Ficus religiosa Linn

Family ► Moraceae.

Habitat ► Sub-Himalayan tracts, West Bengal, Central and South India; planted throughout India as an avenue tree.

Ayurvedic ► Ashvattha, Bodhidru, Bodhivrkisha, Sebya, Chalapa-tra, Gajabhaksha, Kshiradruma, Peeppal.

Siddha/Tamil ► Arasu, Ashvatham.

Action ► Bark—astringent, antiseptic, alterative, laxative, haemostatic, vaginal disinfectant (used in diabetes, diarrhoea, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, nervous disorders; also in skin diseases.) Applied externally on unhealthy ulcers and wounds. Leaves and twigs— laxative.

The bark contains beta-sitosteryl-D-glucoside. Vitamin K, n-octacosanol, methyl oleanolate, lanosterol, stigmas-terol, lupen-3-one are reported from the stem bark.

A hypoglycaemic response is reported for beta-sitosterol-D-glucoside obtained from the bark.

Aerial roots are given to women, also used in prescriptions, for inducing conception. The dried fruits are used as a uterine tonic.

The fruits contain 4.9% protein having the essential amino acids, isoleu-cine and phenylalanine. The chloroform extract of fruits exhibited anti-tumour and antibacterial activities in bioassays.

Various plant parts are included in formulations used for menorrha-gia, metrorrhagia, blood dysentery, bleeding piles, haematuria and haemorrhages.

Dosage ► Bark, fruit—50-100 ml decoction. (CCRAS.)

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