It is a plant of the genus Ficus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Ficus carica (the common fig) which yields the well-known fig of commerce is indigenous to an area extending from Asiatic Turkey to India. It is a bush or small tree from a metre to 12 metres high with broad, rough, deciduous leaves, deeply lobed.
Fig fruits are borne singly or in pairs above the scars of fallen leaves or in axils of leaves. The flowers are male or female. The fig is one of the earliest fruit trees cultivated by primitive man. Figs are known to possess in an unusual degree two important food qualities: a definite laxative effect and a high alkalinity of ash. The laxative effect is probably due to the bulk of seeds and fibre combined with some specific solvent present in the juice. In Mediterranean countries, the fig is so widely used both fresh and dried that it is called ‘the poor man’s food’.
Figs provide such minerals as calcium and phosphorus; dried figs are also high in iron. The figs are astrigent and carminative; the dried figs are given in doses of 150 gram with honey in menorrhagia, hepatitis and dysentery; the figs are very useful in diabetes; A decoction of dried figs is an excellent mouthwash for sore throat and aphthous complaints of the mouth.
Benefit and uses of fig.
- Figs are a good source of potassium, a mineral that helps to control blood pressure.
- The treatment to induce early ripening is quite simple, consisting of the application of a small amount of oil, usually olive oil or heavy mineral oil such as that used for medicinal purposes.
- Figs are also thought of as a medicine which gives strength and energy to long-term patients as they seek to recover. They eliminate physical and mental difficulties and give the body strength and energy.
- The fig leaves are added to boiling water and used as a steam bath for painful or swollen piles.
- Fig fruits are much used as poultices on tumors and other abnormal growths.
- The leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for diabetes and calcifications in the kidneys and liver.
- The milky juice of the freshly-broken stalk of a Fig has been found to remove warts on the body.