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Ficus benghalensis Linn

Synonyms

No documentation

Vernacular Names:

Malaysia Bayan
Thailand Sai
India Nyagrodha, Vata, Bahupaada (Ayurveda); Darkht-e-reesh, Bargad (Unani); Ali (Siddha)
English Banyan  [1] [2]

General Information

Description

Ficus benghalensis is a member of the Moraceae family. It is a large tree which can reach up tp 30 m high with spreading branches bearing aerial roots. The bark is greenish white in colour. The young bark is smooth with longitudinal and transverse rows of lenticels while in older barks the lenticels are numerous and closely spaced. The fresh cut-surface is pink and exudes plenty of latex while the innermost part is nearly white and fibrous. The leaves are simple, alternate and usually clusters at ends of branchs. They are stipulate, broadly elliptic to ovate, entire, coriaceous, strongly ribbed from base and measures 10 – 20 cm long and 5 – 12.5 cm wide. The fruit receptacles are axillary, sessile, in paris, globose, brick-red when ripe. Within them lies the male, female and gall flowers.  The fruits are small, crustaceous achenes enclosed in the common fleshy receptacles. [3]

Plant Part Used

Bark and Leaves, latex, fruit. [2] [3]

Chemical Constituents

Beta-sitosterol; caoutchouc; ester of si-taraxasterol; friedelin; leucoanthocyanidin; leucoanthocyanin; leucopelargonidin-3-O-alpha-L-rhamnoside; quercetin-3-galactoside; resins; rutin; tiglic acid. [2]

Traditional Used:

Actions attributed to F. benghalensis by traditional practitioners include it being astringent, haemostatic, and anti-inflammatory. It is also considered to be acrid, sweet, refrigerant, anodyne, vulnerary, depurative, anti-inflammatory, ophthalmic, styptic, antiarthritic, diaphoretic, antidiarrhoeal, antiemetic and tonic. [2] [3] 

Inflammatory diseases 

The leaves of F. benghalensis is good for promoting the healing of ulcers, abscesses and leprosy. The bark also helps in promoting healing of ulcers, skin diseases and gonorrhea. The latex is useful in the treatment of neuralgia, rheumatism, lumbago, bruises, nasitis, odontopathy, haemorrhoids, gonorrhea, inflammations, cracks of the sole and skin diseases. The aerial roots has been applied topically in cases of acne vulgaris. [2] [3] [4]  

Women’s Disease

The bark and leaves are used in the treatment of vaginal disorders, leucorrhoea, menorrhagia and deficient lactation. They are also believed to promote fertility and cure debility. The decoction of the bark or of the aerial roots is used to treat leucorrhoea and other forms of vaginal discharge. For infertility the leaf-bud had been prescribed. [2] [3] 

Other uses

The bark and leaves had been used to treat diabetes mellitus, diarrhea and dysentery. To check diarrhea Charaka prescribed aqueous extract of leaf-buds mixed with sugar and honey. For haemorrhages and bleeding piles, milk processed with the aerial roots or leaf-buds were prescribed. The decoction of leaf-buds or aerial roots with honey helps check vomiting and relieve thirst. Infusion of the bark helps in seminal weakness, nervous disorders, and burning sensation of the skin.  [2] [3] [4]

Pre-Clinical Data

Pharmacology

Antidiabetic activity

Ficus benghalensis was amongst the plants included in a comparative study to evaluate the hypoglycaemic activity of Indian medicinal plants in alloxan diabetic rats. It was found that the crude ethanolic extract of the plant exhibit significant antidiabetic activity. [5] 

Antioxidant activity

Panchvalkala, an Ayurvedic preparation, has F. benghalensis bark as one of its components. The study on the preparation and its component herbs individually showed significant antiradical activity with good superoxide scavenging potential ranging from 41.55 to 73.56 microg). [6] 

Immunomodulatory activity

The aqueous extract of the aerial roots of F. benghalensis showed immunostimulant activity in SRBC induced hypersentivity reaction and haemagglutination reactions in rats. It also significantly increase the percentage of phagocytosis by human neutrophils in vitro. This proves that the aqueous extract of the aerial roots exhibited both cell mediated and antibody mediated immune response. [7]

Wound healing activity

Aqueous and ethanolic extracts of roots of F. benghalensis were evaluated for their wound healing activity. Results showed that they were able to increase the breaking strength, decrease the period of epithelialization, increase percentage of wound contraction and increase hyroxyproline content significantly. Between the two, the aqueous extracts seems to be better. [8] [9]

Toxicities

No documentation

Teratogenic effects

No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

No documentation

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation

Geriatrics

No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation

Interactions

Interactions with drugs

Caution should be exercised by diabetics on medication when taking products containing parts of F. benghalensis. [10]

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation

Contraindictions

Contraindications

No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation

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  1) Botanical Info

References

1. Burkill IH. A Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 1966. 1020 – 1021
2. Khare CP. Indian Herbal Remedies: Rational Western Therapy, Ayurvedic and Other Springer-Verlag, Berlin .2004. 216 – 218
3. Warrier PK, Nambiar C, Ramankutty. Indian Medicinal Plants: A Compendium of 500 species Volume 3 Orient Longman, Hyderbad. 2004.20 – 23
4. Khare CP. Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. 2007. 264
5. Kar A, Choudhary BK, Bandyopadhyay NG. Comparative evaluation of hypoglycaemic activity of some Indian medicinal plants in alloxan diabetic rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Jan;84(1):105-8.
6. Anandjiwala S, Bagul MS, Parabia M, Rajani M. Evaluation of free radical scavenging activity of an ayurvedic formulation, panchvalkala. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2008 Jan;70(1):31-5. 
7. Khan T, Tatke P, Gabhe SY. Immunological studies on the aerial roots of the Indian banyan. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2008 May-Jun;70(3):287-91. 
8. Murti K, Kumar U, Panchal M. Healing promoting potentials of roots of Ficus benghalensis L. in albino rats. Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011 Nov;4(11):921-4. 
9. Garg VK, Paliwal SK. Wound-healing activity of ethanolic and aqueous extracts of Ficus benghalensis. J Adv Pharm Technol Res. 2011 Apr;2(2):110-4. 
10. Vardhana R. Direct uses of Medicinal Plants and their Identification Sarup & Sons New Delhi. 2008.149

 

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