2010 By Syed Akbar Banyan tree has always occupied a pride of place in Indian systems of medicine, particularly Ayurveda and Unani. It is also linked to spiritualism and asceticism. The tree is revered for its shade on a hot summer day. Medicinal properties of banyan tree galore, ranging from treating infertility, both male and female, to fighting venereal diseases like syphilis and gonorrhoea. Banyan belongs to the Ficus genus and is a close cousin of the fig tree. Fruits,flowers, milk (latex), roots and leaves of banyan tree find use in preparation of traditional herbal medicines. Both Ayurveda and Unani doctors prescribe banyan preparations to clear bowels, treat ulcers, fever and a variety of skin diseases including leprosy. It has anti-inflammatory properties too. The roots of banyan that hang out from the branches (aerial roots) are used to treat inflammation of liver and check bleeding (styptic property). Other ailments that can be treated through banyan leaf buds are diarrhoea, bleeding piles and irregular monthly cycles in women. -------------------- Home remedies -------------------- If you want relief from chronic dysentery, take a few fresh leaf buds of banyan and soak them in water for a few hours. Remove the leaves, filter the water and drink it. Alternatively, you may try banyan milk (latex) in small quantities as latex if consumed in higher quantities may prove dangerous. For those suffering from painful bleeding piles, a little quantity of banyan latex mixed in diary milk will provide the much needed relief. Practitioners of traditional medicine recommend finely ground banyan root powder mixed in milk as remedy for female infertility. They suggest that it should be consumed for three days after monthly periods. This should be repeated every month. Like the neem twig, a piece of aerial root of banyan can be used to brush the teeth. It fights bacteria and makes the teeth and gums strong and healthy.