Ficus religiosa L.

Last updated: 1 June 2015

Scientific Name

Ficus religiosa L.

Synonyms

Ficus caudata Stokes, Ficus peepul Griff., Ficus rhynchophylla Steud., Ficus superstitiosa Link, Urostigma religiosum (L.) Gasp. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Bo tree, Bodhi tree, pipal tree [2], Bodh tree, the Bodhidhiruma, peepal, pipal, sacred Bo, sacred fig, the tree of intelligence [3]
China Yin du pu ti shu pi, pu ti shu [3]
India Achyutavas, arachu, arali, areyal, ashvatham, bodhidru, caladala, calapatra, chaityadru, chiri-dewak, devatma, dvidarasana, ebhasan, gajabhakshaka, guhyapushpa, guru, jari, jor, kapitana, keshavalaya, mahadruma, osthu, pipal, pipro, rangi, shuchidruma, sevya, shri, vipra, vishala, yajnika [3]
Indonesia Bodhi [2]
Thailand Pho see ma haa pho (Central); yong (Shan-Mae Hong Son); salee (Northern) [2]
Laos Pho [2]
Cambodia Dom pur [2]
Vietnam C[aa]y b[oof] d[eef]; c[aa]y da; c[aa]y da b[oof] d[eef] [2]
Japan Indo-bodaj-ju [3]
Tibet Asba dtha [3]

Geographical Distributions

Ficus religiosa is originated from the Himalayas to Southern China (Yunnan), Vietnam and Northern Thailand. The plant nowadays is widely cultivated in the Malesian region but also in the Middle East, Nrthern Africa and the United States. It occurs naturally in submontane forests. [2]

Botanical Description

F. religiosa comes from the family Moraceae. It is an evergreen or deciduous banyan or small to medium-sized tree. It can reach up to 20 m tall. Its bark surface is fissured and grey. [2]

The leaves are arranged spirally, ovate-cordate to ovate, measuring 6-26 cm x 4-16 cm, with subcordate to truncate base, caudate at apex, often with uneven or sinuous margin, with 6-9 pairs of lateral veins, hairless and with stipules up to 1.5 cm long. The figs are axillary, paired, sessile, nearly spherical, measuring 10-15 mm in diametre, smooth, pink, purple or black when ripening. [2]

The flowers are with free tepals where the male flowers are arranged in 1 row, sessile and with 2-3 tepals while the female flowers are ses­sile or with short stalk and 3-4(-5) tepals. [2]

Cultivation

No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

No documentation.

Plant Part Used

Bark, aerial roots, leaves and twigs, fruits and tender leaf buds, latex. [2]

Traditional Use

A decoction of the bark is used as skin wash to treat scabies, whereas the aerial roots are chewed by women to promote fertility.

In India, an infusion of the bark is drunk as an antidiabetic and used externally against ulcers and skin diseases. The leaves and twigs are reputedly used against bites of venomous animals, as an astringent, antigonorrhoeal, laxative, aphrodisiac, and for the treatment of haemoptysis and fistula. Fresh sap from the leaves is used to cure diarrhoea, cholera and for wound healing.

In Vietnam, the aerial roots are considered to be diuretic and used in ascites. The leaves and twigs are also applied as fodder. The fibrous bark is used to make paper. The fruits and tender leaf buds are edible though not tasty, and are considered to be cooling, alterative and laxative. The latex can be applied as birdlime. The tree is a host of the lac insect. The low-quality wood may be used for packing cases and matches. The bark contains tannin which may be used to tan leather and for dying cloth. The tree is sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, and the trees which were brought to Sri Lanka in 245 B.C. are the oldest known trees in the world. It is regularly planted as a roadside tree. [2]

Preclinical Data

No documentation.

Clinical Data

No documentation.

Dosage

No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

631

Figure 1: The line drawing of F. religiosa [2]

References

  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Ficus religiosa L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2013 Mar 23; cited 2015 June 1] c2013. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2812027.
  2. Rojo JP, Pitargue FC, Sosef MSM. Ficus religiosa L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 116.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC World Dictionary of Plant Names: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press; 2012. p. 244.