The fig (Ficus carica) is native to Iran, Asia Minor and Syria, but now widespread across the Mediterranean. The succulent, many-seeded fruit has been valued since the most ancient times and appears in many mythologies as a symbol of abundance, sex, fertility, blessing and protection and dedicated to a variety of gods. They were widely considered aphrodisiac.
Figs are highly nutritious, containing dietary fibre and a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Eat your figs fresh or dried, serve them in a salad, pair them wih feta or ricotta cheese, make them into jam, add to cakes and pastries, grill or bake them to add to savoury dishes, make them into a syrup for dessert and cocktails, or ferment them into a potent wine.
A fresh fig face mask (mix with honey) will help balance sebum production and reduce the appearance of wrinkles by promoting collagen production.
The fruit and leaves are used. Figs are used for their mild, laxative and stool softening action in cases of constipation. They can be eaten fresh or made into syrups for this purpose. For warts, apply the milky juice from a freshly broken fig stalk to the affected area. The leaves may be applied as a poultice to boils and sores. A tea made from fig leaves helps lower blood sugar. Early research shows it may reduce insulin requirements in Type 1 diabetics.
Skin contact with fig fruit or leaves can cause a rash in some sensitive people. Fig leaf may decrease blood sugar, so monitor your levels carefully if you are diabetic.