Open access peer-reviewed chapter

Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant Potential, and Medicinal Significance of Ficus

Written By

Haq Nawaz, Rashem Waheed and Mubashir Nawaz

Submitted: 14 January 2019 Reviewed: 26 April 2019 Published: 27 November 2019

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.86562

From the Edited Volume

Modern Fruit Industry

Edited by Ibrahim Kahramanoglu, Nesibe Ebru Kafkas, Ayzin Küden and Songül Çömlekçioğlu

Chapter metrics overview

1,251 Chapter Downloads

View Full Metrics

Abstract

Ficus, a genus of plant family Moraceae, includes about 850 species. Most of the species of Ficus are used as a source of nutrition for humans. The roots, aerial roots, stem, bark, leaves, latex, fruit, and pulp of the Ficus plants are medicinally important due to the presence of a variety of bioactive phytochemical compounds, such as polyphenols, phenolic acids, triterpenoids, flavonoids, flavonols, anthocyanins, carotenoids, glycosides, polysaccharides, reducing compounds, and vitamins K, E, and C. Most of these phytochemical compounds possess strong antioxidant potential in terms of metal chelating, metal reducing, lipid reducing, and free radical scavenging capacities, which may be helpful in reducing the oxidative stress in the biological systems. On account of their high phytochemical content and strong antioxidant potential, these plants show several biological activities including antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti-obesity, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, and renal-protective, and anticancer activities. These plants have been found to be effective in the treatment of diabetes, stomachache, piles, skin diseases, inflammation, and cancer.

Keywords

  • Moraceae
  • Ficus
  • Phytochemical composition
  • Antioxidant potential
  • Medicinal significance

1. Introduction

Ficus is a genus of family Moraceae and consists of about 850 species. About 200 different varieties of Ficus are present as woody trees, shrubs and vines in the forests of tropical and subtropical regions [1]. About 500 species of Ficus are found in the region of Asia and Australia [2]. Some species of Ficus are also grown as indoor as well as outdoor ornamental plants. Ficus species are rich in nutritional components and used as a source food in Egypt, India, south China, Turkey and Malaysia. The plants of Ficus species are well known in the field of traditional medicine. Ficus species have been found to be rich source of phenolic acid and flavonoids which make them able to protect against disorders of oxidative stress [3]. Extract of these plants have been reported to be effective in the treatment of diabetes, stomachache, piles, ulcer, dysentery, inflammation, oxidative stress and cancer [4]. Ethno-medicinal uses of Ficus plants have been also supported by their anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic activities [5].

Ficus plants are among the earliest cultivated fruit and ornamental tree which attract birds and mammals. Ficus species, such as, Ficus carica, Ficus religiosa, Ficus benghalensis and Ficus racemosa are the most important species of this genus as a spiritual, religious and historical plants to be used as folk medicine to treat various ailments, infectious diseases and cancer [6, 7]. Various parts of Ficus religiosa, have been reported to be used to treat high fever, chronic asthma and cancer and regulate menstrual cycle [8, 9, 10, 11]. Ficus carica also known as edible fig, its fruit had been used from ancient times due to its activity against cancer, hepatomegaly, ulcer, platelets and inflammatory disorders. Leaves of Ficus carica used to treat dermatitis. It can activate potassium ATP channels and, hence, is used effectively in gut motility [12]. Ficus racemosa traditionally named as sacred fig is popular as its latex is used in treatment of ulcer, tumor, gout and aphrodisiac and fruits are used as laxative and digestive due to antitumor and antibacterial activity [13]. Ficus benghalensis commonly called Indian banyan has been reported to possess anti-insulinase, anthelmintic, and antitumor activity [14, 15]. Different species of Ficus shows different colors due to the presence of various pigments like polyphenols, flavonoids and anthocyanins. The skin of Ficus fruits contains comparatively higher content of phytochemicals and antioxidants than fruit pulp [16]. The wood of the Ficus plants contains latex like material within their vasculatures that provide protection and wound healing from physical assaults [17].

