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Peepal Tree: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Siddharth Gupta +2 more

Introduction:  

The peepal tree is considered the mythical ‘Tree of Life’ or ‘World Tree’ of the Indian subcontinent. The peepal tree, also called Ficus religiosa, belonging to the family Moraceae, is a variation of the fig tree known as the bodhi tree. The word ‘Ficus’ in Latin refers to ‘fig’, the fruit of the tree and the word ‘Religiosa’ refers to ‘religion’, as it is sacred in both Buddhism and Hinduism. Also, for this reason, it is named ‘Sacred fig’. It is a huge tree often planted near holy places and temples.

The vernacular names of peepal trees are Pipal, Pipala in Hindi; Jari, Piplo, Pipalo, Piparo in Gujarati; Pimpal, Pipal, Pippal in Marathi; Ashud, Ashvattha, Asvattha in Bengali; Aswatha in Oriya; Ahant in Assamese; Pippal, Pipal in Punjabi; Ravichettu in Telugu; Arara, Arasu, Arasan, Ashwarthan, Arasamaram in Tamil; Ranji, Arlo, Basri, Ashwatha, Ashvatthanara, Aralegida, Aralimara, Basari, Ashvathamara, Ashvattha in Kannada; Arayal in Malayalam; Bad in Kashmiri.

peepal tree benefits

Traditionally, the leaf juice of the peepal tree may be helpful for cough, asthma, diarrhoea, ear pain, toothache, haematuria (blood in urine), migraine, scabies, eye troubles, and gastric problems. The stem bark of the peepal tree might help with paralysis, gonorrhoea, bone fractures, diarrhoea, and diabetes. However, more studies are required to prove the potential use of benefits for the purposes mentioned above. Furthermore, it should not be used for self-medication.

Did You Know 

  • Peepal tree leaves have antimicrobial properties and can help in treating various infections. source: ncbi.
  • Peepal tree leaves can be used to treat urinary tract infections and promote kidney health. source: ncbi.
  • Peepal tree leaves can be used to treat anxiety and promote mental well-being. source: ncbi.
  • Peepal tree leaves have anti-inflammatory properties and can help in reducing arthritis pain. source: ncbi.

Nutritional Value of Peepal Tree:

Nutritional composition of parts of the peepal tree (per 100 g) is:

NutrientFresh FruitsDried FruitsLeaves Bark
Carbohydrates21.2 g68.33 g19.20 g15.4 g
Proteins2.5 g8.48 g13.55 g2.5 g
Fats1.7 g0.143 g2.5 g1.7 g
Crude fibre9.9 g26.1 g9.9 g
Dietary fibre69.43 g
Calcium289 mg848 mg1.67 mg16.1 mg
Iron6 mg0.18 mg623 mg
Copper0.105 mg
Manganese0.355 mg
Zinc0.09 mg

Table depicting the nutritional value of pipal tree:

Properties of Peepal Tree:

The peepal tree might have the following properties:

  • It may have antidiabetic property
  • It may have an anti-inflammatory potential
  • It might act as an antioxidant
  • It may have an analgesic (pain-killing) property
  • It may act as an anticonvulsant (reduces or prevents the severity of fits)
  • It may be an antimicrobial (kills microbes)
  • It may help in wound healing
  • It may be an anti-amnesic (prevents loss of memory)
  • It may act as an anti-ulcer agent
  • It might have potential as an anti-Parkinson (Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that affects body movements) agent
  • It might have an anti-asthmatic action
  • It might help as a kidney-protective agent

In my practice, I have observed that the methanolic extract of Peepal stem bark has shown an inhibitory effect on the enzyme acetylcholinesterase. Since this enzyme is responsible for metabolism of the chemical acetylcholine. This suggests that it may have potential benefits in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the brain, which is important for memory and cognitive function.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Potential uses of Peepal Tree:

Peepal tree might have the following potential uses for human health

Potential uses of Peepal Tree for the Digestive System

Severe intolerable stomach pain may be relieved by drinking the bark’s decoction with jaggery and salt. An enema (fluid used to cleanse or stimulate the emptying of the stomach) prepared from the tree’s sprouts, cooked in milk and filtered, can be used for dysentery (severe diarrhoea). Repeated and severe vomiting can be relieved using the tree’s inner bark. The bark is dried in the shade and further finely powdered. This is mixed with honey and is considered to ease vomiting due to Kapha. Burnt peepal bark is dipped in water for cooling and can be used to satisfy uncontrollable thirst. The leaves of the peepal tree are laxative (ease the passage of stool). The raw juice of its leaves or powdered dried leaves in water can be taken.

