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Common Fig – Ficus carica

Ficus carica


Common name: Common Fig
Latin name: Ficus carica
Family: Moraceae
Habitat: Common Fig is native to the Mediterranean region, and Southwest Asia. It prefers continental climate with hot summer.
Description: Common Fig is a large, deciduous shrub or a medium sized tree, growing up to 10 meters in height. It has a smooth grey bark and numerous, spreading branches.  Leaves are alternate and palmate, deeply lobed with 3 to 7 main lobes, and irregularly toothed along the margins. What is commonly referred to as a fruit is actually the flower of the tree, obovoid, turbinate or pear-shaped fig, 3 to 5 centimeters long, with green to deep purple skin. Small flowers are situated on the inside wall.  Its skin is thin and tender, and the fleshy wall is usually pink, rose or pale yellow. Numerous seeds can be different sizes: large, medium or minute.
Parts used: Stem, leaves, fruit
Active components: fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, catechin, epicatechin and rutin.
Medicinal use: Common Fig is considered to be a laxative, emollient, expectorant and analgesic. It is usually employed in preparations of laxative syrups, combined with Senna and carminatives. A decoction of the fruit is used in cases of colds, soothing the mucous membranes of our respiratory tract. Fresh fig can be used externally as an emollient poultice in treatment of boils and small tumors. White, milky juice extracted from the stems and leaves is used for removal of warts.
Safety: The milky sap of the Common Fig’s green parts acts as an irritant to human skin. Applied externally, fruit latex could cause allergic reaction to sunlight. Some herbs could react with certain medication. Therefore it is advisable to contact your doctor/herbalist before consumption of any herb.

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