Botanical: Ficus carica
Family: Moraceae (mulberry)
If you need a mild - yet highly effective - herbal laxative, try Fig, the highly nutritious herb that has been effective enough to relieve constipation, but mild enough for use by children and invalids.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
The common Fig Tree is a smallish ornamental that may grow to a possible thirty feet in height. It is deciduous with broad leaves and a fleshy, juicy, pear-shaped fruit called the Fig, and the tree thrives in rich, loamy, well-drained, neutral-to-alkaline soil in sun. Although they are called fruits, Figs are actually “synconia," which are inside-out structures with tiny flowers lining the inside; they contain as many as 1,600 seeds each. The Fig (or Ficus) Tree is indigenous to Persia, Turkey, Syria and other Mediterranean areas of Asia Minor, where it grows wild, but is now cultivated for its beauty, food, and medicinal value in other warm climates of the world. Since remote ancient times, the Fig has been widely cultivated as "the poor man's food," because of the ease with which the nutritious fruit can be grown without irrigation in a dry, hot climate - hot enough to preserve them by sun-drying with a minimum of effort. For over five thousand years, Figs have been highly valued, and their history has been recorded since earliest times, appearing in the writings of Homer, Plato and other Greek writers. The earliest Hebrew books frequently refer to it as a symbol of peace and prosperity, and the Bible says Hezekiah used Fig to remedy boils (Isaiah). The botanical specific, caria, is derived from the fact that the Greeks claimed to have received the Fig from Caria in Asia Minor. It was a major crop in ancient Greece, and Greek athletes are said to have fed almost exclusively on Figs to increase their strength and swiftness. In Rome, the Fig was revered as sacred and was dedicated to the god, Bacchus, frequently appearing in religious ceremonies. In Greece and Rome, the Fig comprised a large portion of the diets of slaves and agricultural workers. Later cultivation in Europe is credited to Charlemagne who ordered it to be planted in central Europe in 812. Fig's medicinal value was officially recognized, and it was listed in the British Pharmacopœia. Today, Turkey produces the largest commercial crop of Figs, and large areas of California also produce a healthy share. It also grows in other areas of the United States, and when protected during the winter, has even grown as far north as Pennsylvania. The fruits may be eaten raw, stewed, made into jams and wine, and included as a flavoring for coffee. The Fig is highly nutritious and contains fiber, flavonoids, dextrose (sugars), enzymes, magnesium, iron, acids, vitamins A and C, and they are particularly rich in calcium and potassium.
Fig is regarded as an effective, but gentle, laxative. The fruit's saccharine juice, indigestible seeds and skin are thought to produce a mild laxative action that has helped treat constipation and soothe irritated tissues. Fig is considered mild enough to be used by children and delicate people.
Fig is used as a demulcent that soothes, protects and relieves the irritation of inflamed mucous membranes and other surfaces; and, as such, has been helpful in relieving catarrh of the nose and throat. For respiratory tract inflammation, Fig is said to be particularly soothing to the mucous membranes of the respiratory passage, relieving the discomforts of colds, coughs, sore throats, inflammation of the trachea and bronchial infection.
Used externally, Fig has been used as an emollient to soothe hemorrhoids and in poultices for boils and small tumors. The stems and leaves contain an acrid, milky juice that has been used to remove warts and corns.
Some people may have skin or other allergic reactions to products made from the leaves or milky sap of the Fig tree, and thus, Fig Herbal Supplement from Herbal Extracts Plus should first be tested in small doses. This product is derived entirely from the Fig fruit, and most people who cannot use products made from the Fig leaf or milky sap can still use this product safely. However, it is recommended that very small doses be used at first to assure that you do not have an allergic reaction. Use of Fig may produce irritation in sunlight.