Pipal or peepal is the most sacred tree for Hindus since Vedic period. During Vedic times, it was known as Ashwattha. Ashwattha is abode of all gods. Its roots represent Brahma the Creator, branches Shiva the Destroyer and trunk Vishnu the Preserve.
Pipal has longest history of worship and it is worshipped even today as in the ancient times. As it a sacred tree, people place damaged idols, figures of god and goddess at its base. Doing Parikrama or circumambulation of Pipal daily destroys all kinds of inauspiciousness.
This tree is associated with spiritual understanding. Ashvattha is tree of life (Jivan Taru) and tree of knowledge (Bramha Taru).
Peepal also has great medicinal value. It is extensively used in Ayurveda. Every part of this tree is edible and offers numerous benefits. It is used in treatment of various infections, healing of wounds, improve fertility and treat poisoning. The bark is astringent and fruits are laxative. Seeds are cooling, refrigerant, laxative and alterative.
The leaves are purgative and tonic. They are useful in constipation and jaundice. Their oral intake gives strength to heart and helps to control the palpitation. They are also given to treat feverish condition and arresting bleeding or secretion.
The bark of tree is sweet, cooling, astringent, aphrodisiac and used both externally and internally. The decoction of bark is useful in variety of diseases such as skin diseases, rheumatism, ulcers, and scabies.The dried bark is boiled in milk and taken as aphrodisiac.
Pipal fruits or figs are good for digestive system. The dried fig powder is given in case of asthma. Fruits are cooling, digestive, laxative and aphrodisiac. For asthma, dried and powdered fruits are taken with water for fifteen days.
How Pipal is different from other plants?
Pipal tree releases oxygen 24 hours and does nocturnal fixation of atmospheric CO2. This makes it different from other plants as most of plants release oxygen during day time in presence of sunlight but release CO2 at night.
The 24 hour release of O2 is possible in Peepal as it has ability to perform Crassulacean acid metabolism or CAM (named after Crassulacean family of succulent plants). CAM is an ecological adaptation of photosynthesis done in some plants growing in limited availability of water or CO2 (such as arid condition, as epiphyte) and involves nocturnal CO2 fixation done to maximize CO2 uptake.
Important Medicinal Properties
Pipal (Ficus religiosa) is rich in medicinal properties. Below is given medicinal properties of bark of the tree along with the meaning.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Anti–dysenteric: Relieving or preventing dysentery.
- Antiseptic: Capable of preventing infection by inhibiting the growth of infectious agents.
- Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
- Antirheumatic: Alleviating or preventing rheumatism.
- Anthelmintic: Antiparasitic, expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
- Antimicrobial: Active against microbes.
- Antibacterial: Active against bacteria.
- Antigastroduodenal ulcer: prevent ulcer formation.
- Hypoglycemic: Reducing level of the sugar glucose in the blood.
- Laxative: Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
- Tonic: Restore or improve health or well-being.