Bo tree

Family • Moraceae - Ficus religiosa Linn. - SACRED FIG TREE - Si wei shu

Scientific names

Ficus religiosa Linn.

Common names

Bo tree (Engl.)
Bodhi tree (Engl.)
Buddha tree (India)
Higuera religiosa de la India (Span.)
Peepul tree (Engl.)
Pipal tree (India)
Po tree (Thai.)
Sacred fig tree (Engl.)
Si wei shu (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

BENGALI: Pipal, Pippal. NEPALESE: Peepul, Pipal, Pippal.
BURMESE: Bawdi nyaung, Lagat, Mai nyawng, Nyaung bawdi. ORIYA: Jari.
CHINESE: Si wei shu, Pu ti shu. POLISH: Figowiec swiety
DANISH: Buddhafigen. PUNJABI: Pipal, Pippal.
FRENCH: Arbre bo de, Figuier de l’Inde, Figuier des banians, Figuier des pagodes, Figuier indien, Figuier sacré, Figuier sacré de Bodh-Gaya. SANSKRIT: Ashvathha, Aswattha, Bodhidruma, Bodhivrska, Peepal, Peepul, Pipala, Shuchidruma, Yajnika.
GERMAN: Bobaum, Bo-Baum, Bodhi-Baum, Heiliger Feigenbaum, Pappelfeige, Pepul-Baum, Pepulbaum der Inder. SERBIAN: Indijska smokva, Gumi-lak smokva.
GUJARATI: Jari, Pipal, Pipers, Piplo. SINHALESE: Araca maram, Bo, Bodhi..
HINDI: Pipal, Pipali, Pipli. SPANISH: Arbol sagrado de la India, Higuera de las pagodas, Higuera religiosa de la India, Higuera sagrada de los budistas.
JAPANESE: Indo bodaiju. TAMIL: Aracamaram, Arachu, Aracu, Arali, Arasamaram, Arasi maram, Arasu.
KANNADA: Arali, Arati, Aswatha. TELUGU: Bodhi, Raavi chettu, Ragichettu, Ravi.
KASHMIRI: Bad. THAI: Pho si maha pho, Sali.
KHMER: Pu. URDU: Jori, Peepal, Usto.
MALAYALAM: Arayal, Arei al, Ashwatham.


Ficus religiosa is a large tree, growing to a height of 25 meters, with the trunk reaching a diameter of more than one meter. Leaves are alternate, long-petioled, ovate or heart-shaped, the apex tapered to a tail-like tip, up to 15 centimeters long. Blade is dark shiny green above, pale green below, with slightly undulate margins, Fruits are in pairs, 1.5 centimeters in diameter, and dark purple.

– Introduced to the Philippines in early times.
– Planted in parks and along roads.
– Native to India.

– Plant yields ß-sitosteryl, n-octacosanol, methyl oleanolate, lanosterol, sigmasterol, lupeol.
– Phytochemical studies have isolated phytosterols, amino acids, furanocoumarins, phenolic components, hydrocarbons, aliphatic alcohols, volatile compounds and secondary metabolites.
– Phytochemical study on fruits yielded major constituents of n-Hexadecanoic acid; 9, 12-Octadecadienoic acid; 9, 12, 15-Octadecatrienoic acid, and Butyl 9, 12, 15-octadecatrienoate.
– Stem yielded alkaloids, saponins, tannins, triterpenes, and steroids. GC-MS analysis for bioactive components yielded major chemical constituents of 1,2-Benzenediol (9.85%), Caffeine (4.20%) and Stigmasterol,22,23- dihydro (1.81%).



– Considered astringent, antidiarrheal, antidysenteric, laxative, antiasthmatic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, antidiabetic.
– Leaves considered analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, febrifuge, vulnerary.
– Fruit considered digestive.
– Bark considered vulnerary, anti-inflammatory.

Parts used
Roots, leaves, seeds, bark, fruit, latex.