Also Read: Simple Home Remedies For Indigestion

Potential uses of Peepal Tree for the Heart

The leaves of the peepal tree might be helpful for heart diseases. The leaves are soaked in water, distilled (purified by heating), and stored. It may help with heart weakness and palpitations (feeling that the heart is racing). However, more research is required to prove the use of peepal tree for the heart. Conditions of the heart are serious. Therefore, you should consult a doctor. Only a doctor should diagnose and treat heart diseases.

Potential Uses of Peepal Tree for Joint Pain and Fever

The peepal tree might be effective in fever due to its potential cooling nature. It might also be helpful for rheumatism (inflammation and pain of the joints). The bark of the peepal tree is cooked in water, filtered, and taken with honey as and when prescribed by an Ayurvedic physician under their supervision. Kindly do not use it for self-medication.

Potential Uses of Peepal Tree for Respiratory system

The powder form of the dried fruit with water may help with asthma. It may also be helpful with honey to relieve cough. It is also thought to make the voice melodious and sweet. Its powder with butter might help deal with whooping cough in children. However, more studies are required to prove such claims. Kindly ensure that you consult a doctor as such conditions should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Potential Uses of Peepal Tree for the Skin

The decoction (concentrated solution obtained after boiling or heating) of peepal bark might help deal with itching or eczema (a condition where the patches of skin become inflamed and rough). The paste (bark and water) may help deal with skin eruptions. Its powder might have a potential use along with sesame oil for wounds. however, more research is required to prove the potential uses of peepal tree for the skin. Therefore, kindly consult a doctor.

Also Read: Home Remedies For Tanned Skin

Potential Uses of Peepal Tree for Conditions of the Mouth

A cold infusion or decoction of the bark might help to strengthen the gums and might help with toothache. The paste of powdered bark and tender leaves with honey may have potential use for mouth ulcers in growing children. However, more research is required to prove such claims. Therefore, you should consult a doctor.

Potential Uses of Peepal Tree for Ear Problems

Tender young peepal leaves may help with ear-related problems. Your Ayurvedic physician might suggest that you take some tender young peepal leaves, grind, and cook them in some sesame oil over a low flame. A small quantity of this oil might be helpful for ear pain. However, make sure that you consult a doctor before putting anything in your ear. Please do not self-medicate. Kindly consult a doctor as ear problems can be serious.

Though there are studies that show the potential uses of peepal tree in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need of further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of peepal tree on human health.  

In my experience, I have observed that Ficus religiosa latex has shown hepatoprotective effects in cases of liver injury induced by cisplatin. It helps in reducing the elevated levels of liver enzymes and improving the liver cell degeneration, inflammation, and necrosis. This suggests that Ficus religiosa latex may have potential benefits in protecting the liver from drug-induced damage.

Dr. Smita Barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

How to Use Peepal Tree?  

Peepal tree can be used as:

  • Powdered dried leaves
  • Powdered dried bark
  • Raw leaves juice
  • Decoction of bark

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.

Side Effects of Peepal Tree: 

There is a need for more research to ascertain the potential use and side effects of peepal tree. It might have unknown side effects. Therefore, it is advised to consult your doctor before taking parts of the peepal tree.

Based on my experience, I have observed that the methanolic extract of Ficus religiosa bark may exhibit a potent anti-parasitic effect. This anti-parasitic effect of the methanolic extract of Ficus religiosa bark may be attributed to the presence of bioactive compounds within the extract. These compounds are likely to have properties that are toxic or detrimental to the parasites, leading to their lethality.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Precautions to Take With Peepal Tree: 

General precautions should be followed before taking parts of peepal tree, especially by pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, children and elderly individuals. Therefore, before taking the powdered bark or any other part of the tree, it is advisable to consult your doctor. Kindly do not self-medicate, alter, replace or discontinue any ongoing treatment by yourself.

