Fig is also known as Ficus carica (Scientific Binomial Name), Common Figs (Common English), Phalgu / Manjul / Raajodumbara / Bhadrodumbara (Ayurvedic), Anjeer / Teen (Unani), Anjeer (Hindi / Urdu), Simaiyatti / Semaiatti (Tamil), Anjir (Marathi), Goolar / Gular / Audumbar (Sanskrit), Udumbara (Bengali), Atti / Atticettu (Telugu), Anjura (Kannada), Athipazham (Malayalam).
Health Benefits of Fig Fruit
Figs are restorative and the best fruit that can be taken by those who are brought low by long sickness. The juice of fresh figs is a traditional home remedy for kidney stones. For eye problems, it is recommended to take every morning during breakfast two to three figs boiled with one tablespoon of raisins in a cup of milk. This remedy is also a brain tonic. It is always better to soak the dried figs in water as they will be easier to digest. The sap of fresh fig leaves works in a similar fashion to dandelions. Figs are not actually a fruit but an inflorescence called a “multiple fruit” because the flowers and seeds grow together in a single mass. Figs are a nutritious and sustaining food, with a long history of medicinal use. In the 18th century, Jesuit priests planted figs at the first Catholic mission in San Diego, California. This so-called black Mission fig is still an important variety in that state, which grows 99% of the entire U.S. fig crop. Buddha achieved enlightenment under the Ficus religiosa. Figs were the first plant cultivated by humans as early as 9400 BC, at least a thousand years before wheat, barley, and legume cultivation.
Figs Nutrition Facts
Fig is rich source of Vitamin B3 (niacin), calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron. Vitamin B3 or niacin or nicotinic acid is essential for proper circulation, healthy functioning of the nervous system and proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism. The human body needs calcium more than any other mineral. Calcium stimulates enzymes in the digestive process and coordinates the functions of all other minerals in the body. Potassium is important as an alkalizing agent in keeping a proper acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues. It is essential for muscle contraction and therefore, important for proper heart function. Figs are beneficial in the treatment of epilepsy, cataract, constipation, piles, rheumatism. Figs are rich in fiber and hence useful for constipation.
Home Remedies with Figs
The most important food remedy for hemorrhoids is dry figs. Three or four figs should be soaked overnight in water after cleansing them thoroughly in hot water. They should be taken the first thing in the morning along with water in which they were soaked. They should also be taken in the evening in a similar manner. This treatment should be continued for three or four weeks. The tiny seeds of the fruit possess an excellent quality of stimulating peristalic movements of intestines. This facilitates easy evacuation of faeces and keeps the alimentary canal clean. The pressure on the anus having thus been relieved, the hemorrhoids also get contracted. Figs are an excellent food remedy for increasing weight in case of thinness. The high percentage of rapidly assimilable sugar make them a strengthening and fattening food. Digestive troubles can be eased by eating fresh figs after light meals or just prior to heavy meals. In Egypt a few raw figs are consumed to relieve digestive problems caused by eating too much red meat, fish, eggs, cheese or milk.
Medicinal Uses of Fig
Tea made with figs is very effective for colds and mild flu. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, adding 5-1/4 tbsp. chopped figs. Simmer on low heat for 5 minutes. Cover and steep until cool. Sip half cupfuls every 4 hours or so to relieve sore throat and lungs. Fig is effective home remedy for low libido in men and women. After breakfast, eat 3 figs with 1 teaspoon honey. An hour later, take a glass of lassi. This will help restore sexual energy. Lassi is a refreshing drink made from yogurt, water, and spices and often served at the end of a meal as a digestive. Can be sweet or salty. For whooping cough, steep 2 fig fruits in wine or booze overnight, then eat on an empty stomach in the morning. For diabetes, boil 3 sun-dried leaves in 300 g water. Boil for 15 minutes and strain. Drink the water. For strengthening teeth and gums, try eating 4 gs and chewing them well, once a day. In parts of Africa and Central America, ripe figs cut in half are used to clean the teeth by rubbing the cut side against the enamel for several minutes.
Constipation in Babies and Children
To treat constipation in children or babies, give the child 3 figs soaked in warm water. For adults try this nice fruit laxative. In 4 cups of boiling water, put 10-1/2 tbsp. each of figs, raisins and uncooked barley. Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, then add 2-1/4 tbsp. cut, dried licorice root and remove from heat, permitting to steep for 30 minutes or so. When cold, stir and strain. Take 1 cup at night and again in the morning as a laxative.
For Rheumatoid Arthritis and Joint Pain
Figs have sulphur compound called ficin, which is valuable in the treatment of chronic joint inflammation and swelling of soft tissues common to rheumatoid arthritis and traumatic injuries, such as a twisted ankle or pulled muscle ligaments. Soak about 6 figs in 2-1/2 cups of boiling water for a few minutes to soften them up a bit; then mash into a poultice and apply directly to any area of stiffness and soreness on the body. Cover with a heavy towel or warm flannel cloth and keep on for half an hour or so. Or apply a thin cloth over them and then a heating pad, set on low heat. It will really bring incredible relief, even to lower backaches – a type of pain that is sometimes hard to get rid of.
Fig Poultice for Sores and Boils
To bring a boil to a head, split a fig, heat it, and place it directly on the boil. This is a particularly good method for treating boils and ulcers in the mouth. Roasted figs can be used as a poultice on boils and hemorrhoids in order to encourage healing and to draw out infection. OR Apply a warm poultice made with figs or honey to the affected area such as boils or abscess. To make a warm fig poultice, you can use either lightly roasted fresh figs, or dried figs. Split the fig and mash up the soft, pulpy interior. This can be warmed by adding a little boiling water. Place the mixture on a clean piece of cloth. Use either linen, gauze, or cotton. The whole compress can then be warmed by placing on a hot water bottle. This is also useful to warm it up again after it cools. Apply to the skin. OR Put three to four figs in a pie tin with enough milk to cover them. Cover with another inverted pie tin and place in an oven set on a very low temperature for an hour. By that time the figs should have absorbed all the milk. Cut the figs open and lay them directly on the sore or boil. They soon draw out all purulent infection.
Side Effects and Warnings
No known side effects if taken in proper quantity.