The genus Ficus is classified as:

DomainEukaryota
KingdomPlantae
SubkingdomViridaeplantae
PhylumTracheophyta
SubphylumEuphyllopsidia
Infra phylumRadiatopses
DivisionMagnoliophyte
ClassMagnoliopsida
SubclassDilleniidae
SuperorderUrticaneae
OrderUrticales
FamilyMoraceae
GenusFicus

Advertisement

2. Biochemical and nutritional composition

Since ancient times, Ficus species has been used as a source of food to improve the health of mankind [17]. Most of the species of Ficus are used in industrial products as nourishing foods. These are composed mainly of water, lipids, essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins [18]. Ficus genus worked as food additives that use frequently as health-promoting Mediterranean diet. It has great importance as nutraceutical and in biopharmaceutical industries [19]. They are known as rich sources of amino acids that are totally free from cholesterol and fat contents. Ficus carica is an excellent source of minerals containing copper, manganese, magnesium, potassium and calcium according to human needs [15, 20, 21, 22].

Advertisement

3. Phytochemicals of Ficus species

Phytochemicals are the bioactive components of plants having great importance in pharmaceutical and medicinal field. The genus Ficus consist of a variety of phytochemicals including phenolics, polyphenols, flavonoids, tannins, anthocyanins, coumarins, volatile components, glycosides, saponins, carotenoids, alkaloids, triterpenoids and vitamins. Most of these phytochemical compounds show health promoting effects in human due to their strong antioxidant potential. Higher concentrations of phytochemicals are responsible for the strong antioxidant potential of plants of genus Ficus and are helpful in the prevention of certain cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and hepatic diseases caused by oxidative stress [23]. The phytochemical quality of various parts of some of the species of Ficus is presented in Table 1. It is reported that the roots, stem bark or wood, branches, fruit pulp, peel, leaves, and seeds of different species of Ficus plant contain the flavonoids and phenolic compounds as major phytochemical components along with polyphenol, polysterols and triterpenoids. The phytochemical content of various parts of some of the species of Ficus in terms of total phenolic, flavonoids, flavonols, ascorbic acid, alkaloids, saponins and anthocyanins contents in different solvents is presented in Table 2. The leaves and fruit pulp of various species of Ficus have been found to show relatively higher concentration of phenolic components due to which these parts comparatively have greater pharmacological as well as medicinal usage.

