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Sacred Fig


Botanical Name Ficus religiosa Linn.
Common NameSacred Fig, Peepal (Hindi), Arasa maram (Tamil), Ashwatha (Sanskrit)

Distribution

Throughout India

Lord Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree


Religious association

The peepal tree, with its heart-shaped leaves, is one of the most revered trees in India. The tree is considered as an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The tree also symbolises the continuity of life because the tree itself lives and grows for hundreds of years. Childless couples worship the tree, tying threads of white, red and yellow silk around it to pray for progeny and rewarding parenthood.

The peepal tree is also sacred to the Buddhists, because Lord Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under this tree. Due to this, the peepal tree is often referred to as the Bodhi tree or the ‘tree of enlightenment’.

Uses

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 juice of the bark is used as a mouthwash. The root is used for rheumatic pains and the seed is used to treat leprosy. The leaves are a good fodder for elephants and cattle. The wood is used for yokes, spoons and bowls. The latex is used as a sealing wax to fill cavities.

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