There was a fig tree in the garden of Heaven, and for different reasons the fig is the most discussed fruit in the Bible. According to Biblical literature a fig tree provided the first clothing. Also, the word sycophant, meaning an informer and one who seeks favors by flattering the powerful, comes from Greek and means “to show the fig”, because when the valuable and sacred figs were stolen for export purposes, someone revealed the figs, accused the robbers and was therefore a “fig shower”. In the first Quraanic verses in sura al Teen, the medicinal advantages of the fig are discussed – the Quraan says: “I swear by the Fig and the Olive” (Sura no. 95: verse no. 1).Fig plant is one of the only five plants mentioned in the Quraan, along with olives, grapes, pomegranate and dates. Hadith literature provide us with an event related to the fig: According to Abu Darda someone presented figs to the prophet Mohammed (God’s blessing and peace be upon him) and he began distributing it among his followers. He said: “Eat it as it cures various diseases”. According to Ibn Seereen, a scholar in the science of dreams, figs, if seen in dreams, denote wealth and prosperity. The benefits I have restricted myself to mentioning here is an indication of the compassion, Allah feels for human beings. Other medicinal benefits are the following:
• Figs are high in dietary fiber and a rich source of magnesium as well potassium.
• Figs contain a relatively high amount of vitamins A, B, and C and are low on calories – about 50 calories each.
• Imam Jafar Assadiq advice eating figs to remove bad breath.
• One large, raw fig contains 77,5 percent water, 8 g protein, 2 g fat, 23 mg calcium, 4 mg Iron, 50 IU vitamin A, 2,1 g dietary fiber, 3.8 mcg foliate, 3 mg niacin and 1 mg vitamin C.
• Figs help to reduce some forms of cancer.
• Choosing figs more frequently means that you will naturally choose potentially harmful foods less frequently, which is great for your lifelong health.
• According to the California Fig Advisory Board, it is believed that the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect against a number of diseases.
• In one study performed by the University of Scranton, it was determined that compared to other fruits, dried figs have a much higher level of the phenol makeup, which is rich in antioxidants. Phenol is used as an antiseptic to kill microorganisms.
• Figs are ideal for those trying to lose weight. It contains the digestive enzymes for all the three components of diet: Proteins, carbohydrates and fat.
• Figs are also thought of as a fruit that gives strength and energy to long-term patients as they seek to recover.
• Figs are also recommended in the treatment of asthma, coughs, chills and even diabetes. Syrup made from methi seeds, figs and honey is very effective when it comes to cough and bronchial asthma.
• The phosphorous content of the fig benefits the nervous system.
• It is recommended for athletes and children.
• The medical scientist, Al Shaikh al Raess, Bu Ali Ibn Sina, recommended figs to treat constipation, liver problems, urinary problems, heartburns, chest pains, piles and epilepsy. It is recommended to eat at least five figs early in the morning for four to ten months regularly, if you want to completely eliminate piles.
• It benefits pregnant and nursing women, helps in reducing acidity, rheumatism and helps the brain.
• Their ash, when taken with oil, treats pimples, skin pigmentation and whitens the teeth.
• For treating wounds it is used in a preparation made with hot milk.
• Figs are used widely for the treatment of major diseases like cancer and paralysis. Dr. Kochi from Japan, who specializes in using figs for its medical value, has treated twenty kinds of cancer with figs. According to Japanese tests, figs and the fig syrup (benzaidehyde) have helped shrink tumors.
• The fruit contains a proteolysis enzyme that is considered an aid to digestion and is used in the pharmaceutical industry.
• Due to its high alkalinity it has been considered to be beneficial to people who wish to quit smoking.
• It can dissolve and expel kidney and urinary bladder stones, and can help patients suffering from kidney failure and patients who has had a kidney transplant. It can clear the obstruction of liver and gall-bladder and relieves inflammations of kidney and urinary bladder.
• It is a good nourishing tonic and provides protection against the effects of toxins.
• It is useful in pharyngitis, chest congestion, bronchitis, and also for liver and spleen ailments. It is a good expectorant too.
• During fevers, if it is chewed, the patient feels relief from the dryness of mouth.
• It clears the intestinal obstruction, as if has laxative, anti-ulcer and antibacterial powers.
• It is carminative and expels the gases from the intestines.
• It is also useful in colics and is a good diuretic.
• It is useful for mental illness if taken regularly.
• If you bake dry figs until they are properly roasted, crush them and you will have a powder for dental ailments, and the powder will remove different stains. Similarly, this powder can be used against spots on the face and the skin in general.
Dr. M. Laiq Ali Khan, an eminent scholar discussed that no reference to the existence of figs is available before the advent of Muslims in India. Therefore, it is considered that either Mughals or Mongols from Asia Minor or the Muslim physicians introduced it to India. Figs of Pune are famous. Growing in western Asia and the Mediterranean area, the fig is one of the earliest fruits known to humans.
The fig, a member of the mulberry family, is one of the sweetest fruits when fully ripe. Fresh figs are highly perishable. Try to pick the fruit daily and either use or preserve it the same day for best quality and flavor. There are literally hundreds of fig varieties. Although considered a fruit, the fig is actually a flower that is inverted into it. The round fig becomes soft and drops to the ground when it is ripe, and is collected, compressed and preserved by dipping in salt solution and fumigation of sulphur. This compressed fruit is, like a big tablet, being used for the purpose of medicine in Tib al Nabawi.
“Figs”, Dr. M. Laiq Ali Khan, Director, Shafaisal Institute of Hadith & Medical Science, Kasganj.
“Islamic Influence on the Historical Development of Medicine”, Prof. Hamed A. Ead, Qahera University.
Health Remedies (AWHW)