Banyan Tree holds a special significance not only as a tree with immense medicinal value but also as a sacred and revered tree in Indian religion and culture. It has healing properties and is used for treating numerous ailments.
Many Ayurvedic formulations contain extract of its bark, fruit or leaves as one of their major components. Ayurveda suggests Banyan to be highly beneficial for the ‘Vata dosha’, it controls and regulates motion and air circulation in the body. Its importance can be gauged from the fact that it is the national tree of India.
Where is the Banyan Tree Found?
Scientifically known as Ficus benghalensis, Banyan trees grow abundantly in the warm and temperate regions around the globe. They are endemic to the Indian Subcontinent and are common in India, Myanmar, Thailand, southern China, Malaysia and Southeast Asia.
Banyan is an evergreen tree that never sheds all its leaves. It remains lush green throughout the year and gives a comforting shade. This tree lives for hundreds of years and the oldest Banyan tree in the world is in Jagdish Chandra Bose Botanical Garden, Kolkata, India. This tree is more than 250 years old and is the widest tree acquiring 3.5 acres approximately.
Banyan trees grow to about 21 meters in height and their leaves are about 10 to 20 cm long. Banyan grows best in sandy, loamy well-drained soils but it does not require any specific kind of soil to flourish. It typically grows in low altitudes, dry and semi-dry regions with a warm and humid climate, and can be seen in almost all Indian states.
The Bark of the Banyan tree is thick and strong. It is whitish-grey to brown and release a thick white liquid when cut. Its dark green leaves are big- about 6 inches, elliptical, thick and feel leathery. The fruits of this tree are round, red and measure .80 inches in diameter.
One of the distinguishing features of the Banyan tree is its aerial roots, also called prop roots or propagating roots that grow from its branches, above the ground. As they touch the ground they grow into woody trunks and look like different trees.
Banyan tree is known by many vernacular names in India. In Hindi, it is called Bad ka ped, Bargad or Baragad and Vat or Nyayagrodh in Sanskrit. It is referred to as Bhod, Bhaur or Bhera in Punjab and Vad in Gujarat and Maharashtra. It is called Ala or Vada in Tamil, Peddamari or Maricheta in Telugu, Alada mara or Vatavruksha in Kannada and Perala in Malayalam.
Banyan Tree has many essential nutrients, antioxidants and bioactive compounds like inositol, ester, quercetin etc. It is also rich in flavonoids, leucopelar, galactose, rutin, leucoplast, tannins, ketones, polysaccharides and toglic acid.
Its roots contain Phytosterolin and its leaves have bioactive like Friedelin, Triterpin, and Beta-sitosterol. Its bark contains Leucocyanidin, Leucopelargonidin, flavonoid glycosides, and Bengalinoside.
Benefits of Banyan Bark Tree Powder
All parts of the Banyan tree, including its Fruits and leaves, are used for medicinal purposes however its bark is enormously used for treating a variety of ailments. Banyan Tree Bark powder is easily available in the market and helps to treat the following issues-
Treats all Dental Problems
Banyan bark, its milk and root are very effective for treating decay, dental caries, infections, mouth ulcers and even bad breath. It has antioxidant and antibacterial qualities which help it in fighting tooth decay and inflammation of the gums.
Boil 1 inch of Banyan bark in a cup of water and use it for gargling regularly. This will make your mouth bacteria-free and smell fresh. You can also take about 10 grams of bark powder, 2 gm black pepper and 4 gm of catechu and grind them together. Use this powder for brushing your teeth. This will make your teeth strong and white, do away with all kinds of infections and bleeding gums. Also, the latex or the milk of the bark helps to treat Halitosis.
Gets rid of skin problems
The bark powder and leaf extracts of Banyan have amazing skin protection qualities. It treats dull and dry skin, skin infection, inflammation, rashes etc. It offers beautiful glowing skin. The extract of its leaves and bark can be mixed with aloe vera juice for treating acne and skin allergies. Boil 2 grams of bark powder with 4 cups of water. After it is reduced to half of its original quantity, let it cool. Drink it twice or thrice a week to get clear skin.
