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ashvattha - Ficus religiosa Linn.

ashvattha :

ashvattha : Ficus religiosa Linn.
Asvattha consists of dried bark of Ficus religiosa Linn. (Fam. Moraceae, 
a large perennial tree, glabrous when young, 
found throughout the plains of India upto 170 m altitude in the Himalayas, 
largely planted as an avenue and roadside tree especially near temples.

Taxonomical Classification

Family: Urticaceae


Sanskrit: ashvattha, pippala, shrivriksha, sevya, asvatha, caldal, bodhidru, pavitraka, yadnik, mahadrum, devatma, krishnavas
English: sacred fig, peepal tree
Hindi: Pipala, Pipal
Telugu: Ravichettu
Bengali: Asvattha, Ashud, Ashvattha
Marathi: Pipal, Pimpal, Pippal
Oriya: aswatha
Gujarathi: Piplo, Jari, Piparo, Pipalo
Tamil: Ashwarthan, Arasamaram, Arasan, Arasu, Arara
Malayalam: arayal
Kannada: Arlo, Ranji, Basri, Ashvatthanara, Ashwatha, Aralimara, Aralegida, Ashvathamara, Basari, Ashvattha
Punjabi: Pipal, Pippal
Assamese: Ahant


Synonyms in Ayurveda: ashvattha, pippala, shrivriksha, sevya, asvatha, caldal, bodhidru, pavitraka, yadnik, mahadrum, devatma, krishnavas

Rasa: Kashaya
Guna: Guru Ruksha
Veerya: Sheetha
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Kaphapittasamaka

Ficus religiosa (Peepal) has an important place among
herbal plants. Almost every part of this tree i.e. leaves, bark, seeds and fruits are used in the preparation
of herbal medicines. Therapeutic properties of this tree in curing a wide range of diseases can be
attributed to its richness in bioactive compounds namely flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins, phenols
etc. Its antimicrobial, anti-diabetic, anticonvulsant, wound healing, anti-inflammatory and analgesic
properties have made it a popular herbal tree and its parts are placed as important ingredient in modern
pharmacological industry. The


Ficus religiosa is grown by specialty tree plant nurseries for use as an ornamental tree, in gardens and parks in tropical and subtropical climates. Peepul trees are native to Indian subcontinent and thrive in hot, humid weather. They prefer full sunlight and can grow in most soil types, though loam is the best. When planting, use soil with a pH of 7 or below. While it is possible for the plant to grow indoors in a pot, it grows best outside. Young peepul needs proper nourishment. It requires full sunlight and proper watering. Sacred fig occurs naturally in submontane forest regions.

In the Middle East, it is preferably planted as an avenue or road verge tree. In the Philippines and in Nicaragua the species is cultivated in parks and along roadsides and pavements, while in Paraguay it occurs in forests at lower elevations.


Seed - germinates best at a temperature around 20°c
Air layering
Tip cuttings around 4 - 12cm long, taken from lateral branches


The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is cultivated in the tropical regions of the world, mainly as ornamental tree with various uses[





1. Nyagrodhadi curna
2. Nyagrodhadi kwatha


20-30 g of the drug for decoction. 



  • occurs in flat or slightly curved pieces,
  • varying from 1.0-2.5 cm or more in thickness,
  •  outer surface brown or ash coloured, surface uneven due to exfoliation of cork,
  • inner surface smooth and somewhat brownish,
  • fracture, fibrous, taste, astringent.


Transverse section of bark shows

  • compressed rectangular to cubical, thick-walled cork cells and dead elements of secondary cortex,
  • consisting of masses of stone cells,
  •  cork cambium distinct with 3-4 rows of newly formed secondary cortex, mostly composed of stone cells towards periphery,
  • stone cells found scattered in large groups, rarely isolated,
  • most of parenchymatous cells of secondary cortex contain numerous starch grains and few prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate,
  •  secondary phloem a wide zone, consisting of sieve elements, phloem fibres in singles or in groups of 2 to many and non-lignified, numerous crystal fibres also present,
  •  in outer region sieve elements mostly collapsed
  • while in inner region intact, phloem parenchyma mostly thick-walled, stone cells present in single or in small groups similar to those in secondary cortex, a number of ray-cells and phloem parenchyma filled with brown pigments, prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate and starch grains present in a number of parenchymatous cells, medullary rays uni to multiseriate, wider towards outer periphery composed of thick-walled cells with simple pits, in tangential section ray cells circular to oval in shape, cambium when present, consists of 2-4 layers of thin-walled rectangular cells.

Geographical distribution:

Peepal tree is grown throughout India. It is mainly grown in State of Haryana, Bihar, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. It is also found in the Ranthambore National Park in India. 
Ficus religiosa is native to tropical Asia, but it has now been introduced, spread and cultivated around much of the world, and in some cases it has become naturalized where its specialist pollinator wasp (Blastophaga quadriceps) has also been introduced.


Ficus religiosa suitably grows at altitudes ranging from 10 metres (33 ft) up to 1,520 metres (4,990 ft). Due to the climatic conditions which are prevalent throughout different heat zones, it can grow at latitudes ranging from 30°N to 5°S. It can tolerate air temperatures ranging between 0 °C (32 °F) to 35 °C (95 °F), beyond this upper limit its growth diminishes. It grows on a wide variety of soils but preferably needs deep, alluvial sandy loam with good drainage. It is also found on shallow soils including rock crevices

Therapeutic Uses:



Ficus religiosa or sacred fig is a species of fig native to the Indian subcontinent and Indochina that belongs to Moraceae, the fig or mulberry family. It is also known as the bodhi tree, pippala tree, peepul tree,[peepal tree or ashwattha tree (in India and Nepal) The sacred fig is considered to have a religious significance in three major religions that originated on the Indian subcontinent, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism. It is the type of tree that Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained enlightenment under, and Hindu and Jain ascetics also consider the tree to be sacred and often meditate under them.Ficus religiosa is used in traditional medicine for about 50 types of disorders including asthma, diabetes, diarrhea, epilepsy, gastric problems, inflammatory disorders, infectious and sexual disorders.

KEY WORDS: ashvattha Ficus religiosa Linn

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