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What is a Banyan Tree?

Banyan trees can be large and sprawling, with multiple secondary trunks.
Banyan trees are native to India.
Banyan tree sap can be used to treat bruises.
Roots ans sap of the banyan tree can be used to treat toothaches.
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  • Written By: Shannon Kietzman
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2014
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A banyan tree, native to India and part of the mulberry family, is an enormous tree with many uses and a vast history. Young plants put forth roots, which form secondary trunks to support the expansive limbs. These trunks send out more roots until they crowd out the host tree.

The leaves of the banyan tree are large, leathery, and used as animal fodder. The tree produces figs which are popular with birds and monkeys, and also produces flowers that attract wasps for pollination. Older trees can reach more than 200 meters (656 feet) in diameter, with a height of 30 meters (98 feet).

While native to India, banyan trees exist throughout South Asia. They are frequently planted near homes, temples, villages, and roadsides. In most villages, this type of tree provides a meeting place for the community. People gather in its shade to relax, discuss issues, and make decisions. In fact, the name banyan is derived from merchants called Banias, who rested under the trees to discuss their strategies. Alexander the Great is also said to have camped under a banyan tree that was large enough to shelter his army of 7,000 men.

Banyan trees have a variety of uses. They produce a special type of rubber, and their sticky milk is used in gardening. In the Nepal region, the milky sap is used for polishing copper and brass.

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The wood and bark of the banyan tree are suitable for making paper, and the roots are often used to make ropes to secure wood bundles. The women in Nepal crush the tree's roots with a paste to create a hair and skin conditioner. This tree is also used to produce shellac, which is widely used as an adhesive and surface-finisher in the industrial world.

The banyan tree is also used for medicinal purposes. The sap treats external skin inflammations and bruising. The bark and seeds are used as a tonic to cool the body, as well as to treat patients with diabetes. The roots and sap are used to treat skin ulcers, dysentery, and toothaches. Twigs of the banyan tree are sold as toothpicks in India and Pakistan to promote dental health.

The banyan tree, considered sacred and representative of eternal life, is also a human symbol. In contemporary India, it is the national tree. Its linked roots and branches are sometimes used to symbolize the country's unity.

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Discuss this Article

anon351785
Post 15

Banyan (ficus benghalensis) extract helps hair growth.

anon351697
Post 14

Super. And now I want Banyan tree seeds for multiplication on my Kenyan farm.

anon205237
Post 11

Yes it is true that it can heal diseases. This was the discussion from our orientation last sunday.

anon162701
Post 10

Where would I find a banyan tree near Middletown, Ct. or in the vicinity? I have to water it for 43 days for spiritual reasons. Please help. Thank you.

anon148256
Post 8

i want to know about the uses of banyan tree in points.

anon138893
Post 7

how we can make oil from banyan roots?

anon125209
Post 6

it sounds like a very interesting tree.

anon112354
Post 5

I don't know the exact composition but it's very good for azoospermic and increases sperm in semen.

anon82926
Post 4

which trees' roots fall from top to bottom?

anon80867
Post 3

are the banyan leaves of any use during this season? they fall so frequently that leaves a carpet of leaves every few hours! GS Chowdhary

anon64208
Post 2

My brother worked for a landscaping company 20 years ago and brought home a little tree in a pot. I was drawn to this tree and asked if I could have it. That was 20 years ago. I planted it in 1996 at the first home I bought that God led me too.

I tonight just was told that the tree I was drawn to wasn't a rubber tree as I thought, but a Banyan tree. I planted him in 1996 when i bought this home. I would use bungee cords to intertwine the branches. I thought the time I spent with him was my own doing. Ha Ha. Well we both made a place together in this lifetime.

I would clean up the leaves that had fallen within the root system, thinking I want the fairies not to be hindered in getting inside to rest. Well I thought this before I knew I had a Banyan Tree. What joy I feel to have such a spiritual tree that I carried around for a short time before I planted him.

And the time I spent with the branches that came out. I need this positive energy. I am so happy. God loves me so much. My thoughts are in alignment when there is no logical meaning behind them. God loves me so much. I feel so privileged to be open to the nature of life. Cheryl F.

anon10744
Post 1

what is the composition of banyan tree milk?

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