Ficus speciesPlant partsExtracting solventClassPhytochemical componentsReferences
Ficus religiosaBarksWater, methanol, organic solvents, heliumPolysterolsBergapten, bergaptol, lanosterol, β-sitosterol, stigmasterol, β-sitosterol-d-glucoside (Phytosterolin)[24, 25]
FlavonoidsLeucocyanidin-3-O-β-glucopyranosid, leucopelargonidin-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside, leucopelargonidin-3-O-α-l-rhamnopyranoside, lupeol, cetyl behenate, acetate and α-amyrin acetate
PolyphenolsTannin, wax, saponin, leucoanthocyanidin, leucoanthocyanin
FruitWaterFlavonolsKaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin[26, 27]
Miscellaneous compoundsUndecane, tridecane, tetradecane, (e)-β-ocimene β-bourbonene, β-caryophyllene, α-trans bergamotene, α-thujene, α-pinene, β-pinene, α-terpinene, limonene, dendrolasine, dendrolasine α-ylangene, α-copaene, aromadendrene, α-humulene, alloaromadendrene, germacrene, bicycle-germacrene, γ-cadinene and δ-cadinene
LeavesEthanolPolyphenolsEugenol, 2-phenylethyl alcohol, and benzyl alcohol, hexenol, n-hexanol, phytol, benzyl alcohol[28]
Miscellaneous compoundsPhenol, salicylaldehyde, phenylacetaldehyde, allyl caproate, linalool, n-nonanal, adipoin, methylcyclopentane, 2-dione, itaconic anhydride, 2-phenylethyl alcohol, benzeneacetonitrile, nonadienal, nonen-1-ol, nonadienol, linalool oxide, catechol, coumaran, cinnamyl alcohol, vinylguaiacol, hexenyl tiglate, eugenol, hexenyl hexenoate, β-ionone, dihydroactinidiolide, α-copaene, hexenyl benzoate, eudesmol, eudesmol, epi-α-cadinol, β-eudesmol, α-eudesmol, α-cadinol, pentadecanal, palmitic acid and itaconic anhydride, 3-methylcyclopentane-1, 2-dione
Ficus auriculataLeaves and fruitsEther, chloroform and ethanolFlavonolsKaempferol, quercetin, myricetin[29]
Phenolic acidsBetulinic acid, lupeol
SterolsStigmasterol, bergapten, scopoletin, β-sitosterol-3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside
Ficus sycomorusWhole plantN-butanol, ethanol and methanolFlavonoidsQuercetin, quercetin 3-O-l-rhamnopyranosyl (1-6)-β-d-glucopyranoside, quercetin 3-O-β-d-glucopyranoside (isoquercitrin), quercetin 3,7-O-α-l-dirhamnoside, quercetin, 3-O-β-d-galactopyranosyl(1-6)-glucopyranoside[30]
Sterolβ-Sitosterol-3-β-d-glucopyranoside
Phenolic acidsGallic acid
Ficus caricaDried fruitWaterFlavonoidsAlkaloids, flavonoids, coumarins, saponins, rennin, caoutchouc, resin, albumin, cerin, sugar and terpenes[31]
LatexWaterEnzymesProteolytic enzymes, diastase, esterase, lipase, catalase, and peroxidase[32]
Phenolic acidsMalic acid
LeavesWaterCoumarinsPsoralen and bergapten[33]
FlavonoidsRutin, quercetin, and luteolin
Phenolic acidsFerulic acid
PhytosterolsTaraxasterol, psoralen and bergapten (5-methoxypsoralen)
PulpWaterPhenolic acidsChlorgenic acid
PeelWaterCoumarins and sterolQuercitin-3-O-rutinoside, psoralen
Ficus benghalensisAerial rootsWater and methanolPolyphenolsSaponins, tannins, glucoside and flavonoids[14]
Sterolβ-Sitosterol-α-d-glucose and meso-inositol
Ficus capensisStem barkWaterPolyphenolsAlkaloids, balsams, carbohydrates, flavonoids, free anthraquinones, tannins, glycosides, terpenes, resins, sterols and saponins, glycosides[34]
LeavesWaterVolatile compoundsCarvacrol, α-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, linalool, 3-tetradecanone, geranylacetone, 3,7,11-trimethyl-3-hydroxy-6;10-dodecadiene-1-yl acetate, hexahydrofarnesyl acetone, α-caryophyllene, 2-methyl-3-hexyne and scytalone[35]
Ficus polita VahlRootsWaterPhenolic acidsBetulinic acid and ursolic acid[36]
AnthocyaninsTrihydroxy-stilbene-3, 5-O-β-d-diglucopyranoside, euphol-3-ocinnamate, lupeol, taraxar-14-ene
Ficus microcarpaAerial rootsTriterpenoidsFriedelin, lupeol, oleanolic acid, ursolic acids[37]
LeavesFlavoinoidsCatechin, epicatechin and isovitexin
Ficus retusaLeavesMethanolPolyphenols1,2-Benzenedicarboxylic acid-dibutyl ester, phenol, 4-(2aminopropyl), butyrolactone[38]
Aerial partsEthanolFlavonolsLuteolin, afzelechin, catechin, vitexin, β-sitosterol acetate, β-amyrin acetate, moretenone, β-amyrin[39]
Sterolsβ-Sitosterol, friedelenol
Ficus palmataStem barkWaterAnthocyaninsCetyl behenate, lupeol, α-amyrin acetate[40]
Leaves and barkWaterSterolsβ-Sitosterol and a new tetracyclic tritepene-glaunol acetate
Ficus thunbergiiFresh leaves and stemMethanolAnthocyaninsAmyrin acetate, α-amyrin acetate, lupeol, β-amyrin, α-amyrin, rhoiptelenol, 3α-hydroxyisohop-22(29)-en-24-oic acid, lupenyl acetate[41]
Phenolic acidsUrsolic acid, betulinic acid
Ficus cordataStem barkWaterTerpenesPentacyclic triterpenes 8,26-cyclo-urs-21-en3β, 20β-diol and 3β-acetoxy-8, 26-cyclo-ursan-20β-ol and also 3-friedelanone[42]
Phenolic acidsOleanolic acid, betulinic acid
AnthocyaninsLupeol acetate, α and β amyrine, 3,5,7,4′-tetra hydroxyl flavones
Ficus deltoideaLeavesHot and cold waterFlavonolsTriterpene, conrauidienol, and dihydroflavonol, conrauiflavonol, 3,4’,5-trihydroxy-6’’,6’’-dimethylpyrano[2,3-g]flavone[43, 44, 45]
Anthocyaninβ-amyrin acetate, 6β-hydroxystigmasta-4,22-dien-3-one, 8-prenylapigenin
Phenolic acidBetulinic acid, ursolic acid
FlavonoidsLuteolin, catechin, epigallocatechin, orientin
Sterolβ-Sitosterol glucoside
Ficus tsielaWhole plantWaterPhenolic acidGallic acid[46]
Anthocyanin3, β-hydroksilup-20(29)-en, (lupeol)
PolyphenolsCarbohydrates, glycosides, saponins, resins, fat, flavonoids, tannins, and phenolic compounds. Alkaloids and steroid were absent[47]

