800 years ago, the famous Greek botanist and physician Dioscorides wrote the following words about the fruit of the fig tree:
When cooked, mashed, and applied as a poultice, they break up any skin hardening, make pustules softer, and ripe furuncles and abscesses.Pedanius Dioscorides
He continued to praise the healing virtues of figs on any sores and wounds. After seeing the effectiveness of the remedy in his patients, he wrote those words in his journals. Presently, some 2700 years later, many other therapeutic applications of this ancient tree have been discovered.
Fig Tree Scientific Facts
- Other names: Common fig
- French: Figuier
- Spanish: Higuera
- Environment: Widely spread all over the Mediterranean basin, and at present also in dry, sunny areas of America
- Description: Tree of the Moraceae family, with softwood, milky sap, and large rough leaves. The figs, which are incorrectly called fruit, are the fleshy flowers of the fig tree
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The figs, the leaves, and the latex
Healing Properties and Indications
Figs are especially rich in sugars: sucrose, glucose, and saccharose. They also contain small amounts of proteins, fats, mineral salts, vitamins A, B1, B2, and C, and organic acids. The use of figs is mainly recommended for people suffering from constipation (laxative properties), pregnant women, and for people suffering from mental or physical exhaustion.
The liquid obtained from a decoction of dried figs has soothing properties on irritated digestive and respiratory mucosa. It offers good results for pharyngitis, gastritis, bronchitis, irritative cough, and skin rashes.
When externally applied as a poultice, figs have healing and resolvent properties, promoting the ripening of abscesses and inflammation. They are used for infected wounds, furuncles, pimples, and dental gum boils.
Preparation and Use
- Dry figs: To treat constipation, take on an empty stomach in the morning, around 200g of dried figs, which must have been put to soak the night before.
- Decoction: Prepared with 10 or 12 dry figs per liter of water or milk. Boil until the liquid reduces by a half. To combat digestive or respiratory afflictions, drink three or four hot cups daily. Figs can also be eaten when cooked.
- Poultices: Mash a handful of fresh figs or soaked dry figs, and with the resulting paste, prepare a poultice, which is applied once wrapped in a cotton cloth, on the affected area. Leave it there during the daytime, and remove it at night, washing the skin. A fig cut in half may also be applied.
- Latex: Apply some drops on warts every day for several weeks.
Fig Tree Milk
The milk or tear of the fig tree, the name Dioscorides gave to the white sap (latex), which flows from the leaves and branches, contains several enzymes that can curdle milk and even digest meat. This latex is used to soften calluses and eliminate warts. To obtain results, you must be patient and apply it daily for several weeks. You can also apply a mashed hot fig tree leaf on warts as if it were a poultice.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 708,709. Print.