– No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines.
– Throughout South Asia, ethnomedical uses have been reported for about 50 types of disorders.
– Roots used for gout; chewed to prevent gum disease.
– Leaves used for treating constipation, mumps, abscesses.
– Juice extracted from leaves or powdered leaves used for fevers, wounds, constipation, dysentery, bruises, boils and mumps.
– Paste of leaf applied on wounds and bruises.
– Fruit used as digestive and laxative.
– Roots used to alleviate inflammation. Bark from roots used for low back pain, stomatitis, and ulcers.
– Latex combined with juice of roots to treat various skin diseases, including ringworm, athlete’s foot, and other fungal affections.
– In traditional Indian medicine, bark used as antibacterial, antiprotozoal, antiviral, antidiarrheal. Leaves used for ulcers.
– In Bangladesh, used for cancer, inflammation and infectious diseases.
– In Ayurvedic and Malay traditional medicine, used for treatment of gastric ulcers.
– In India, used for bleeding disorders: hematemesis, hemoptysis, hematuria, menorrhagia, metrorrhagia, epistaxis, and bleeding hemorrhoids.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Sorting Ficus Names /Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1995 – 2020 / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia.

(2) Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus religiosa: a review. / Singh D, Singh B, Goel RK / J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Apr 12;134(3):565-83. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

(3) Exploration of Healing Promoting Potentials of Roots of Ficus religiosa / Krishna Murti, Vijay Lambole, Vipul Gajera and Mayank Panchal / Pharmacologia, Vol 2 No 12, Pp 374-378, 2011 / DOI: 10.5567/pharmacologia.2011.374.378

(4) Experimental Studies of Ficus religiosa (L) latex for preventive and curative effect against cisplatin induced nephrotoxicity in wistar rats / Yogesh Chang Yadav, D N Srivastava, Vipin Saini et al / J. Chem. Pharm. Res., 2011, 3(1):621-627

(5) Anticonvulsant effect of Ficus religiosa: role of serotonergic pathways / Singh D, Goel RK. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jun 22;123(2):330-4. Epub 2009 Mar 9.

(6) Bronchospasm potentiating effect of methanolic extract of Ficus religiosa fruits in guinea pigs. / Ahuja D, Bijjem KR, Kalia AN. / J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jan 27;133(2):324-8. Epub 2010 Oct 23.

(7) Bodhi Tree / Wikipedia

(8) Sri Lanka Society & Culture : Customs, Rituals & Traditions / Virtual Library Sri Lanka

(9) Phytopharmacology of Ficus religiosa / S. B. Chandrasekar, M. Bhanumathy, and T. Somasundaram / Pharmacogn Rev. 2010, Jul-Dec; 4(8): 195-199

(10) The Aqueous Extract of Ficus religiosa Induces Cell Cycle Arrest in Human Cervical Cancer Cell Lines SiHa (HPV-16 Positive) and Apoptosis in HeLa (HPV-18 Positive) / Amit S. Choudhari, Snehal A. Suryavanshi, Ruchika Kaul-Ghanekar / PLOS/one / DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0070127

(11) Pharmacognostical and Phytochemical studies of the fruits of Ficus religiosa / *Sharma R. K., Goyal A. K., Yadav S. K., Bhat R. A. / Int. J. Drug Dev. & Res., October -December 2013, 5 (4): 211-213

(12) ANTIDIABETIC POTENTIAL OF METHNOLIC BARK EXTRACT OF FICUS RELIGIOSA L. IN STREPTOZOTOCIN-INDUCED DIABETIC RATS / Nishant Verma, Dharmendra Kumar, Amrendra Kr Chaudhary, Ranjit Singh, Sachin Tyagi / International Journal of Biopharmaceutical & Toxicological Research,
Vol 2, Issue 1, Jan-2012

