Herb: Fig

Latin name: Ficus carica

Family: Moraceae (Mulberry Family)

Medicinal use of Fig:

A decoction of the leaves is stomachic. The leaves are also added to boiling water and used as a steam bath for painful or swollen piles. The latex from the stems is used to treat corns, warts and piles. It also has an analgesic effect against insect stings and bites. The fruit is mildly laxative, demulcent, digestive and pectoral. The unripe green fruits are cooked with other foods as a galactogogue and tonic. The roasted fruit is emollient and used as a poultice in the treatment of gumboils, dental abscesses etc. Syrup of figs, made from the fruit, is a well-known and effective gentle laxative that is also suitable for the young and very old. A decoction of the young branches is an excellent pectoral. The plant has anticancer properties.

Description of the plant:


6 m
(20 feet)

June to

Habitat of the herb:

Amongst rocks, in woods and scrub on hot dry soils.

Edible parts of Fig:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Sweet and succulent, a fully ripe specimen is an exquisite fruit that almost literally melts in the mouth. The fruit is often dried for later use and this dried fruit is a major item of commerce. Figs are usually pear-shaped and up to 5cm in diameter. A nutritional analysis is available. The latex from the sap can be used to coagulate plant milks.

Other uses of the herb:

Wood - pliable but porous and of little value. It is used for hoops, garlands, ornaments etc. When saturated with oil and covered with emery is used as a substitute for a hone.

Propagation of Fig:

Seed - sow spring in a warm greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse for at least their first year. Plant out in late spring after the last expected frosts and give some protection for their first winter outdoors. Cuttings of mature wood 10 - 12cm with a heel, winter in a frame. Fairly easy, but the cuttings must be kept frost free. It is probably best if the cuttings are put in individual pots. Layering.

Cultivation of the herb:

Amongst rocks, in woods and scrub on hot dry soils.

Known hazards of Ficus carica:

The sap and the half-ripe fruits are said to be poisonous. The sap can be a serious eye irritant.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.