Fig (Ficus carica L.)


Figs are thought to have been first cultivated in Egypt. They spread to ancient Crete and subsequently, to ancient Greece where they became a staple in the traditional diet. Figs were regarded with such esteem that laws were created forbidding the export of the best quality figs. Figs were respected in ancient Rome and thought of as a sacred fruit. According to Roman myth, the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus, rested under a fig tree.
Traditionally, figs have been used to treat constipation, bronchitis, high cholesterol, eczema, psoriasis (chronic skin disease), vitiligo (white skin patches), and diabetes (high blood sugar). Topically, its latex has been used to remove warts and treat skin tumors.
At this time, there are no high quality human trials supporting the effectiveness of fig for any indication. However, the antioxidant activity and cytotoxicity against various cancer cell lines reported in fig are potentially promising in its future therapeutic uses.

Related Terms

Caricae fructus, feigen, Ficus benjamina (weeping fig), Ficus carica, Ficus elastica (rubber plant).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Diabetes (Type 1) (Grade: C)
Early evidence suggests that fig has antioxidant properties and may be beneficial in type 1 diabetes. Additional study is warranted in this area.