(13) GC-MS ANALYSIS OF BIOACTIVE COMPONENTS OF FICUS RELIGIOSA (LINN.) STEM / M.S. MANORENJITHA*, A.K. NORITA, S. NORHISHAM AND M.Z. ASMAWI / International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences, 2013 Apr; 4(2): (P) 99 – 103

(14) Study of anti ulcer activity of Ficus religiosa L. on experimentally induced gastric ulcers in rats / Sarmistha Saha, Gagan Goswami / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, Volume 3, Issue 10, October 2010, Pages 791–793 / DOI: 10.1016/S1995-7645(10)60189-7

(15) Wound Healing Potential of Leaf Extracts of Ficus Religiosa on Wistar albino strain rats / Kalyon Roy*, H. Shivakumar, Sibaji Sarkar / International Journal of PharmTech Research, Vol.1, No.3, pp 506-508 , July-Sept 2009

(16) Thin layer chromatographic studies and evaluation of analgesic activity of Ficus religiosa leaf extracts in mice / Ghosh Raka, Mondal Suvankar, Bhattacharya Sanjib*and Biswas Moulisha / Journal of Pharmaceutical Science (2012), 1(7): 443-445

(17) Phytopharmacological evaluation and anti-asthmatic activity of Ficus religiosa leaves / Megha Kapoor, Nidhi Jasani, Niyati Acharya, Sanjeev Acharya, Vimal Kumar* / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (2011) 642-644 / doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)80163-6


(19) The Effect of Ficus Religiosa Chloroform Extract on Suppression of Acquired Docetaxel Resistance in Prostate Cancer / Niran A. Ibrahim, Nahi Y. Yaseen, Khulood W. Abbood, Moses S. Chow, Zhijun Wang / Iraqi Journal of Cancer and Medical Genetics, Volume 6 – Number 2 – 2013

(20) A study on adsorption of chromium (VI) ions from aqueous solution by Ficus religiosa leaves as adsorbent/
R. Gayathri*, M. Thirumarimurugan and T. Kannadasan / Pelagia Research Library Der Chemica Sinica, 2013, 4(3):79-87

(21) Hepatoprotective activity of Ficus religiosa leaves against isoniazid+rifampicin and paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity / Sundaramoorthi Angala Parameswari, Challa Madhusudhana Chetty, Kothapalli Bannoth Chandrasekhar / Pharmacognosy Research, 2013, Vol 5, Issue 4, pp 271-276.

(22) Standardization and Antimicrobial Activity of Ficus religiosa Linn. / Jagtap Supriya, Gahankari Harshita / International Research Journal of Pharmacy, 2013, 4(7).

(23) An experimental study to evaluate the hypoglycemic and anti-inflammatory effect of Ficus religiosa and its comparison with glibenclamide / Rathi Priyanka, Nath Rajendra, Pant, K. K., Natu, S. M., Dixit, R. K., Sachan, A. K. and Katiyar, D. K. / International Journal of Current Research

(24) Cardioprotective effects of Ficus religiosa in neonatal streptozotocin-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy in rats / Raman Sharma ⁎ , Ashok Kumar, Bharatur Parthasarathy Srinivasan, Anisha Chauhan, Kiran Dubey /
Biomedicine and Aging Pathology, Volume 4, n° 1, pages 53-58 / DOI : 10.1016/j.biomag.2013.10.008

(25) Evaluation of antidiabetic activity of leaves and fruits of Ficus religiosa Linn. / Sheetal Choudhary *, Anupam Kumar Pathak, Sonali Khare and Sarita Kushwah / INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PHARMACY & LIFE SCIENCES, 2(12): Dec., 2011

– Buddhist Ritual: Considered a sacred tree by the Hindus and Buddhists. Bodhi Puja, the veneration of the Bodhi-tree has been a popular and widespread ritual in Sri Lanka. Lord Buddha believed people of other faiths who lead meritorious lives would be reborn in low or high spiritual plains. Beings of low spiritual plain take refuge in Bo trees where they may grant relief to those offering Bodhi Puja or accept merit offered to them and get elevated in the spiritual world.

