Traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology of Ficus carica: a review

Pharm Biol. 2014 Nov;52(11):1487-503. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2014.892515. Epub 2014 Jul 14.


Context: Ficus carica Linn (Moraceae) has been used in traditional medicine for a wide range of ailments related to digestive, endocrine, reproductive, and respiratory systems. Additionally, it is also used in gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract infection.

Objective: This review gathers the fragmented information available in the literature regarding morphology, ethnomedicinal applications, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of Ficus carica. It also explores the therapeutic potential of Ficus carica in the field of ethnophytopharmacology.

Materials and methods: All the available information on Ficus carica was compiled from electronic databases such as Academic Journals, Ethnobotany, Google Scholar, PubMed, Science Direct, Web of Science, and library search.

Results: Worldwide ethnomedical uses of Ficus carica have been recorded which have been used traditionally for more than 40 types of disorders. Phytochemical research has led to the isolation of primary as well as secondary metabolites, plant pigment, and enzymes (protease, oxidase, and amylase). Fresh plant materials, crude extracts, and isolated components of Ficus carica have shown a wide spectrum of biological (pharmacological) activities.

Conclusion: Ficus carica has emerged as a good source of traditional medicine for the treatment of various ailments such as anemia, cancer, diabetes, leprosy, liver diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, and ulcers. It is a promising candidate in pharmaceutical biology for the development/formulation of new drugs and future clinical uses.

Keywords: Biological activities; ethnomedicne; fig.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ficus*
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Medicine, Traditional / methods*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phytochemicals / isolation & purification
  • Phytochemicals / therapeutic use*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Flavonoids
  • Phytochemicals
  • Plant Extracts