Ficus carica Moraceae
PREPARATION AND DOSAGE
For internal use
TO TREAT blocked nose, bronchial or wheezy chest TINCTURE Take 50 drops in a glass of water twice a day. DECOCTION Put 80-100g dried figs into 1 litre of boiling water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes and strain. Drink the same day.
TO TREAT constipation - a mild laxative useful for children SYRUP OF FIGS Follow the directions on the bottle.
For external use
TO TREAT coughs
IF SYMPTOMS PERSIST CONSULT A DOCTOR
Often mentioned in the Bible, fig trees arc found throughout the Mediterranean region. Athletes in ancient Greece gorged on figs, believing that they increased a man speed and stamina. The decidllolls tree can reach a height if 12m. It has large lobed leaves and its tiny flowers are hidden, clustered inside the ,green fruits , which ripen after .fertilization into fleshy figs.
Fresh ripe figs contain up to 50 per cent sugar (glucose). They also contain flavonoids, which have an anti-inflammatory effect. Coumarins in the leaves are aromatic substances that aid digestion and have antiseptic properties. The coumarins include bergapten and psora len, both photosensitising agents.
People have eaten this nutritious, sugar-rich fruit for thousands of years. The sugar and fibre in figs give them their famous laxative effect.Flavonoids and coumarins in both the fruits and leaves contribute to fig's digestive, soothing, calming and anti-inflammatory effects. Fig alsohelps to clear catarrh from the nose and throat, and to remove poisons. Eating the fruit can ease coughs, sore throats and the pain of various inflammatory conditions.
Researchers have investigated the use of figs in treating diabetes. A Spanish clinical trial published in 1998 found that people with Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes taking fig-leaf decoctions had lower blood sugar levels after eating meals.
In traditional medicine, the milky sap of the fig tree was applied externally to soothe minor aches, pains and insect bites, as well as to remove warts. However, the sap can burn and blister the skin and should be treated with caution.
Some varieties of fig do well against south-facing walls. Plant readybought young plants or cuttings in a well-drained. neutral to alkaline soil.
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