PHARMACOGNOSTIC, PHYTOCHEMICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITY STUDIES OF ‘FICUS RELIGIOSA'
Vemavarapu Satish kumar*, Shahin1 , Saarangi Ramesh2
*IPQC team member at GRANULES INDIA LIMITED, M.Pharmacy (pharmaceutics) Deevena college of pharmacy.
1Shadan women’s college of pharmacy. khairtabad, Hyderabad. A.P
2asst.prof.pharmaceutical chemistry, Prasad institute of pharmaceutical sciences. jangaon, warangal. A.P
1 GEOGRAPHICAL SETTING
1.1 Ficus religiosa
Origin of the tree is not really known to anybody, but, there are also some interesting legends associated with the Peepal tree. The peepal is the first-known depicted tree in India. A seal discovered at MohenjDaro, one of the cities of the Indus Valley Civilisation (c. 3000 BC - 1700 BC), shows the peepal being worshipped. Excavations are suggestive of the fact that even in those times; the peepal tree was worshipped by Hindus.
Peepal is native from India to southeast Asia and it is found wild and cultivated upto 5000 feet. Ficus religiosa is cultivated in various tropical areas of the world. It is grown in southern California, Florida and Hawaii, Homestead and Miami in the United States.
Regardless of its origin, the tree needs lots of space, and the soil must be deep enough to let the roots grow down a long way. It is a large tree of about 20 m. heights with a well developed crown. It can grow in a wide variety of soils and it grows in a sub tropical climate with hot summers and frost during the monsoon season.
REFERENCE ID: PHARMATUTOR-ART-1920
1.2 The peepal Tree
Peepal tree is one of the most familiar trees in India. It grows very fast. The roots are attached to the trunk as if they are pillars supporting it. The trunk of the tree is irregularly shaped with low buttresses. Its bark is light gray and peels in patches. This is a tree that reaches very large proportions and it is the largest of our indigenous fig trees. In its younger stages it is often epiphytic, that is, it grows on other trees, which are gradually strangled by its rope-like roots. Or the tree may grow in cracks on walls, which are slowly but inexorably cracked and split open by the growing roots. The Peepal tree in Sri Lanka is believed to be 2147 years old. It is one of the longest living trees of the world. The peepal is resistant to drought and frost.
The leaves and young branches are smooth, shiny, somewhat leathery, and broadly oval in shape and suddenly narrowed at the apex into a long tail and the base is rounded or heart-shaped. The leaf has a solid middle nerve, which deserves attention. In addition there are 5—9 lateral pairs which unite at their ends to form a wavy line near the margin of the leaf. The leaves are generally pendulous, that is, hanging down. The long pointed leaf tips help to drain water off the leaves and dry the tree after rainfall. They are shed in March and April and in some areas in the autumn months. When the new leaves appear they are often pink and darken to copper and then green in colour.
The flowers are hidden within the figs. Figs come out in pairs at the angle between the leaf stalk and the branch; at first they are green and smooth, finally they turn purple when ripe; each fig contains a few male flowers near the opening at the apex; each flower consists of a single stamen supported by three minute colourless ‘petals’. The female flower consists of five ‘petals’ enclose a pistil.
The fruits are known as figs. These figs ripen in May and June generally, but one can find this fruit throughout the year depending on the areas. The fig wasp is a visitor to these fruits as well as the Banyan figs. Birds and bats are rather fond of the Peepal fruit and the seeds pass out undigested and are scattered all over the country and start growing from a gutter or the wall of a house. Under conditions of sufficient moisture, such seeds germinate in the most unlikely places. The tiny plant gets all its food from the air and water but uses the wall or gutter as a support.
1.3 common names in various languages
Typical shape of the leaf of the Ficus Religiosa
The Ficus religiosa tree is known by a wide range of vernacular names in different locales and languages, including:
1.4 nomenclature & classification
The peepal tree belongs to the Moraceae commonly known as fig family – one of the most well-known members of the plant families. It belongs to the dicot order. Members of the genus Ficus are usually treated as separate tribe within the family Moraceae because of their unique inflorescence and wasp-dependent system of pollination. There are about 40 genera and 1000 species that have been described in this family, nearly all with milky sap and mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions, less common in temperate climates. Ficus religiosa Linn. is the Latin name or binomial name of peepal tree.
This tree which reaches very large proportions; it is in fact about the largest of our indigenous fig trees. Peepal grows in northern and central India, in forests and alongside water. It is also widely cultivated throughout the subcontinent and south-east Asia, especially in the vicinity of the temples.
Species: F. religiosa
Binomial name: Ficus religiosa
Found In: Ranthambore Wildlife Sanctuary
1.5 taxonomy & morphology
Latin name: Ficus religiosa L
Synonyms: None known.
Common names: Bo tree, beepul tree, sacred tree
Nomenclature: This sacred tree is associated with Buddha and is planted beside temples, hence the species name, religiosa.
"Small tree, or taller strangling climber, with wide-spreading branches, semi- or fully deciduous in monsoon climates, and broadly ovate, glossy, leathery, dark green leaves, 5- 7 in (12-18 cm) long, with unusual tail-like tips. Bears pairs of rounded, flat-topped green figs, to 1/2 in (1.5 cm) across, ripening to purple with red dots" .
Morphology and microscopy
F. religiosa is a large deciduous tree with few or no aerial roots. It is often epiphytic with the drooping branches bearing long petioled, ovate, cordate shiny leaves. Leaves are bright green, the apex produced into a linear-lanceolate tail about half as long as the main portion of the blade. The receptacles occurring in pairs and are axillary, depressed globose, smooth and purplish when ripe. The bark is flat or slightly curved, varying from 5 to 8 mm in thickness, outer surface is grey or ash with thin or membranous flakes and is often covered with crustose lichen brown or ash coloured, surface has shallow irregular vertical fissures and uneven due to exfoliation of cork, inner surface smooth, yellowish to orange brown and fibrous.
An external features of bark of F. religiosa showed that bark differentiated into outer thick periderm and inner secondary phloem. Periderm is differentiated into phellem and phelloderm. Phellem zone is 360 mm thick and it is wavy and uneven in transection. Phellem cells are organized into thin tangential membranous layers and the older layers exfoliate in the form of thin membranes. The phelloderm zone is broad and distinct. Phelloderm cells are turned into lignified sclereids. Secondary phloem differentiated into inner narrow non-collapsed zone and outer broad collapsed zone. Non-collapsed zone consists of radial files of sieve tube members, axial parenchyma, and gelatinous fibres. Outer collapsed phloem has dilated rays, crushed obliterated sieve tube members, thick walled and lignified fibres, and abundant tannin filled parenchyma cells. Laticifers are fairly abundant in the outer secondary phloem zone. Phloem rays are both uniseriate and multiseriate.
Physical constants: Total ash 7.86 % w/w, acid insoluble ash 0.41 % w/w, alcohol soluble
Extract 7.21 % w/w and water soluble extractive 15.76 % w/w.
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