Also Read: Butterfly Pea Flower: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More! 

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

No inteParts of the peepal tree might have unknown interactions with drugs. There is insufficient data regarding interactions with other drugs. Therefore, there is a need for more studies to be conducted. You should consult a doctor before using parts of the peepal tree for health. You should also ensure to disclose the current medications being used so that the doctor can have a clear picture and provide accurate guidance.

Also Read: Glue Ear: Understanding Its Causes and Research-Based Management Options 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Can a peepal tree be used for wounds? 

The powdered bark of the peepal tree may be applied with sesame oil for dealing with wounds by an Ayurvedic physician.1 Also, its stem bark can be boiled in water, and the lukewarm decoction may be used in infected and non-infected wounds, as it might help in healing. The root bark fine powder of the peepal tree may be used for dusting over the oozing lesion to manage it.5 However, these methods are to not to be used without the prescription and consultation of an Ayurvedic physician.

Can the peepal tree relieve hyperpigmentation? 

Fresh latex of the peepal tree might help with hyperpigmentation of the face.5 However, more studies are required to prove the use of peepal tree for hyperpigmentation. Moreover, ensure that you consult a doctor before using it.

Is peepal tree good for asthma? 

The powder from the dried fruit with water might be helpful for asthma.1 However, more studies are required. Asthma is a serious condition and should be diagnosed and treated by a doctor. Therefore, kindly ensure that you consult a doctor.

Is the peepal tree good for gums? 

A cold infusion or decoction of the bark might have potential use for healthy gums and might help with toothache.1 However, it is not advisable to use herbs on your own as the studies available are insufficient to suggest its benefits on humans. Kindly consult a dentist.

Can a peepal tree be used to help with menstrual problems? 

There is insufficient data regarding this subject. Kindly consult a doctor and do not self-medicate.

Can peepal tree relieve constipation? 

The fruits of the peepal tree might be helpful for constipation.1. Kindly consult a dcotor and do not self-medicate.

Can I use the leaves of the peepal tree for mumps? 

The leaves of the peepal tree may be coated with ghee, warmed, and applied over the inflamed area of mumps; this may or may not be helpful.1 It should not be used without the recommendation by an Ayurvedic physician. Kindly consult a doctor for dignosis and treatment of mumps. Do not self-medicate.

Why is the peepal tree called the sacred fig? 

The peepal tree is called ‘Sacred fig’ because it is believed to be sacred by the followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.1

Can I use a peepal tree during pregnancy? 

There is insufficient data regarding the use of peepal tree during pregnancy. Therefore, you must consult your doctor before taking it.

How can I use the peepal tree? 

It can be used as powdered dried leaves, powdered dried bark, raw leaves juice, or decoction of bark.1 However, you should not use it without the consultation of a doctor. Therefore, make sure that you consult a doctor.

References: 

1. Panchawat S. Ficus religiosa Linn . (Peepal): A Phyto-Pharmacological. Int J Pharm Chem Sci [Internet]. 2012;1(1):435–46. Available from: https://ijpcsonline.com/files/files/53-034.pdf 

2. Health MOF, Welfare F. THE AYURVEDIC PHARMACOPOEIA Part-I [Internet]. 21–22 p. Available from: http://www.ayurveda.hu/api/API-Vol-1.pdf 

3. Sandeep, Kumar A, Dimple, Tomer V, Gat Y, Kumar V. Ficus religiosa: A wholesome medicinal tree. J Pharmacogn Phytochem [Internet]. 2018;7(4):32–7. Available from: https://www.phytojournal.com/archives/2018.v7.i4.4868/ltemgtficus-religiosaltemgt-a-wholesome-medicinal-tree 

4. Kumar Makhija I, Sharma IP, Khamar D. Phytochemistry and Pharmacological properties of Ficus religiosa: an overview. Ann Biol Res [Internet]. 2010;1(4):171–80. Available from: https://asset-pdf.scinapse.io/prod/2416669922/2416669922.pdf 

5. Vikaspedia. Herbal Healers II 1. [Internet]. 2022. Available from: https://vikaspedia.in/health/ayush/ayurveda-1/ayurvedic-herbal-healing/herbal-healers-ii 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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