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A Banyan Tree (ficus Benghalensis Linn.) & Its Uses

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Banyan tree (Ficus benghalensis Linn.)

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“To study a Banyan tree, you not only must know the main stem in its soil but also trace the growth of its greatness in the further soil. For then, you can know the true nature of its vitality.” – Rabindranath Tagore

The world's largest tree in terms of its spread with some old trees covering over an acre of ground, around 800 species of Ficus is known to be present on mother earth. This tree is native to India & is considered as the national tree of India. This tree is a perennial plant & belongs to the 'Mulberry' family (Moraceae). Its scientific name is 'Ficus bengalensis' and in English known as 'Indian Banyan tree'. It was named after local Indian merchants were known as ‘Baniya’ set up shop under the spreading trees. These trees are seen growing all over India from north to south. This evergreen tree is famous for its shoots, its shade is thick, very cool and blissful in summers. In its shadow, hundreds, thousands of people can sit together. Even now the banyan tree is considered the focal point of rural life and even today the council of the village conducts' panchayat under the shade of this tree.

Sacred Beliefs

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Banyan Tree is revered by Hindus and it is believed that this tree removes sin, sorrow & cures diseases. Planting of this tree & giving water to its root during summer leads to the accumulation of virtue. This tree is considered a symbol of Magha Nakshatra (Regulus Star) & as per astrology, people born in “Magha Nakshatra” worship Banyan & plant it in their houses. This tree is a symbol of 'Trimurti'(Three Lords). Lord Brahma in its roots, Lord Vishnu in the bark, and Lord Shiva in branches. This tree is considered immortal and called “Akshayavat” due to its characteristics and long life. According to “Agnipuran” people who want to have children worship it. Tree considered to be sacred, its ever-extending branch embodies unending life. The tree also encompasses abundant spiritual and mythological contexts. To honor the victory of the great Sati (Savitri) over Yama, who won back her husband, a vrata (Fast) known as Vata-Saavithri-Vrata came into being on the full moon of the month of Jyeshta (May-June). It is interesting to note that the Jains have also included Sati Savithri in their roll-call prayers as one of the satis to whom prayers are to be offered every day. The tree is additionally sacred to the Buddhists. After attaining enlightenment, Buddha is believed to sit beneath a banyan for seven days.

Morphology

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It is widely cultivated in the tropics. It grows well in tropical, semi-tropical regions, monsoon and rain forests with moderate to ample rain. In addition to the large spreading growth form, trees also have attractive red fruits and aerial roots hanging from limbs. The two largest banyan trees in India are in Calcutta (West Bengal) and Satara (Maharashtra).

TRUNK

The long wide circled trunk of these trees does not look round but looks like a cluster of many wire-like pots. Banyan stems found in open and dry places are thicker. Its trunk rises and divides into several branches and sub-branches. A feature of its branches and sub-branches is that it extends all around. The thickness and appearance of stem and branches affect its age. The trunk and branches of small and new banyan trees are smooth and the trunk and branches of old trees are rough and crusted. Its height can range from 20 meters to 30 meters. Aerial Roots emerge from the branches of the banyan. Initially, they are thin and swing downwards. After some time they reach the ground and start taking food juices from inside the ground. They grow slowly and after a long time, they become thick, hard, and strong like the trunk, and can bear the burden of the tree. The large and round oval-shaped leaves emerge on the thin branches from all sides.

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LEAF

The length of the leaves varies from 10 cm to 20 cm and width from 5 cm to 13 cm. Banyan leaves are very thick & smooth from one side and their color is dark green. The other side of the leaf's color is light green. New leaves usually emerge in February-March. Sometimes new leaves come out in September-October too. The new leaves are red and very beautiful.

FRUITS

Tree bear fruits in summer. Generally, fruits arrive and ripen in mid-February to May. Sometimes these fruits can be seen till September. In some places, the banyan delays fruits and lasts until December. Its fruits are small, round, and stalk less. Its fruits grow in pairs the same places on the branches where the leaves grow. Banyan fruit is a special type of flower group, which takes round shape to become fruit. There are very small insects within the banyan fruit, these are called fig pests. In the absence of these insects, the banyan tree cannot produce seeds. These insects penetrate from one flower to another, causing the process of pollination.

Medicinal Properties & Uses

It is a lactiferous tree & widely used in skin disease treatment, blood predominance, and respiratory disorders. Each part of this tree used for medicinal purposes. Aerial roots, stem bark, root bark, leaves, vegetative buds, and Latex are used in medicine. Deadly diseases such as dysentery, diarrhea, diabetes leucorrhoea, menorrhagia, nervous disorders are found to be cured by this tree. Moreover, ancient medical systems such as Ayurveda, Unani, and Homeopathy were using this tree extensively as medicine for various diseases. Apart from all the medicinal uses, this tree gives us oxygen, cool air, shadow & consumes all the Co2, refresh air from toxic gases, and prevent air pollution.

