While the ancient history of the fig centres around the Mediterranean region, and it is most commonly cultivated in mild-temperate climates, it nevertheless has its place in tropical and subtropical horticulture, Botanically identified as ficus Carica L. (family Moraceae), it is unique in a genus embracing perhaps over 1,000 species, mostly giant ''rubber trees'', and mostly tropical. It is almost universally known simply as fig, common fig, or edible fig. The name is very similar in French (figue), German (Feige), Italian and Portuguese (Figo). In Spanish, it is higo or brevo. Haitians give it the name, figue France, to distinguish it from the small, dried bananas called ''figs''. Spanish Franciscan missionaries bought the fig to southern California in 1520, leading to the variety known as the Mission fig to be in abundance in both China and England by this time as well.
The deciduous fig tree can live as long as 100 years and grow to a height of 3-10 meters tall, with smooth grey bark. The leaves are 12-25 centimetres (cm) long and 10-18 cm across, and deeply lobed with three or five lobes. The sap of the tree's green parts is an irritant to human skin. The multiple fruits are three to five centimetres long, and typically green when immature and purple when ripe. The twisty branches spread wider than the tree height. Figs flourish in hot, dry climates and the fruit requires all-day sun to ripen. Botanically, the fig isn't actually a fruit but a syconium. It's a portion of the stem that expanded into a sac containing flowers that grow internally. The common fig contains only female flowers and propagates without pollination. Other cultivars require pollination.
Oval or pear-shaped figs may be white, green, red or purplish-black and can be eaten fresh or dried raw and whole or grilled and used in jam-making. Figs ground into a paste and incorporated into cakes, cookies and other baked goods add moisture and sweetness. Most commercial production is in dried or otherwise processed form since the ripe fruit does not transport well, and once picked does not keep well. In Bengal, the fruit is called Dumur. It is cooked as a vegetable and believe to be good for heart ailments.
Fig also have higher quantities of fibre than any other dried or fresh fruit and are very high in calcium, as well as being a good source of iron and potassium. Figs also are a good source of flavonoids and polyphenols (Vinson 1999). Figs and other dried fruit were measured for their antioxidant content. A 40-gram portion of dried figs (two medium size figs) produced a significant increase in plasma antioxidant capacity (Vinson 2005). Figs were also good for other things. The 6th-century Greek food author Anthimus prescribed them for coughs and hoarse throats as did Nicholas Culpeper in his 17th-century herbal. He recommended that the dried fig had to be sucked for a long time it would have been soothing like a cough sweet is today. Colpeper also said that the leaves and/or sap were good for boils, warts, ulcers, chilblains and bruises. This use represents a very old healing tradition-in Testament, Isaiah used a plaster of figs to treat Hezekiah's boils (Isaiah: 38: 21). Modern research suggests that figs contain lectins and antioxidants, such as anthocyanins, that seem to improve the human immune response to ulcers.
14 Traditional Health Benefits Of Figs
1.Relieve Throat Pain
The high mucilage content in figs helps heal and protect sore throats. The soothing nature of these fruits and their natural juices can relieve pain and stress on the vocal cords. Also, the fig is a natural cure for tonsillitis. They help in reducing the swelling and irritation caused due to the condition. Make a paste of the figs with warm water and apply it on your throat. It will reduce pain and soothe your throat.
2. Treat Venereal Diseases
Figs have been traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and some other parts of the world as a calming slave for venereal diseases. Ingestion or topical application of these fruits work towards providing relief from sexually transmitted disease, although further research needs to be done on the exact range of symptoms and diseases that these fruits positively affect.
3. Lower Alzheimer's Risk
Figs are considered one of the best fruits when it comes to alleviating neuroinflammation. A study conducted by Australian and Amercian universities has revealed that the fruit is able to reduce the inflammatory cytokines during ageing. This action is very beneficial in lowering the risk of diseases like Alzheimer's.
