Tree growing to around 26 ft (8 m) with large, leathery, heart-shaped leaves and purple fruit growing in pairs.
Habitat & Cultivation
Peepal grows in northern and central India, in forests, and alongside water. It is also widely cultivated throughout the subcontinent and southern Asia. The fruit is gathered when ripe.
Fruit, leaves, bark, latex.
The fruit contains fruit sugars, flavonoids, and enzymes.
History & Folklore
Sacred to Hindus and Buddhists, the peepal is the tree under which the Buddha attained enlightenment. It is a long-living tree; a peepal in Sri Lanka is thought to be over 2,000 years old.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Peepal’s uses are similar to those of the banyan (F. benghalensis). Its astringent bark and leaves are taken for diarrhea and dysentery, whereas the leaves alone are used for constipation. The leaves are applied with ghee (clarified butter) as a poultice to boils and to swollen salivary glands in mumps. The powdered fruit may be taken for asthma and the latex is used to treat warts.
See fig (F. carica) and banyan tree (F. benghalensis).