Fig

What other names is Fig known by?

Arbre à Cariques, Caricae Fructus, Feigen, Ficus carica, Figs, Figue, Figuier, Figuier de Carie, Figuier Comestible, Figuier Commun, Figuier Domestique, Higuera.

What is Fig?

Fig is a tree. The fruit is commonly eaten. The fruit and leaves are used to make medicine.

Fig FRUIT is used as a laxative to relieve constipation.

Fig LEAF is used for diabetes, high cholesterol, and skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo.

Some people apply the milky sap (LATEX) from the tree directly to the skin to treat skin tumors and warts.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of fig for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Fig work?

Fig leaf contains chemicals that might help people with type 1 diabetes use insulin more efficiently.

Are there safety concerns?

Fresh or dried fig fruit is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in food amounts.

Fig LEAF is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for up to one month as a medicine. However, in high doses, fig LATEX, the sap from the tree, might cause bleeding in the digestive tract in some people.

Applying fig leaf to the skin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It can cause skin to become extra sensitive to the sun. Avoid prolonged sun exposure when applying fig LEAF to the skin. Wear sunblock outside, especially if you are light-skinned. Fig FRUIT is unlikely to cause sun sensitivity.

Skin contact with fig fruit or leaves can cause rash in sensitive people.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Fresh or dried fig fruit is LIKELY SAFE in amounts found in food, but there's not enough information to know if it's safe in the larger amounts that are used as medicine.

Allergies. People who are sensitive to mulberry, natural rubber latex, or weeping fig might have allergic reactions to fig.

Diabetes. Fig might lower blood sugar. If you take fig by mouth and you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

Surgery: Fig might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using fig as medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Insulin
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fig leaf might decrease blood sugar. Insulin is also used to decrease blood sugar. Taking fig leaf along with insulin might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your insulin might need to be changed.



Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Fig leaf supplements seem to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking fig leaf along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Dosing considerations for Fig.

The appropriate dose of fig depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for fig. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011

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