Fig (Ficus carica)
Fig has been eaten by man since at least 5,000 BC. Native to western Asia, they were planted in the Mediterranean region, and then spread to other warm, dry climates. This herb is unique in that what we consider the fruit is actually the flower of the tree. The flower is inverted, and the seeds are the true fruits of the tree. Common houseplants like Ficus benjamina and the rubber plant are relatives of the plant.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Fig leaves have been shown to reduce the amount of insulin needed by diabetics. They have also shown promise in lowering triglyceride levels. Benzaldehyde, which is a very effective cancer treatment, is found in the fruit. They aid digestion and improve bowel and stomach conditions because of their high fiber content. They are high in iron, which helps blood production. They are a tasty way to overcome anemia.
The sugar content of figs helps to stimulate the brain. Their laxative effect softens the stool and can help relieve hemorrhoids. They are high in potassium and calcium, which can help preserve bone density. They have been proven to be good for the eyes; by eating three servings of figs a day, you can lower the risk of age-related macular degeneration. They are also good for relieving acne, oil and skin conditions.
They contain tryptophan, which helps the blood to flow better and helps you get a good night's sleep. They can also lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and are beneficial to heart-related diseases.
Externally Fig sap was considered to be the universal energy of life, and was used externally to battle infertility and to encourage babies to breastfeed. The sap can also help treat warts. If the fruit is rubbed on the skin, it acts as an exfoliant. The tiny seeds polish the skin. The soft interior can be used as a poultice for dental abscesses and tumors.
Fruit, leaves The fruit is used primarily, although there are a few remedies that use the leaves.
Figs do contain a large amount of oxalates, which can cause health problems if they become concentrated in body fluids. Due to this effect, those people who have untreated or existing gall bladder or kidney problems should not eat the fruit. If you are sensitive to sulfites or are asthmatic, do not eat dried figs, since the sulfur-containing additives they use to dry them can cause reactions.
Preparation and Dosage
Figs can be eaten raw or cooked. They can be frozen or dried for storage, since the fresh fruits do not keep long.