In India, Mother Nature is nothing less than a God. We hold trees, plants, animals and any living organism close to our hearts and on many occasions, a lot of spiritual and religious significance is attributed to these natural wonders.
When it comes to trees with medicinal and therapeutic values, there is no dearth of such species, Amla, Tulasi, Mango, Neem – the list goes on. And, in this article, we will introduce you to one another widely popular tree known for its religious significance and therapeutic properties in equal measure.
Welcome to the world of Peepal tree or Bodhi Satva vruksha, the tree under which Lord Buddha attained enlightenment and that also led many ascetics from Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism to the path of spirituality. Known as Ficus religiosa in botanical language, Peepal tree grows around 98 feet with its trunk diameter spreading out for around 3 metres, with cordate shaped leaves and bears small fig like fruits, that turn from green to purple in colour, as they ripen.
In India, this tall tree with wide canopy that goes with various names like Ashwatha vruksha, Pippala vruksha, Raavi chettu in Telugu, Bodhi vruksha in Malayalm, Arasamaram in Tamil, Alaadamara in Kannada, is also known as sacred fig and is in fact the state tree of Haryana and Odisha in our country.
The tree that can withstand various altitudes, tolerates extreme weather temperatures and grows deep rooted in all kinds of soils including the spaces between rocks in the mountains. Peepal tree that has a lifespan ranging anywhere between 900 to 1500 years is widely found in India, Nepal and Srilanka.
The Anuradhapura of Srilanka, a Peepal tree which is more than 2250 years old is worshipped till date and is revered as “the oldest historical tree in the world with religious significance.” In Hinduism, Peepal tree holds a major religious significance. According to the ancient scriptures, it is believed that this tree houses Lord Brahma in the roots, Lord Maha Vishnu in the trunk and Lord Maha Shiva in the leaves. In Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna said that He will manifest into Peepal tree, when he has to be seen as a tree, encouraging spiritual seekers to go for circumambulation or pradikshana chanting Vriksha Rajaya Namah meaning ‘salutations to the king of trees.’
Besides strong religious and spiritual significance, Peepal tree offers a wide range of medicinal and therapeutic properties.
Why Is Peepal Tree Worshipped Very Early In The Mornings?
Though this abode of Gods holds a great religious significance, botanical scientists too encourage spending time around Peepal tree, especially in the mornings to fight back various allergies, infections and diseases.
For every 1800 kgs intake of carbon dioxide, Peepal tree emits 2400 kgs of oxygen in a day, while other trees release more oxygen than the carbon dioxide, they intake.
Peepal tree in fact releases more oxygen during early hours in the morning and protects us from UV rays. Traditional medicine recommends circumambulation of this tree for the women suffering from reproductive issues, as it is believed that the inhalation of fresh air in the morning strengthens uterus, stimulates peristaltic movement of the fallopian tubes for better chances of conception.
Why Is Peepal Tree Always Seen In Close Proximity To Banyan Tree?
If you ever wondered why these both huge trees are always seen and worshipped together in the temples, there is a reason. Botanists and spiritual gurus agree in unison that Banyan and Peepal are like male and female counterparts, respectively. Known as Ficus benghalensis scientifically, Banyan tree too has similar therapeutic properties like treating digestive issues, skin related conditions etc.
Peepal Tree In Ayurveda:
Ayurvedic texts and scriptures hail Peepal tree for its immense medicinal and therapeutic benefits and all parts of this miracle tree are useful in treating various health conditions caused due to Kapha, Pitta and Vata doshas.
The leaves of Peepal leaf serve as an expectorant, diuretic, ointment. The juice of these leaves brings down nausea, cleanses digestive system and maintains skin health. Being strongly astringent in properties, Peepal leaf when heated exudes purgative properties and is recommended for those with severe digestive issues.
Brown in colour, thick and rough to touch, Peepal tree bark is a powerhouse of vitamin K and the extracts perform a wide range of functions related to skin health.
The bark extract when applied on dull skin tone for balances the complexion, heals bruises, pigmentation, acne and scars.
How To Consume Peepal Bark Powder?
Peepal bark powder cures various digestive issues including diarrhea and is generally aggravated due to vata dosha. Intake of Peepal bark powder controls dehydration caused due to diarrhea besides cleansing the stomach of impurities. The same powder is also recommended for women with severe episodes of heavy menstrual bleeding or Menorrhagia.
Take 2 grams of Peepal bark powder, add it to 250 ml drinking water and let it boil
Let the water content reduce to 1/10th of the quantity.
Wait till Kashayam reaches normal temperature, store it in a glass container. Sip on it thrice a day to cure diarrhea.
Swallow 1 gram of Peepal bark powder along with drinking water twice a day or as directed by the physician.