Study Findings
• Phytochemistry / Pharmacology: Studies have isolated phytosterols, amino acids, furanocoumarins, phenolic components, hydrocarbons, aliphatic alcohols, volatile components and few other classes of secondary metabolites. Fresh plant materials, crude extracts and various components showed a wide spectrum of in vitro and in vivo pharmacological activities – antidiabetic, cognitive enhancement, wound healing, anti-convulsant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiasthmatic, immunomodulatory, antitumor, antiulcer, among many others.
• Wound Healing / Roots: Root extracts of Ficus religiosa in the form of ointment promoted wound-healing activity, a 10% formulation showed better activity than a 5% concentration.
• Anti-Ulcer: Study of ethanol extract of stem-bark against in vivo indomethacin- and stress-induced gastric ulcer significantly reduced the ulcer index in all assays used, reduced gastric juice volume, and free and total acidities.  Study evaluated a hydroalcoholic extract of leaves in rats against absolute ethanol, aspirin, and pyloric ligation induced gastric ulcer, with Ranitidine as standard drug. Results showed significant decrease in ulcer index value.
• Nephroprotective / Cisplatin Induced Toxicity: Study of methanolic extract of F. religiosa latexagainst cisplatin-induced nephrotoxicity showed nephroprotective and curative activity.
• Antidiabetic: Study of aqueous extract of bark in normal, glucose-loaded hyperglycemic and STZ-induced diabetic rats exhibited significant antidiabetic activity. There was significant reduction of blood sugar in all models. There was significant anti-lipidperoxidative effect in the pancreas of STZ-induced diabetic rats.  A methanolic extract of F. religiosa exhibited significant anti-hyperglycemic activity in STZ-induced rats. The antidiabetic activity may be due to phenolic compounds and flavonoids. Study evaluated the hypoglycemic and anti-inflammatory effects of FR with its comparison to glibenclamide. Results showed effective and dose dependent curative effect against hyperglycemia and elevated TNF-α in the tested doses. The favorable modulation of cytokine TNF-α may be responsible for the potent anti-diabetic effect. Ethanolic extract of fruit showed pronounced antidiabetic activity at a dosage of 250 mg/kbw.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Immunomodulatory: Study of aqueous extract of F. religiosa showed modulation of cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and indicates that the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties are related to its potential antidiabetic activity.
• Anthelmintic: The latex of three Ficus spp. (F. religiosa, F. elastica, F. bengalensis) were investigated for its anthelmintic activity against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Metronidazole was used as reference drug. All three possess anthelmintic activity but F. religiosa showed more activity.
• Anticonvulsant: Methanolic extract of figs of F. religiosa exhibited dose-dependent anticonvulsant activity against MES and picrotoxin-induced convulsions, with no neurotoxic effects. Inhibition of the anticonvulsant effect by cyproheptadine suggests the involvement of serotonergic pathways in the anticonvulsant activity.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Mast Cell Protective Effect: An aqueous extract of the bark showed significant anti-inflammatory effect in both acute and chronic models of inflammation. It also showed protection of mast cells from degranulation induced by various degranulators. These effect might explain the beneficial effects observed in kumkum dermatitis and other inflammatory conditions.
• Antioxidant: Various extracts showed considerable inhibition of DPPH free radical formation. Results indicate the antioxidant property may be due to phenolic compounds.
• Bronchospasm Potentiating Effect: Study results showed F. religiosa fruits was ineffective against histamine-induced bronchospasm in guinea pigs. In addition, the methanolic extract of fruits was showed potentiation of bronchospasm induced by histamine and acetylcholine on guinea pig tracheal chain preparation.
• Chemopreventive / Cervical Cancer: Study reports the anti-neoplastic potential of aqueous extract of F. religiosa bark in human cervical cancer cell lines. In HeLa. FRaq induced apoptosis through an increase in intracellular Ca2+ leading to loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome-c and increase in expression of caspase-3. These and other data suggest a chemopreventive potential in cervical cancer.
