Ficus religioisa L.
Synonym: Urostigma religiosum (L.) Gasp.
Species: F. religiosa
Sindhi Name: Peepal
Local Name: Peepal
English Name: Sacred Fig
Part Used: Leaves, bark, fruits, seeds, and latex
Ficus religiosa L. is a large glabrous and deciduous tree with spreading branches. Leaves are long-petioled. Petiole is 6.5-10.5 cm long and terete. Lamina is broadly ovate-deltate, apex is caudate, abruptly narrowed into a long, and prominent acumen. Fruit is globose, 4-12 mm in diameter, and sessile in axillary pairs.1,2,3 Bark is grey with brownish specks. Trunks are irregularly shaped. Male flowers are yellow and sessile. Ripen fruits are purple in color.4
F. religiosa is cultivated in many parts of Pakistan and India.1,2 It is also found in Bangladesh, China, and Thailand.4
Ethnomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
A mixture of ground leaves of Ziziphus numularia L. (Chinese apple), Azadirachta indica J. Juss (Margose), and F. religiosa in mustard oil is applied topically twice daily for a week for the treatment of ringworm in District Khairpur (Sindh).
Stem bark of F. religiosa contains vitamin K, hypoglycemic β-sitosterol-d-glucoside (phytosterolin), arabinose, mannose, glucose, ramontoside, lanosterol, bergaptol, and stigmasterol.1, 2, 3, 6 Leaves contain campesterol, stigmasterol, isofucosterol, α-amyrin, lupeol, tannic acid, arginine, serine, aspartic acid, glycine, threonine, alanine, proline, tryptophan, tryosine, methionine, valine, isoleucine, leucine, n-nonacosane, n-hentricontanen, hexa-cosanol, and n-octacosan.6, 7, 8
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/Scientific studies:
In traditional system of medicine, various parts such as stem bark, root bark aerial roots, vegetative buds, leaves, fruits, and latex are used in diabetes, vomiting, burns, gynaecological problems, dysentery, diarrhea, nervous disorders, tonic, and astringent. Astringent bark of F. religiosa treats cracked feet. Fruits are mild laxative. Dried powdered fruit is used for the treatment of asthma.1 Various parts of the plant are used in otitis media suppuration, mouth sores, small pox, carbuncles, and cholera. Leaves are aborticide. Pulverised bark is applied topically on ulcers and wounds. Infusion of bark is given internally for the treatment of scabies and other skin diseases. Leaves and twigs are laxative.2, 3 Leaves and shoots are also used for the treatment of skin diseases. Fruit extract exhibits antitumor and antibacterial activities.4,5 Plant exhibited anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, anticonvulsant, and antimicrobial activities.6, 7, 9
- Rehman, M. (2006), A Pictorial Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Pakistan, p. 193, Kohat University of Science and Technology Publishers, Peshawar.
- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 282, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt. Ltd., 66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
- Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 55-56, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.
- Pullaiah, T. (2006), Encyclopedia of World Medicinal Plants, Vol. 2, p. 958-959, Regency Publishers, New Delhi, India.
- Khare, C. P. (2007), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 269, Springer Science Publishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
- Makhija, I. K., Sharma, I. P., and Khamar, D. (2010). Phytochemistry and Pharmacological properties of Ficus religiosa L.: An overview. Annals of Biological Research, 1(4), 171–180.
- Lakshmi HimaBindu, M. R., Angala Parameswari, A., and Gopinath, C. (2013). Determination of flavanoidal content by Ficus religiosa leaf extract by TLC and HPTLC. International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemical Research, 5(2), 120–127.
- Manorenjitha, M. S., Norita, A. K., Norhisham, S., and Asmawi, M. Z. (2013). GC-MS analysis of bioactive components of Ficus religiosa (Linn.) stem. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, 4(2), 99–103.
- Salem, M. Z. M., Salem, a Z. M., Camacho, L. M., and Ali, H. M. (2013). Antimicrobial activities and phytochemical composition of extracts of Ficus species: An overview. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 7(33), 4207–4219.