Table 1.

Phytochemical quality of various parts of commonly used species of Ficus.

Ficus speciesPlant partsESTPCTFCTFAACTACTSCTAReferences
Ficus benghalensisRootsEthanol70 mg/g extract5 mg QE/g extract3 mg QE/g extract[48]
Ficus deltoideaPulpWater0.49–0.88 mg GAE/g[49]
Ficus microcarpaLeavesHexane6.6–9.5 M/TE[50]
F virensDried leavesHexane17.44 mg/g3.87 mg/g[51]
F racemosaDried leavesMethanol7.83 mg/g1.05 mg/g[51]
Ficus caricaFruitEthanol28.6–211.19 mg GAE/100 g FW, 11.9 mg/g of DM2.75 μg CE/mg sample9.6%0.59%0.0–298.6 μg cy-3-rutinoside/g FW[52, 53]
Ficus deltoideaFruitHexane259.2 mg GAE/g[54]
Methanol245.2 mg GAE/g
Chloroform159.2 mg GAE/g
Ficus indicaPulpMethanol28–30 mg/100 g extract[55]

Table 2.

Phytochemical content of various parts of commonly used species of Ficus.

ES: extracting solvents, TPC: total phenolic content, TFC: total flavonoid content, TF: total flavonols, AAC: ascorbic acid content, TAC: total alkaloid content, TSC: total saponin content, TA: total anthocyanins, DM: dried material, QE: quercetin equivalent, TE: trolox equivalent, ep: edible pulp, GAE: gallic acid equivalent, FW: fresh weight.

Advertisement

4. Antioxidant composition

Antioxidants are the substances which can scavenge free radicals and reduce the oxidative stress in the living and nonliving systems. The antioxidants possess electron donating ability and inhibit the free radical-mediated oxidative reactions by various mechanisms, such as, hydrogen donation, metal chelation, metal and lipid reduction, inhibition of lipid peroxidation and free radical inhibition [56, 57, 58, 59, 60]. Free radicals are the reactive oxygen and nitrogen species which are produced during various biochemical reactions particularly redox reactions. If not controlled properly, these free radicals may initiate the chain reactions in the biomolecules particularly the lipids and protein, cause the oxidative stress, and finally lead to the oxidative damage to the cell organelles, cells and tissues [24]. The oxidative damage to the cells and tissues may further lead to various health problems including cardiovascular, neurological, hepatic, and musculoskeletal abnormalities and aging. In nonliving system, the free radicals cause oxidative stress and rancidity in the food stuff for human [25]. The naturally occurring antioxidant compounds have been proved to be effective in preventing the oxidative damage to the living and nonliving systems [26]. These substances are either synthesized endogenously or taken from exogenous natural sources such as plants. The naturally occurring antioxidants include some enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, catalase, superoxide dismutase and some non-enzymatic phytochemicals compounds including phenolic acids, polyphenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, ascorbic acid, tocopherols, and β-carotenes [27, 28]. Some synthetic antioxidant compounds have been also reported to be effective against free radical-induced oxidative damage [29].

