Figs have a long and ancient history; they are thought to be one of the first fruits ever to be cultivated by humans. Figs are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B6, and potassium. But what about fig leaves? Have you ever considered their health benefits?
Fig leaves are healing foods that are best known as an effective alternative therapy for treating diabetes.
In one clinical trial, researchers from the Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital, Madrid, Spain, studied the effects of a decoction of fig leaves (“Ficus carica“) on diabetes control. Six men and four women who were insulin-dependent diabetes patients were recruited for the trial.
The patients were managed with their usual diabetes diet and their twice-daily insulin injection. During the first month, patients were given a decoction of fig leaves; during the next month, they were given a non-sweet commercial tea.
The patients were divided into two groups. A standard breakfast was given at the beginning and end of each month-run. Glycemic profiles (seven/day per week) were recorded by patients. The research team found that post-prandial glycemia was significantly lower during supplementation with fig leaves. In fact, the average insulin dose was 12% lower during the period when fig leaves were administered to the group.
If you are diabetic and want to try taking a supplement made from fig leaves, remember that you may need less insulin — be sure to get your doctor’s advice. Do not stop taking or reduce your regular medication without talking it over with your doctor.
It is probably best to take the fig leaf extract with breakfast, first thing in the morning. An additional home remedy is to boil the leaves of the fig in some freshly filtered water and drink this as a tea.
In addition to their anti-diabetic properties, fig leaves have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. In a clinical trial conducted at the Faculty of Pharmacy, New Delhi, India, researchers evaluated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity of “F. carica” leaves.
Their study validated that the antioxidant effect of fig leaves is likely due to the presence of steroids and flavonoids and the anti-inflammatory activity could be due to free radical scavenging activity.