Tree growing to 65 ft (20 m) with oval leaves, fig-type fruit, and roots that grow into the ground from branches.
Habitat & Cultivation
Growing wild in India and Pakistan, the banyan tree is also cultivated across the Indian subcontinent.
Fruit, bark, leaves, latex, aerial roots.
Banyan tree contains ketones, sterols, ficusin, and bergaptin.
History & Folklore
The banyan tree is sacred to Hindus and is frequently found in the proximity of Hindu temples. The god Shiva is often shown sitting peacefully in the shade of a banyan tree. The banyan tree is the national tree of India.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
The astringent leaves and bark of the tree are employed to relieve diarrhea and dysentery and to reduce bleeding. As with other Ficus species, the latex is applied to hemorrhoids, warts, and aching joints. The fruit is laxative and the roots are chewed to prevent gum disease. The bark is used in Ayurvedic medicine for diabetes.
In laboratory studies an extract of the leaves was shown to counter diarrhea. Glycosides in banyan have been shown to have an anti-diabetic activity, lowering blood-sugar levels.
See fig (F. carica).
The latex is toxic and should not be taken internally.