The bioactive compounds in the roots and bark of Banyan control the blood sugar level in the body. Take Banyan tree Bark powder and grind it with its roots. Boil 20 grams of this powder with half a litre of water until it gets reduced to 1/7th of its quantity. Strain it after it has reached room temperature and drink half a cup of it twice a day for a month. This will help to cure diabetes and also its related symptoms.
Cures Urinary Disorders
The bark of the tree helps to treat urinary and renal problems. For this, mix equal quantities of powdered sugar and tree bark powder. About 4 grams of this mixture should be consumed daily with lukewarm water. To treat the problem of excessive urination, boil 2 grams of tree bark powder until it reduces to half a glass. Drink this decoction every day for a week.
Banyan is very nutritious and its bark powder and extract both help to strengthen immunity or the body’s ability to fight disease and infections. Medical Research has established that the bark of this tree has many antioxidants that help to repair the oxidative damage and fights free radicals. Consuming bark powder with lukewarm water is thus highly beneficial.
Diarrhoea is caused due to consumption of unhealthy or stale food, drinking unclean water, accumulation of toxins, stress etc. The extract of the Banyan tree and its bark powder is very efficient in treating diarrhoea. They prevent dehydration and treat loose motions. Its astringent qualities make it an effective remedy for this condition.
Keeps Heart healthy
Banyan Bark powder significantly lowers the bad cholesterol levels in the body and maintains the required level of good cholesterol. It prevents heart diseases, heart strokes, palpitations and keeps the heart-healthy.
Other uses and benefits of Banyan
The leaves are used for treating gastrointestinal infections such as dysentery. It has been found that using its extract regularly can help to treat severe constipation since it is rich in fibre. Milk or latex also treats piles or haemorrhoids.
Treats pain and inflammation
Banyan tree extract has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that treat swelling, redness, and pain. It soothes the pain and heals wounds quickly. Its tree leaves extract works similar to morphine and treats arthritis and its symptoms.
Cures Vaginal Infections and infertility
The extract of leaves is particularly useful for treating vaginal infections, especially leucorrhea. Banyan bark powder or crushed leaves are mixed with water to make a natural vaginal wash. Using it daily maintains the ph level of the vagina and prevents all kinds of infections, wetness or dryness.
Consumption of its milk increases sperm count in men, treats premature ejaculation, infertility and impotence.
Treats anxiety and depression
Banyan tree leaves and fruit extract helps to treat numerous neurological issues. Banyan tree fruit is rich in serotonin and helps to treat anxiety, depression, seizures and panic attacks. Medical research has proven that tree extract helps to relax the muscle cells. The bioactive present in the extract boost brain functions, leading to enhanced concentration, attention and memory.
Fights mosquito-borne diseases
Banyan tree leaves have larvicidal qualities and kill the larvae of Culex tritaeniorhynchus and Anopheles subpictus mosquitoes that cause encephalitis and malaria. The methanolic extract of the leaves is sprayed to control mosquito breeding thereby aiding to control the spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
Treats eye swelling, ear problems and nasal bleeding
The tree milk is used for treating corneal opacity and is mixed with a few drops of mustard oil to treat earaches and infections. Its root extract is mixed with buttermilk and a few drops in your nose can stop nasal bleeding. It also helps to treat nausea and vomiting.
Promotes Hair Growth
Ash of its leaves when mixed with linseed oil helps in hair growth and baldness. Mustard oil mixed with leaf extract helps to treat itchy scalp, dandruff and scalp infections. It also gives thick, shiny and long hair.
Precautions/ Side effects
The traditional medicines prepared from extracts of banyan tree bark, leaves, and fruits do not have any significant side effects. However, the effect of it on pregnant or lactating women is not yet clear. So it is advised that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume Banyan in any form.
The banyan tree is highly beneficial and is used in many ayurvedic medicines to treat digestive, renal, skin and mental health issues. It heals wounds, relieves pain, cures diabetes, dysentery and keeps the heart-healthy. It is an amazing tree with abundant medicinal qualities.