• Phytoconstituents / Fruits: Phytochemical study on fruits yielded major constituents of n-Hexadecanoic acid; 9, 12-Octadecadienoic acid; 9, 12, 15-Octadecatrienoic acid, and Butyl 9, 12, 15-octadecatrienoate. In an earlier study on Vitex altissima, these phytoconstituents were shown to have significant biologic activities.
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of leaf extracts of F. religiosa prepared in ointment form on excision and incision wound models on Wistar albino rats. Results showed significant promotion of wound healing activity in all the wound models, with a high rate of wound contraction, decrease in period of epithelisation, high skin breaking strength. The 10% form showed better results than the 5% concentration.
• Analgesic / Leaves: Study evaluated different solvent extracts of leaf for analgesic potential by acetic acid induced writhing assay in Swiss albino mice. All the test extracts showed significant analgesic activity, with the methanol extract being most potent.
• Anti-Asthmatic / Leaves: An in vivo study evaluated aqueous extracts of leaves for broncho-protective activity in guinea pigs. Administration of AEFRL produced significant effect on latency to develop histamine and acetycholine induced pre-convulsive dyspnea. Results also showed significant increase in the number of intact cells in the mast cell stabilizing model.
• Biosorption / Nickel: Study investigated the pollutant binding capacity of acid treated Ficus religiosa leaves. Results showed the biosorbent is an attractive low cost alternative for treatment of wastewater containing lower concentrations of nickel.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Anti-Lipid Peroxidation / Stem Bark: Study investigated a methanol extract of stem bark in Wistar albino rats and Swiss albino mice showed anti-inflammatory effect with significant inhibition of carrageenan-induced rat paw edema; significant analgesic effect with inhibition of acetic acid induced writhing; and significant anti-lipid peroxidant effects in vitro.
• Hepatoprotective / Stem Bark: Stem-bark powder extract was investigated against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Silymarin was used as standard drug. Results showed significant hepatoprotective activity, with the methanolic extract showed greater activity.
• Anti-Cancer Effect / Stem Bark: Study investigated the cytotoxic effect of F. religiosa chloroform extract on genes expression in inhibition differentiation pathway on prostate cancer cells resistant to docetaxel (PC3-TxR) in vitro. Results showed an anticancer effect of FR chloroform extract which target Id pathway on PC3-TxR cells.
• Adsorption / Chromium / Leaves: Study evaluated the chromium (Cr) removal capacity from aqueous solution using Ficus religiosa leaves. Results showed activated Ficus religiosa leaves can be used as efficient adsorbent for Cr removal from waste water. However, further research is needed for large scale removal.
• Hepatoprotective / INH+Rifampin and Paracetamol Induced Toxicity: Study of a methanolic extract of F. religiosa showed hepatoprotective activity against isoniazid-rifampicin and paracetamol induced oxidative liver injury in rats.
• Effect on Glycemic Index / Leaves and Bark: Study showed supportive scientific evidence that Ficus religiosa leaves and bark powder based food products possess significant lowering effect in glucose level, showing low glycemic index and glycemic load. Study speculates that addition of 10% leaves in the recipe may increase the insulin which affects digestion of carbohydrates to produce the hypoglycemic effects.
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated leaves for in-vitro antimicrobial activity on two strains of microorganisms: E. coli and S. aureus. The extracts were more potent on S. aureus, and the water extract showed better activity than the methanol extract.
• Cardioprotective / Leaves: Study evaluated FR in STZ-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy in rats. Results showed significant improvement in diabetic markers, oxidative stress, inflammatory and cardiac markers, possible mediated through control of diabetes, modulation of oxidative marker and cytokine (TGF-ß1, TNFα).