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Bar or Bargad Ficus benghalensis L.

Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India
pankaj.oudhia@usa.net
www.pankajoudhia.com

Copyright © 2004. All Rights Reserved. Quotation from this document should cite and acknowledge the contributor.

Scientific name: Ficus benghalensis L.
Synonyms: Ficus indica L
Family: Moraceae.
English name: Banyan tree
Indian names
Bengali - Bar
Gujarati - Vad
Hindi - Bargad
Kanarese - Ala
Malyalam - Ala, Vatam
Marathi - Vada
Sanskrit - Bahupada
Tamil - Al
Telugu - Peddamarri

Habitat: Monsoon and rain forests. Often planted throughout the forest tract of India. Hardy, drought resistance and withstands mild frost.

Botanical Description: Very large, fast growing, evergreen tree up to 3.0 meters, with spreading branches and many aerial roots. Leaves stalked, ovate-cordate, 3-nerved, entire, when young downy on both sides; petiole with a broad smooth greasy gland at the apex, compressed, downy; Fruit in axillary pairs, the size of a cherry, round and downy.

Propagation: Through seed, transplanting and stem-cutting.

Useful Parts: Bark, root-fibers, leaves, seeds, milky juice (i.e. latex).

Medicinal Uses and Properties: According to Ayurveda, it is astringent to bowels; useful in treatment of biliousness, ulcers, erysipelas, vomiting, vaginal complains, fever, inflammations, leprosy. According to Unani system of medicine, its latex is aphrodisiac, tonic, vulernary, maturant, lessens inflammations; useful in piles, nose-diseases, gonorrhea etc. The aerial root is styptic, useful in syphilis, biliousness, dysentery, inflammation of liver etc.

Other Uses
It is planted for soil conservation
Timber is used for well-curbs, furniture etc.
Suitable for paper pulp.
Leaf (Crude protein 9.63%) lopped for fodder
Fruits are used to prepare Shurbut traditionally.

Other Links
Doomar or Gular (Ficus glomerata) as medicinal herb in Chhattisgarh, India
http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/127_doomar.html

Interactions with the traditional healers of Chhattisgarh Plains, India specialized in use of Bar (Ficus benghalensis, family: Moraceae) as medicinal herb
http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/141_bar.html

Interactions with the traditional healers of Chhattisgarh Plains, India, specialized in use of Pipal (Ficus religiosa) as medicine
http://botanical.com/site/column_poudhia/142_pipal.html

Resource Person:
Pankaj Oudhia
Society for Parthenium Management (SOPAM)
28-A, Geeta Nagar, Raipur - 492001 India
pankaj.oudhia@usa.net
www.celestine-india.com/pankajoudhia

Table 1. Major species of Ficus in India.

Species Synonyms Common names
Ficus auriculata F. roxburghii; F. macrophylla

English - Eve's Apron
Hindi - Timla, Tirmal

Ficus benghalensis F. indica English - Banyan
Hindi - Barh, Bargad
Ficus benjamina var. comosa F. comosa  
Ficus carica   English - Fig
Hindi - Anjeer
Ficus glomerata F. goolereea; Covellia glomerata English - Cluster fig
Hindi Gular
Chhattisgarh - Doomar
Ficus hispida   Hindi - Kathumbar, Konea - dumbar.
Ficus krishnae   English - Krishna's Fig, Krishna's butter cup
Hindi - Makhan Katori
Ficus lucescens F. lacor; F. infectoria Hindi-Pilkhan, Plaksha.
Ficus microcarpa F. retusa; F. benjamina Hindi - Chilkan
Ficus palmata F. virgata; F. caricoides Hindi - Anjiri, Khat Guleri
Ficus religiosa Urostigma religiosum English-Bo-tree
Hindi - Pipal, Asvattha
Ficus rumphii F. cordifolia; Urostigma cordifolium Hindi - Gagjaira, Pakar
Ficus semicordata F. cunia Hindi - Khewanua
Ficus tsjakela F. venosa Hindi - Pilkhan
Ficus virens var. sublannceolata F. Saxophila var. sublanceolata  
Ficus virens F. infectoria var. lambertiana Hindi - Pilkhan
Ficus altissima    

Table 2. Major differences in three major species of Ficus

  Ficus benghalensis Ficus religiosa Ficus carica
Common Indian names
Gujrati Vad, Vadlo Jari, Pipers, Pipal Anjir
Hindi Bar, Bargad, Bargat Pipal, Pipali Anjir
Kanarese Ala, Alada, Goli, Vata, Nyagrodha Arani, Ashwatha mara, Pippala, Ragi Anjura, Simeyam
Marathi Vad Pimpal Anjir
Sanskrit Avaroha, Bahupada, Bhringi, Jatalo, Vat Ashvatha, Bodhidruma, Pippala, Shuchidruma, Vrikshraj, yajnika Kakodomar, Anjir
Botanical Differences
General Plant Large evergreen tree with spreading branches, sending down to the ground many aerial roots, which afterwords develop into separate trunks. A medium sized, glabrous tree A small tree or large bush. Branches round, green or resset, covered with a coarse shortdown
Leaves Coriaceous, 10-20x5-12.5 cm, ovate to elliptic, cordate or rounded base, shining above. 10-15x10-12 cm, ovate-round, entire, coriaceous, shining, apex long tailed. Rough on the upper side coarsely downy beneath, cordate, 3-5 lobed or almost entire, coarsely sirrated
Fruit Globose, with male, female and gall flowers. Receptacles sessile, paired, smooth, depressed, globose, dark purple when ripe. Solitary, axillary, more or less pear shaped or almost round, sweet, succulent and pleasant to the taste.
Medicinal Uses and Properties
Ayurveda Astringent to bowels; useful in treatment of biliousness, ulcers, erysipelas, vomiting, vaginal complaints, fever, inflammations, leprosy etc. All parts cooling and useful in diseases of blood, vagina, uterus, leucorrhoea, burning sensation, biliousness, ulcers Ripe fruits are alexipharmic, good for foul taste, thirst, heart disease, Root good for sout whereas rooot bark good in stomatitis. Fruit cooling, useful in diseases of head and blood, leprosy, nose bleed etc.
Unani Its milky juice is aphrodisiac, tonic, vulnerary, maturant, lessens inflammations, useful in piles, nose-diseases, gonorrhoea. Root bark aphrodisiac, good for lumbago; bark useful in inflammations and glandular swellings of neck; Fruits purgative, aphrodisiac, checks vomiting. Roos tonic and useful in leucoderma, ringworm; Fruit antipyretic, purgative, alexiteric, aphrodisiac, lithotriptic, useful in inflammation, weakness, paralysis, thirst, liver and spleen diseases, pain in chest etc. Milky juice expectorant, iuretic, etc.