Milky Latex
The latex treats external skin bruising and inflammations. For skin ulcers, dysentery, and toothaches aerial Roots & latex are used. A few drops of the latex of banyan tree taken with milk can cure bleeding piles. Applying this latex to cracked heel (Kibes) is very beneficial & helps in healing Kibes. Latex is also used for rheumatism, pain, lumbago.

Bark
The bark & seeds are used as a tonic to cool the body & treat diabetes. The bark is also considered as an analgesic and antipyretic. In Ayurveda, the Stem bark is used as Tonic/Astringent and in the treatment of diabetes & considered to be anti-stress/Anti-allergic. A decoction prepared by bark powder of banyan tree & fig tree in a quantity of one tablespoon each and by douching genital tract regularly with this decoction when it’s lukewarm will help to overcome the leucorrhoea.

Fruit
Its Fruit is used for a variety of disorders like diarrhea, polyuria, Dental, diabetes, and urine disorders. The Fruit serves as a mild purgative & has a soothing effect on skin and mucus membranes & alleviates swelling & pain. Fruit helps to overcome the nutritional deficiency. As it is found to be very nutritious.

Leaf
Leaf buds of the banyan tree are beneficial in the treatment of chronic diarrhea and dysentery.

Aerial Roots
Aerial roots are beneficial in strengthening teeth and gums if chewed and brushed & are also used for obstinate vomiting and infusion. The Banyan tree is used to stimulate Female sterility, its roots dried in the shade then finely powdered & consumed with milk for three consecutive nights after the mensuration cycle, every month till the conception. No other food to be taken except milk.

103 year old Indian environmentalist, planted around 384 Banyan trees & nearly 8000 other trees!!

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The 103-year-old lady “Timakka” Indian environmentalist from the state of Karnataka has planted hundreds of banyan trees so far. Born in Hulikal village in the Bengaluru rural district. Her story appeared in newspapers across the country after being awarded the National Citizen Award in 1996. A film has also been made on her life. She neither took inspiration from any book nor did she ever went to school. Timakka was married at a very young age. But even after 25 years of marriage, she did not have children. Instead of getting frustrated with this, she thought of planting saplings and raising them like her children. The first year She planted ten saplings at a distance of 4 km from her village. After this, 15 more plants were planted the next year and then 20 more in the third year. She along with her husband used to carry water for four kilometers on foot so that the plants do not dry up. They also planted shrubs on the side of the plant so that goats or other animals could not harm them. She planted around 384 Banyan tree for almost 50 years & 8000 other trees. The people of the village started calling her 'Salumarda' which means in Kannada – “the queue of trees”. The thing to note here is that she neither took money nor took help from anyone to plant saplings. Even at the age of 103, her courage has not diminished. She is constantly doing her work.

"SAVE FOREST SAVE THE CLIMATE"

Banyan Botanicals Triphala Tablets

This content is for informational purposes only and does not substitute for formal and individualized diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed medical professional. Do not stop or alter your current course of treatment. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Afroze haseeb on October 24, 2015:

very very useful tree

falak lakdawdala amdaba on March 26, 2015:

vtion ry nice information give more i know that this is a micinal plant write about peeple n babool

sanjay on March 06, 2015:

It was nice and useful but , If it was given in points means it will be more easy and convenient for students like us and we can remember it till our life .But also I will be very much thankful to Hub pages .I liked It .Super......

akshara on March 06, 2015:

thank U very much Hub pages it was very very useful for me and my family

Priyank Soni on January 09, 2015:

Thank u for this information....

sayonee on December 03, 2014:

It helped me a lot

Fatema on August 26, 2014:

Please write uses of its leaf

priya on August 16, 2014:

i think this tree was very useful , it's leaves was use of treatment .

Bandita Nath on July 22, 2014:

It's a wonderful article for us!! but .....I think it should contain a better -conclusion. THANKS.

Maddy sharma on July 07, 2014:

was very useful but it must contain some more info about topic but it was lovely using it...

rachana on July 04, 2014:

write about the leaves and more information on it

nikita mehta on June 29, 2014:

very useful tree

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.

BuRrAAaHhh.............................................

bijoya on June 27, 2014:

write something about the leaves & it's process

kannan on June 13, 2014:

banyan tree is very useful

venkat on June 13, 2014:

banyan tree is not useful

ajay sehdev on January 29, 2014:

Banyan tree is residence of devtas

shruti on December 29, 2013:

write something about the leaves

ffffffj on November 18, 2013:

Very useful tree.

radhika shah on October 28, 2013:

yo yo honey singh!!!!!!!!!!

rishabh omar on September 08, 2013:

very useful tree awesome

riya sharma on August 08, 2013:

it is very useful and helpful..............

ranjith on June 08, 2013:

soo cool

holji on February 16, 2013:

so nice

it is good

meera on July 03, 2012:

it is very useful

anjali on February 21, 2012:

its awesome.i think it is very useful.

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