The peepal tree is one of the few trees which are considered auspicious in multi religions. Peepal tree has a significant role in religions like Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. It is believed that it is the tree under which Lord Buddha attained “the enlightenment”. This is the reason it is also known as “Bodhi Tree”.
The peepal tree is also a superior tree in terms of the production of oxygen. Most of the trees produce oxygen in the daytime only through photosynthesis. But at night when the photosynthesis process stops they release carbon dioxide. Peepal is amongst the only few trees which produce oxygen even at night with Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) process.
Peepal tree has a long life span; it can live up to 1500 years. It is also known by many other names like Ashwattha tree, peepul tree, bodhi tree, pippala tree, etc. It is a tree that can tolerate a variety of climates, this is the reason it is found throughout India.
Peepal Tree – Scientific Description
The peepal tree belongs to the Family Moraceae, Genus Ficus, and Species F. Religiosa. Its scientific name is “Ficus Religiosa”.
It can grow up to a height of 30 meters i.e. around 100 feet; its trunk generally has a radius of approx 1.5 meters i.e. 5 feet.
It has a high tolerance of temperature variance; it can easily live in temperatures ranging from 0 degrees Celsius to 40 degrees Celsius.
Alluvial sandy and loamy soil with proper aeration and drainage is best suited for growth of peepal tree. Although, it can easily grow in many varieties of soils.
The leaves of peepal tree are heart shaped and have a pointed end; they are generally 10 to 20 cm in length and 8 to 15 cm in breadth.
The fruits of peepal tree are very small in size generally ranging from 1 to 2 cm, they are green in color.
How To Grow A Peepal Tree
The peepal tree is a fig, as such, it is not hard to grow it, and the roots of this tree grow fairly easily. The peepal tree is not very sensitive to temperature and humidity, which further aids in its growth. Follow these easy steps to grow a peepal tree at your home.
1. The first step is very easy; all you need to do is find a healthy small branch of the tree. Cut it with the help of a knife or a blade. Clean it with the help of water to remove any kind of unwanted dirt or mold.
2. Now make a V shape cut at the bottom by removing the outer layer and place the cutting in a water filled glass. Make sure the cutting is not fully submerged in water, only the bottom part should be submerged and the top part of the cutting should be in open. Keep the cutting standing properly along the corner of the glass so that new roots spread radially and uniformly.
3. You do not need any rooting hormones or any special techniques for growing roots in water. Keep the glass in partially shaded area and let the nature to its work for a week or two. You should change water in 4-5 days, also cover the top part to keep the humidity on the higher side.
4. Remember, growing the first roots take some time and thereafter it becomes easy for the roots to multiply. After almost two weeks you will notice white spongy lenticels coming out of the bottom part. They help in gas exchange of the plant and they are the predecessor of the roots.
5. Within few days you will observe new roots growing from the bottom and in few more days more new roots will grow and the stem will become stiffer to provide proper support.
6. Now you can plant this stem in the soil pot for creating a perfect peepal plant for yourself. You can add sand to the soil along with manure to keep proper aeration.
Benefits of Peepal Tree
1. Peepal tree is considered very beneficial for teeth. If you have a toothache, bleeding gums or bad breath issues, then you should mix 2 grams black pepper with 10 grams peepal peel and some cutch. Grind them fine and wash your teeth regularly with this mixture. Within 10-15 days you will be relieved from your teeth issues.
2. Peepal is also considered very effective in treating skin issues. If you are worried about your wrinkles with growing age, then all you have to do is cut down peepal roots soak it in the water and make its fine paste apply this paste as a face pack regularly on your wrinkle areas. Within 10-15 days you will notice the difference in the wrinkles.
3. Peepal is also considered very useful for skin itching and other infections. It has anti bacterial and anti oxidant properties. For skin itching you may consume 4 peepal leaves daily by chewing them and if you cannot do that, then you can make its syrup or can make its paste by grinding it and apply this daily on the itching.
4. In Asthma issues also peepal has proven to be very effective. If someone is suffering from asthma then what you have to do is take out the stuff inside the peel of peepal and let it dry once its dry them make its fine powder. Give this powder to the asthma patient daily once or twice, and you will notice the difference.
5. If you have cold and cough then let some peepal leaves dry in the shadow. When it dries, make its fine powder add some crystal sugar in it and consume this powder with lukewarm water.
6. The peepal tree also has analgesic properties. It has been found through many studies, that there are steroids and tannin like compounds in the bark of the peepal tree which help in fighting inflammation and reducing swelling.
The Bodhi Tree
According to Buddhist texts, the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment after meditating under this tree without moving for seven days. In religious iconography the Bodhi Tree (Bodhi means awakening or enlightenment) is recognizable by its heart shaped leaves that provide nourishment to all animals especially elephants.
Bodhi Tree is located at present in Bodh Gaya at Bihar. It is believed that the sacred peepal tree at Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka was grown from the part of this tree. It is also believed that many other peepal trees all over the world have been grown from the sacred figs of this tree.
Myths And Mythology Around Peepal Tree
Like the banyan tree, there is a myth for peepal tree that it is an abode for many ghosts and spirits, there are many stories regarding this in Indian culture.
There is also a myth that peepal tree shall not be planted near homes as it is a tree of graveyards.
Peepal tree is considered house of the Trimurti (the three great Gods of Indian Culture, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh). The roots of the tree represent the Brahma, the trunk represents Vishnu and the leaves represent Mahesh (also known as Shiva).
Peepal is considered very sacred by Hindus and you can easily find a worship place below the peepal tree in India.
According to Hindu texts cutting of a peepal tree is considered a big sin which is equivalent to murdering of a Brahmin.
It is also believed that a person who cuts a peepal tree is sure of going to hell after his death.