4. Increase Sexual Stamina
Figs are considered to be a great fertility and sexual supplement. They are rich in calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. They are also rich in magnesium, the mineral that is required to produce the sex hormones androgen and estrogen. Figs help with various types of sexual dysfunction like sterility, erectile dysfunction, and sexual appetite. There is no strong science backup but in many cultures, figs are considered as symbols of fertility. They also produce an amino acid that is responsible for increasing the production of nitric oxide, which expands the blood vessels and increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including the sexual organs. Soak figs in milk overnight and eat them the next day to enhance your sexual abilities.
5. Treat Piles
Dry figs are the best to treat piles. They soften the stools, reducing the pressure on the rectum. Consume them twice a day by soaking three to four figs in water. You can also drink the water in which they are soaked. The seeds in the figs are the active agents that fight the piles. Soak the figs in a glass of water for about 12 hours before consuming them. Eat them once in the morning and then in the night. It works best when you begin your day by eating figs and end it with the same.
6. Prevent Wrinkles
A study found that fig extract has an antioxidative anti collagenase effect on wrinkled skin and reduced the percentage of wrinkle depth. In another study, it was found that a formulation containing fig fruit extract decreased skin melanin, trans-epidermal water loss, and skin sebum significantly. It also increased skin hydration. Hence, figs could be used s a remedy for hyperpigmentation, acne, freckles, and wrinkles.
7. Preven Coronary Heart Disease
The antioxidants in figs, as well as their blood pressure lowing properties, eliminate the free radicals in the body, which otherwise block the coronary arteries, leading to coronary heart disease. Also, the presence of potassium, omega-3s, and omega-6s in figs help in preventing heart attacks.
Though figs have a fair amount of sugar, overall they are considered to have a lower than average GI index since they also contain fibre. What this does is make figs excellent snacks for diabetics, since they do not spike blood sugar levels too high. The potassium found in figs also have a supporting role, since potassium helps promote absorption of glucose into muscle cells, and also tapers the rise and fall fashion of blood sugar to ensure that the crash is not unbearable (which would lead to more snacking and hunger). Afig or two consumed as snacks by diabetics help to solve the problem of finding suitable in between foods that are also healthy.
9. Control Blood Pressure
It is strange that many people are deficient in potassium, especially since it is not hard to obtain from a diet. However, the problem arises from the fact that processed foods are loaded with sodium-wich people opt for at their convenience, instead of natural foods. Figs solve this problem as they are sweet, so eating more of them does not feel as much as a chore as eating vegetables do. Potassium also promotes excretion of excess sodium, helping persons suffering from high blood pressure to get some degree of control over their condition.
10. Help Preserve Vision
One of the most important nutrients for maintaining healthy vision is Vitamin A and its family of related carotenoid anti-oxidants. Figs, while not an extremely rich source of these nutrients, do contain them in small quantities. Consumed consistently, they offer excellent support to the health of your eyes, helping prevent macular degeneration, enhancing night vision and reducing the likelihood of cataract development.
11. Prevent Brest Cancer In Post-Menopausal Woman
Brest cancer has a complex pathway of development underneath it, some as a result of hormonal differences, while other factors are based on genetic risk. However, what is interesting is that women who consume the highest amount of fruit fibre have the lowest risk of developing this breast cancer. In terms of fibre, it can help to promote the elimination of waste in a timely manner and can also promote metabolism of some hormones and toxins. The exact reason behind this lowered risk is unclear, but the results are conclusive enough to determine that more fruit fibre decreases your risk.
12.Lower Cholesterol Levels
Figs contain pectin, which is a soluble fibre that stimulates healthy bowel movements. They can have a laxative effect, as they are one of the most fibre-dense foods available. When fibre moves through the digestive tract, it mops up excess clumps of cholesterol and carries them to the excretory system to be eliminated from the body. According to a study, pectin is also associated with lowering cholesterol levels and anticancer activities.
13. treat Bronchitis
The natural chemicals in fig leaves make them an ideal component for a tea base. Fig leaf tea has been popularly prescribed for various respiratory conditions like bronchitis and is also used as a way to prevent and lessen the symptoms of asthma.
14. Prevent Urinary Calcium Loss
People that maintain a high-sodium diet may be affected by an increased urinary calcium loss. The high potassium content helps to avoid that condition and regulates the content of waste in your urine. it minimizes the calcium loss while increasingly eliminating the amount of uric acid and other harmful toxins out of your body.