How To Consume Peepal Leaf Powder?
Peepal leaf juice works best in treating constipation, acidity and other digestive related issues, triggered due to Vata and Pitta doshas. This juice made by heating leaves possesses laxative properties and cleanses intestines.
Drink 1 tsp of Peepal leaf juice mixed with lukewarm water and consume it before going to bed for curing constipation.
Therapeutic Benefits Of Peepal Tree:
Improves Lung Power:
Peepal tree emits 2400 kgs of oxygen in a day and spending time under this tree at the crack of dawn can miraculously treat various lung related ailments including asthma. The fruits and bark too aid in treating various breathing disorders like asthma, pneumonia by clearing the airways. Pound Peepal tree fruit and bark separately, mix it in equal proportions and consume it with warm water at least twice a day to improve pulmonary functions.
Cures Poor Appetite:
A decrease in the hunger is caused due to various reasons be it stomach problems, emotional issues or even anxiety. Eating less quantity of food can lead to various health problems owing to poor nutritional intake. Peepal tree fruit also known as sacred fig works wonders in treating loss of appetite. Eat ripe Peepal fruits that are purple in colour to trigger digestive juices and for improving appetite.
Arrests Nasal Bleeding:
If you notice some amount of blood oozing out of nostrils, do not get panicky. Known as epistaxis, nasal bleeding is an indication of pitta dosha and inflammation in the nostrils due to cold weather. Put 1 to 2 drops of Peepal leaf juice in both nostrils to stop it immediately. However, if the problem persists see a doctor immediately, as it could be a sign of haemorrhage.
Diarrhea With Blood:
If you are suffering from diarrhea and notice blood, it is often an indication of poor dietary habits or food poisoning. Diarrhea can also cause severe dehydration and fatigue. Pick softer stems from a Peepal branch, wash it clean and grind it into paste. Mix it with coriander seeds, granulated sugar in equal measurements and consume it in small quantities for 3 times in a day for curing the condition. If it doesn’t stop, see the doctor immediately.
Poor dental practices can lead to bad toothache, bleeding gums and it is a painful condition. In a bowl of water, boil the barks of Peepal tree and Banyan tree and make it a habit to rinse mouth daily in the morning before brushing the teeth for finding instant relief.
Our healthy blood work often defines the health. It is important to get rid of toxins and flush out impurities to maintain good physical wellbeing and also to glow from within. Consume tonic made from Peepal tree seeds mixed with equal amounts of honey for purifying the blood and beat anemia.
Pacifies Ear Pain:
Ear pain can be excruciating and if not treated on time, it will lead to various issues. Take Peepal leaves, wash them and pat dry. Heat it on the tawa, be careful not to burn it. When warm, these leaves ooze juice and put 2 to 3 drops in the ear for instant relief from pain.
Boosts Cardiac Health:
Heart is a vital organ. and it beats at least 1,00,000 times in a day. A healthy heart is crucial for keeping other organs up and running. Palpitations are a common problem complained by the elderly often caused due to slow functioning of the heart muscle. To boost heart health, boil Peepal leaves in the water and let it stay for overnight. Strain the decoction and sip in the morning. If you have severe cardiac issues, check with your doctor if it is safe for you.
Peepal Tree For Skin Conditions:
The goodness of Peepal tree – its bark, seeds, leaves, roots and fruits are not only confined to inner wellbeing of the body but also aid in treating various skin conditions.
Soothes Eczema And Itching:
The bark of Peepal tree is an amazing remedy for those suffering from eczema and itching, especially in the winter. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend drinking a spoon concoction made out of Peepal tree bark at least twice a day to deal with this skin condition from within. Boil Peepal tree bark in hot water and let it cool down. Consume it till you find relief. Another alternative method would be burning Peepal tree bark into ash and applying it on affected area. Mix Peepal tree ash with fresh lemon juice, ghee, make it into a paste and apply it on the affected area for instant relief from itching.
The bark of Peepal tree is vouched by its skin lightening benefits. Mix the bark powder along with gram flour and water and apply it as a face pack. Do it at least twice a week to fight wrinkles and for a brighter complexion.
Softens Cracked Heels:
Cracked heels are not only painful but are also embarrassing if you are looking to strut down in low length gowns. Apply the juice of Peepal leaf juice and massage it gently for softening the affected area and to cure the cracked heels.
Peepal tree serves as a natural remedy for many but if you are allergic to certain Ayurvedic concoctions, it is always advisable to talk to the doctor before consuming it. Though external application of bark, leaf powder may not cause any issues, intake of Peepal bark, leaf juice or consumption of fruits should be done based on the advice of your doctor. If you are pregnant or a lactating mother, consult the doctor first.