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Ficus carica commonly known as common fig. Ficus carica is a large, deciduous shrub or small tree native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region. It belongs to family Moraceae. It grows to a height of 6.9–10 meters tall, with smooth grey bark. The fruit is 3–5 centimetres long, with a green skin, sometimes ripening towards purple or brown.

Listing Details

Botanical Names
Ficus carica
Indian Names
Sanskrit : Anjira, Phalgu, Manjula Bengali : Doomoor, Anjir Marathi : Anjir Hindi : Anjir, Anjeer Gujarati : Anjra Kannada : Anjura, Anjuri Kashmiri : Injeer, Unjoor Urdu : Injeer Zard, Anjeer
Chemical Constituents
The nutrient composition of dried figs has indicated that it has the best nutrient score among the dried fruit, being an important source of minerals and vitamins. The fruit when fresh possess 80.8 %, proteins 1.3 %, minerals 0.6 %, carbohydrates 17.1 %, calcium 0.06 %, phosphorus 0.03%, iron 1.2 mg, carotene 270 I.U. nicotinic acid 0.6 mg, riboflavin 50 mg, ascorbic acid 2 mg per 100 gram . The sugar content in fresh fruit 13 – 20 % and dry fruit has 12 to 62 %. It also contains citric acid, acetic acid, 0.1 – 0.44 %, resin, gums, mucilage and pentogen. Seeds contain 30 % stable oil. The milk contains resin, sugar and protein (1). The presence of Phytosterols (433 mg/100 g dry basis) has also been reported in fig fruit. The fresh and dried figs also present relatively high amounts of crude fiber (5.5%, w/w) and polyphenols. The Polyphenols contents, especially Anthocyanins, in fig fruit, leads to the antioxidant activity. The ethanolic extract of Ficus carica when examined chemically it was observed to contain flavonoids, steroids, triterpenoids, alkaloids and tannins. (2). Common fig also contains antioxidants. They are good source of flavonoids and polyphenols including gallic acid, chlorogenic acid, syringic acid, catechin, epicatechin and rutin.
Pesticide Limits
A limit for pesticide is one of the major issues in standardization of medicinal plants and products in view of the worldwide widespread use of pesticides in cultivated plants. The presence of pesticides in extracts increase the health risk by many folds. The pesticides can be extremely irritating to the skin as well as to the internal organs, hence it is essential to monitor its concentration as a part of GMP. Various analytical methods for the quantitative determination of pesticides by gas chromatography coupled with mass-spectrophotometer are in use. Konark Research Foundation (KRF), a NABL certified lab is well equipped with the latest technology and instruments and monitors the pesticide limit as part of its GMP.
Chromatographic Profile
From the pharmacopoeial perspective, a better quality control of raw material can be achieved by specifying quantitative test procedure for the determination of the range or a minimum content of the active ingredient or marker substances. A chromatographic finger profile represents qualitative/ quantitative determination of various components present in a complex plant extract, irrespective whether or not their exact identity is known. Thin layer chromatographic technique is the simplest and least expensive method that provides plenty of information on the composition of raw herbs and its preparation. For quantitative analysis of active ingredients or marker substances with simultaneous separation and detection High Pressure liquid chromatography is the best technique. We use the latest model of HPLC for all its analysis.
Limits of Impurities
A test requirement for foreign organic matter would ensure the extent of contamination of extraneous matters such as filth and other parts of botanicals not covered by the definition of the herbal drug. Since sand and soil are predictable contaminants of botanicals, test requirements for ‘total ash’, water soluble ash’, ‘acid soluble ash’, residue on ignition and sulphated ash would be expected to limit such contaminants. Test requirement for heavy metals in botanical raw material are probably more relevant for parts of plants growing under ground than for the aerial parts of the plant. The presence of high levels of minerals interacts with the final product there by affecting its keeping quality.
Microbial Limits
If the raw herbs are to be used directly without boiling in water prior to consumption, restrictive limits on microbial contaminants are required for pathogens such as Salmonella sp. Enterobacter and E. coli which are causative agent for various gastrointestinal diseases. A lower level of yeasts and molds and a limit on total aerobes are considered appropriate in plant material for topical use. The presence of aflatoxins detected by chemical means is generally independent of the number of viable molds that are detected using microbiological methods. Aflatoxins in microgram quantity are capable of giving serious hypersensitivity reactions which can be extremely harmful to human health.
