The peepal or Bohdi tree is native to India and sacred to the Hindus and Buddhists. Tradition says that the founder of Buddhism, Siddhartha Gautama, sat under Bohdi tree and experienced enlightment. Hindus believe that the Hindu god Vishnu was born under this tree. The leaves have been used for curing wounds and treating a variety of conditions for hundreds of years. Before the invention of paper, the leaves of the peepal were used for writing and art. Indian artists use dried leaves for painting because of the beautiful fan shape of the leaves. Additionally, peepal leaves and bark are used for treating leather.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Peepal leaves
Dry the leaf and powder it by grinding in a mortar and pestle until it is a fine powder. Add equal parts of anise seed or powder and jaggery, a raw brown sugar made from palm sap, to the powder and mix. Drink one glass of the mixture slowly to relieve constipation. Repeat as needed.
Mix equal parts of fresh, chopped peepal leaf with ground coriander and sugar to treat dysentery. Chew the mix slowly.
Smear the leaf with ghee, a clarified butter with a high smoking point, and heat slowly over a low flame to treat mumps, inflammation, boils and minor skin ailments. Wrap the leaf around the affected skin and bandage. Repeat daily until the inflammation or infection is gone.
Hold the leaves near a flame and capture the juice as it drips out in order to make peepal extract. Use drops of the cooled extract to treat ear infection.
Soak a few leaves in water for 15 to 30 days; make the leaves flat or cupped so they are less likely to tear. Check the leaves periodically, watching for a filmy layer to appear on the leaf.
Gently wash off the film. Use a soft brush to prevent damage to the leaf. Continue to soak the leaf until all the outer layer is gone, and only the soft, off-white, bony inner leaf remains.
Hang the leaf to dry for 24 hours; hang by the stem to reduce the possibility of damaging the leaf.
Place the dried leaf on a background sheet to provide support. Use oil-based paints or ink and a soft brush to create your masterpiece on the leaf. Allow to dry.
Mount the dry painted leaf with the background sheet to prevent tearing. Cover your mounted leaf with glass or a transparent parchment or acrylic sheet.
Tips and warnings
- The dried leaves are fragile. Handle with care.
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