Fig Leaf Tea: Benefits and How to Prepare It
Since ancient times, fig leaf tea has been used as a natural remedy to promote well-being. In particular, it’s considered a health supplement to reduce constipation, control glucose and improve the lipid profile. However, is there any evidence of its properties?
First of all, it’s worth remembering that the fig tree is a tree that belongs to the Mulberry or Moraceae family. Its scientific name is Ficus carica L., and it is native to southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean. Although it is known for its fruits, its root and leaves are also used in traditional medicine.
Discover its benefits below.
Fig Leaf Tea Benefits
Fig leaves have components that are used for medicinal purposes. According to an article published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine , fig leaves provide phenolic compounds, organic acids, and volatile substances that confer hypoglycemic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, hypolipemic, and antimicrobial effects.
And although the evidence of its properties is still limited, some studies support the health effects fig leaf tea can provide. Of course, it should be used in moderation, without replacing medical treatments.
Let’s see its main applications.
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It can help manage the symptoms of diabetes
Fig leaf tea will not cure diabetes miraculously. In fact, this disease must be approached with individualized medical treatment. However, this natural remedy can serve as an adjunct to lower high blood glucose levels.
A clinical trial shared in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that fig leaf tea added to the diet can help control postprandial blood glucose. That is, it reduces blood sugar spikes after meals.
It can help fight constipation
Both the fruits of the fig tree and its leaves have been used in alternative medicine as natural supplements to relieve constipation. Its ingestion stimulates digestion, softens the stool, and therefore promotes its expulsion.
To enhance the effect, it’s best to drink the infusion in combination with the fruit, which stands out for its high fiber content and its laxative effect.
It may help lower cholesterol and triglycerides
To date, no relevant clinical trials have been conducted to evaluate the ability of fig leaf to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. These properties are often justified by anecdotal data.
However, an animal study reported in Phytotherapy Research found that fig leaves help modulate lipid profile and reduce lipid-associated risk factors. It is believed, among other things, to increase levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
It has antibacterial activity
Fig leaf has components with antibacterial properties that may decrease the risk of infections. In a study shared in the Journal of Bacteriology and Virology , extracts from the leaves helped inhibit the growth of oral bacteria.
How to prepare fig leaf tea
Due to its composition, fig leaf tea is a good dietary supplement. In fact, it is recommended as part of a healthy and varied diet to enjoy its benefits.
Would you like to try it? Let’s see how to make it!
- 2 cups of water (500 milliliters)
- 2 tablespoons of dried fig leaves (30 grams)
- First, pour the cups of water into a pot and bring to a boil.
- When they come to a boil, reduce the heat, add the leaves and let them cook for 5 minutes.
- Then, after this time, remove from heat, let cool, and strain.
- Avoid adding sugar, honey, or other sweeteners.
- You can drink 2 cups a day, 2 or 3 times a week. However, it’s best to avoid prolonged consumption.
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Contraindications and possible risks of fig leaf tea
Fig leaf tea is safe for most people, as long as its consumption is moderate. When consumed excessively, it can cause diarrhea. Therefore, it’s best to drink it only occasionally.
On the other hand, if there’s a history of allergy to figs, make sure to avoid it. People who develop allergic reactions may experience mild to severe symptoms, such as skin rashes, digestive discomfort, dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
In case you have a scheduled surgery, you should avoid consuming fig leaf tea. This is because its intake increases the risk of bleeding. It also shouldn’t be consumed simultaneously with anticoagulant drugs, antidiabetic drugs, or drugs for any chronic disease. This is because specialists don’t know if it can cause interactions.
Given the lack of evidence on its safety and efficacy, you shouldn’t drink it during pregnancy and lactation. It is not known if there are risks for this population. When in doubt, it’s best to seek medical advice.
What to remember about fig leaf tea
In folk medicine, fig leaf is used to increase and promote well-being. Its consumption is associated with lowering constipation and cholesterol. It’s even believed to help control blood glucose levels. However, studies on its properties are still limited.
More research is needed to determine its effectiveness on human health. Therefore, it should be used with caution and only in specific cases as a dietary supplement.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Mawa S, Husain K, Jantan I. Ficus carica L. (Moraceae): Phytochemistry, Traditional Uses and Biological Activities. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:974256. doi:10.1155/2013/974256
Serraclara A, Hawkins F, Pérez C, Domínguez E, Campillo JE, Torres MD. Hypoglycemic action of an oral fig-leaf decoction in type-I diabetic patients. Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 1998 Jan;39(1):19-22. doi: 10.1016/s0168-8227(97)00112-5. PMID: 9597370.
Joerin L, Kauschka M, Bonnländer B, Pischel I, Benedek B, Butterweck V. Ficus carica leaf extract modulates the lipid profile of rats fed with a high-fat diet through an increase of HDL-C. Phytother Res. 2014 Feb;28(2):261-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4994. Epub 2013 Apr 22. PMID: 23606376.
Jeong, M.-R., Kim, H.-Y., & Cha, J.-D. (2009). Antimicrobial Activity of Methanol Extract from Ficus carica Leaves Against Oral Bacteria. In Journal of Bacteriology and Virology (Vol. 39, Issue 2, p. 97). The Korean Society for Microbiology and The Korean Society of Virology. https://doi.org/10.4167/jbv.2009.39.2.97