The fruit is highly demulcent, digestive, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, nutritive, and tonic in action. It is also a blood purifier and has mild laxative properties. Vitamins B1 and B2 are found in figs. B1, B2 also promotes healthy skin, eyes and mucous membranes. A decoction of figs is useful as a demulcent to soothe mucous membranes of the lungs for colds. Also it is prescribed in many disorders such as general debility, psoriasis, eczema, intestinal worms, enlargement of liver and spleen, piles, chronic constipation and in jaundice (3). Figs are good for those with diabetes. In some cultures, the leaves of the fig tree are used for its anti-diabetic properties and beneficial in type 1 diabetes (4). Ficus carica extract also possess the antimicrobial and antifungal properties against resistant human pathogens (5). In traditional medicine roots are used in the treatment of leucoderma as it contains furocoumarin which is responsible for this action. Common fig oil is used in reducing the painful joints and other painful areas of the body. It is also used in the application in the skin related ailments. Common fig is very effective in digestive disorders. It helps in curbing any infections in the body. It also helps in expelling out the mucus from the respiratory tract. It helps in resolving urine related troubles. It also provides general body strength to the body.
Health Benefits
Figs are one of the highest plant sources of calcium and fiber. Dried figs are richest in fiber, copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and vitamin K, relative to human needs. Figs increase the bone density. Figs are rich in calcium, a mineral that promotes bone density (6). The potassium in the fruit also counteracts the loss of urinary calcium, thus, preventing bones from thinning out. Figs are also great for post-menopausal women and for those who have breast cancer (7). Figs provide renewed vigor & strength to the body especially after prolonged illness or physical & mental exertion. Figs are an excellent tonic for weak people who suffer from cracks in lips, tongue & mouth. Figs lower and control high blood pressure because these are packed with potassium, a mineral that can control hypertension (8).
Application in Cosmetics
Common fig paste is used in application on the wounds and skin ailments. It also has anti septic and emollient properties, making it an excellent home remedy for skin care, fresh mashed figs applied on skin not only cleanses it, but helps in curing acne and pimples. Common fig extract acts as natural sun screen and protects not only from the harmful effects of the sun but also improves the skin texture and complexion while maintaining its natural hydration.
Research References
1. Andreia P. O., Patrícia V., José A. P., Branca M. S., Fernando T., and Paula B. A. Ficus carica L.: Metabolic and biological screening Food and Chemical Toxicology 2009 47(11): 2841-2846 2. Sirisha N., Sreenivasulu M., Sangeeta K., Madhusudhana and Chetty C. Antioxidant Properties of Ficus Species – A Review International Journal of Pharm Tech Research 2010 2(4): 2174-2182 3. Patil. V.V. and Patil. V. R., ficus carica Linn. An Overview Research Journal of Medicinal Plant. 2011 5(3): 246-253. 4. Alicia S., Federico H., Carmen P., Elisa D., Jose E. C., and Marı´a D.T. Hypoglycemic action of an oral fig-leaf decoction in type-I diabetic patients Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice(1998). 39: 19–22 5. Patil Vikas V., Bhangale S.C., Patil V. R. EVALUATION OF ANTI-PYRETIC POTENTIAL OF FICUS CARICA LEAVES International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research 2010, 2: 48 6. Young R. P.,*, Jae S. E., Hwa J. C., Manoj N., Dae K. K., Seung-Y. S, Rihua L., Woo S. M., Nam-P. C., Sung-D. C., Tae Sung B., Byung K., and Yunjo S. Hexane-Soluble Fraction of the Common Fig, Ficus carica, Inhibits Osteoclast Differentiation in Murine Bone Marrow-Derived Macrophages and RAW 264.7 Cells Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2009. 13: 417-424 7. Sheela M. A., Salar S., Khanna S., and Bhattacharjee A. DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS AS ANTI CANCER AGENTS International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research 2010 4:159, 8. Xiao-ming Y., Wei Y., Zhong-ping O., Hai-le M., Wei-ming L., and Xue-lin J. Antioxidant and Immunity Activity of Water Extract and Crude Polysaccharide from Ficus carica L. Fruit Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2009. 64:167–173 9. HOUDA L. A., KARIMA B. H., JEAN P. C., ABDELW. F., MAHJOUB A. and KHALED S. In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Four Ficus carica Latex Fractions Against Resistant Human Pathogens (Antimicrobial Activity of Ficus carica Latex), 2010 Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., 23(1):53-58 10. Ahmad F., Ali R. and Farzad A. Effect of Fig (Ficus carica) Leaf Extract on the Secretion and Content of Cholesterol in Hepg2 Cell American Journal of Animal and Veterinary Sciences 2007. 2 (4): 104-107