Order Rosales
Family Moraceae
Genus Ficus
Species F. religiosa
Binomial name Ficus religiosa
PEEPAL FICUS RELIGIOSA

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Other Common Names:

The other common names for the peepal tree are Bo tree, Bodhi tree, Sacred tree, Beepul tree, Pipers, Pimpal, Jari, Arani,Ashvattha, Ragi, Bodhidruma,Shuchidruma, Pipalla, Ashvattha and the Buddha tree.

History

The origin of peepal tree can be traced back to the times of Indus Valley Civilisation (3000 BC - 1700 BC) in the Mohenjodaro city. Excavations are suggestive of the fact that even in those times; the peepal tree was worshipped by Hindus.In the ancient Puranas, an incident has been described in which the demons defeated the deities and Lord Vishnu hid in the Peepal tree. Since, the Lord resided in the tree for some time; the tree holds great importance for people. Well, apart from its religious significance, Peepal tree is also known for its medicinal value.Ashwatha, the Peepal tree known botanically as Ficus religiosa is sacred to Hindus as well as Buddhists. Ashwatha literally means "Where horses stood" (ashwa + tha). In ancient times, horses were the main form of transportation and every village or town on the highway perhaps boasted of a Ashwatha tree with its all pervading grandeur, providing shelter to the creatures. It is said that Buddha got his enlightenment under a Peepal tree. Traditional Buddhist records indicate that a branch of this tree was planted in Sri Lanka in the year 288 B.C., and the tree is alive today. There was a time in India when a Peepal tree was planted in the premises of every temple, and was regarded as the Tree of Life.

Description

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Peepal 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. The fruits of the Peepal are hidden with the figs. The figs are ripening in the 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 grey and peels in patches. Its fruit is purple in colour. It is one of the longest living trees. This Ashwatha tree is quite remarkable because it grows both upwards as well as top to bottom. The branches themselves morph into roots, so even if the original tree decays and perishes its branches underneath are young and continue to enclose the parent.

Range

The Peepal tree is a species of banyan fig native to India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, southwest China and Indochina east to Vietnam. It is grown throughout India. It is mainly grown in State of Haryana, Bihar, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. It is also found in the Ranthambore National Park in India.

Habitat

The peepal tree thrives best in full sunlight and suitable temperature for growth is 20~32 degrees centigrade. Lowest temperature to sustain over winter is 10 degrees centigrade. Living under too low temperature will result in rotting of the root. Prefer high humidity, while proper drainage is required. Seedling requires sufficient watering. Water until all soil is wet and some extra water releases from the bottom of pot.

Cultivation

It can grow on most soils, while it grows especially good in loam with organic components and good drainage. It does not grow as well in clay (too sticky soil). Although it grows under any PH, it grows the best in slightly acid soil. To speed up the growth, you may use thoroughly decomposed fertilizer, putting into the soil while not too close to the main root. It is safer to use less fertilizer than more fertilizer, as plants do not die without fertilizer but can die when given too much fertilizer.Bodhi tree prefers environment with strong sunlight and high humidity. Therefore, it is better not to put it indoors for too long time. Otherwise, the plant will be weak and subject to blight. If you grow it indoor through winter, do put it close to window with as much sunlight as possible.Bodhi tree is the most afraid of strong wind because its roots are shallow. If there is typhoon in the area, you may evaluate the direction of the wind. It is the best to plant the tree in the opposite side of wind of a mountain or building. You may also trim the tree before typhoon. It is the safest to put the fertilizer in a circle outside of the tree (where there is no root yet)), because too much fertilizer may burn the root.

Pests and Diseases

Though it is not seriously affected by pests and diseases occasionally it is subjected to blight.

Parts Used
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The bark, root, fruit and the leaves are the most commonly used parts of the tree for its commercial and medicinal purposes.

Medicinal Applications

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  • The ripe fruit is used to treat biliousness and heart diseases.

  • It also relieves constipation.

  • The young bark is used in binding bone fracture.

  • The leaves of Peepal are highly effective in treating heart disorders. It helps to control the palpitation of heart and thereby combat the cardiac weakness.

  • The bark of the tree is useful in inflammations and glandular swelling of the neck.

  • Its leaves serve as a wonderful laxative as well as tonic for the body. It is especially useful for patients suffering from Jaundice.

  • Its root bark is useful for stomatitis, clean ulcers, and promotes granulations.

  • The powdered fruit is taken for asthma, and the latex is used to treat warts.

  • The juice of the bark is used as a mouthwash and to treat gum diseases.

  • The root is used for rheumatic pains and the seed is used to treat leprosy.

  • The peepal is used extensively in Ayurveda.
Commercial Applications

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  • The leaves are a good fodder for elephants and cattle.

  • The leaves are dried they are used for the decoration purpose.

  • The wood is used for making packing cases, yokes, spoons and bowls.

  • From the bark of the Peepal tree reddish dye is extracted.

  • Its bark yields the tannin used in treating leather.

  • The latex is used as a sealing wax to fill cavities.
 
Astrology

PEEPAL ASTROLOGY
According to the astro reports the peepal tree is influenced by the celestial body Saturn.

Cultural and Religious Significance

Peepal tree has the great importance in India especially among the Buddhist who regard Peepal tree as the personification of Buddha. Lord Buddha attained enlightenment mediating under the Peepal tree. It is regarded as the sacred tree and the people use its leaves for the religious purposes. According to the Buddha - 'He who worships the Peepal tree will receive the same reward as if he worshiped me in person'. The Peepal tree has its own symbolic meaning of Enlightenment and peace. People tie threads of white, red and yellow silk around it to pray for progeny and rewarding parenthood. Hindus in India holds the great spiritual regard for the Peepal Tree, they regard it as the tree beneath which Vishnu was born.

Folklores and Myths

A number of myths revolve round the peepal tree is also being followed even now in different countries. To cut down a peepal is considered a sin equivalent to killing a Brahmin, one of the five deadly sins or Panchapataka.There are a couple of stories, which say that the tree is home to the trinity of Gods, the root being Brahma, the trunk is Vishnu and leaves represent Lord Shiva. Another popular belief is that Lord Krishna died under the Peepal tree.

People are of the belief that Goddess Lakshmi dwells in the tree on Saturdays. Women who are not blessed with children tie a red thread around the trunk or on its branches asking the deities to bless her and fulfil her desire. The tree is worshipped on Saturday, especially in the month of shravana, because goddess lakshmi sits under the tree on this day any person who waters the tree is believed to earn merit for his progeny, his sorrows are redeemed and diseases cured. The peepal tree is also worshipped to escape from contagious diseases and enemies.