The antioxidant profile of various parts of Ficus species is presented in Table 3. Different parts of Ficus plants have been reported to showed antioxidant activity in terms of Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, ferric reducing antioxidant power, lipid reducing activity, inhibition of lipid peroxidation, and free radical scavenging capacity against 2,2-diphenyl picryl hydrazyl (DPPH) and 2,2-azino-bis (3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) radicals in a dose dependent vstronger antioxidant activity due to relatively higher concentration of phenolic components [30].

Ficus speciesPartESTEAC*FRACDPPH-RSCABT-RSCILPLRAReferences
Ficus racemosaStemMethanol16.2%8615.3 mmol/g DM[61]
BarkEthanol79%10884.6 μmol/g DM
RootsWater0.5–0.26 mg/ml
Ficus virens sublanceolataLeavesWater0.13–0.66 mg/mlIC50: 0.34 mg/mlIC50: 0.23 mg/ml83.30%[51]
Ficus vasculosaLeavesMethanol0.07–0.26 mg/mlIC50: 0.69 mg/mlIC50: 0.97 mg/ml[51]
Ficus indicaMouse liverNormal saline4.20–5.31 μmol TE/g epEC50: 313.3 μg/ml[55, 62]
Chicken liverNormal salineEC50: 333.8 μg/ml
Ficus callosaFruitMethanol0.08–0.33 mg/mlIC50: 0.95 mg/mlIC50: 0.35 mg/ml41–83%[51]
Ficus palmateFruitMethanol77.6 mg AC/100 g FW104.9 mg CE/100 g FW577.09 mg BH/100 g FW[63, 64]
Ethanol146.67 mg AC/100 g FW146.9 mg CE/100 g FW729.45 mg BH/100 g F W
Ficus auriculataRootsAcetone0.1–0.45 mg/mlIC50: 0.29 mg/mlIC50: 0.25 mg/ml41–83%[51]
Ficus virensBarkWater0.06–0.32 mg/mlIC50: 1.03 mg/mlIC50: 0.48 mg/ml[51]
LeavesMethanolSC50 (74.00 μg/ml)[65]
Ficus oligodonLeavesAcetone0.04–0.22 mg/mlIC50: 2.54 mg/mlIC50: 0.86 mg/ml41.40%[51]
Ficus benghalensisAerial rootsMethanol71%6096.1 μmol/g DM[61, 66]
Acetone, Water0.1–1.0 mg/ml96.07%6182.7 μmol/g DM
Ficus auriculataStem barkMethanol84.088%[67]
Stem barkChloroform83.864%
Stem barkHexane42%
Ficus caprefoliaLeavesAcetone2.32%, 4.73 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus caricaLeavesHexane, water14.04%, 23.50 acetate/g DW7.9–16.1 mmol/kg FW11.42 mmol/100 g DW6.48 mmol/100 g DW[52, 69, 70]
Ficus caricaFruitDichloromethaneIC50: 0.02 mg/ml[71]
N hexaneIC50: 1.64 mg/ml
Ficus glomerataRoot, BarkWaterIC50: 1.62–47.50 μg/mlIC50: 0.91–6.48 μg/ml86.13%[72]
Ficus cordataLeavesAcetone2.65%, 8.23 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus pumila LLeavesEthanolSC50 > 0.4 mmol/100 g DW[73]
Ficus surBarkWater489.4 mg GAE/g DW104.57 μmol FSE/mg DE56.50 QE/mg DE[74]
Unripe fruit62.34 GAE/g DW19.61 μmol FSE/mg DW7.3 QE/mg DE
Ficus craterostomaLeavesAcetone2.60%, 9.80 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus religiosaFruitMethanol55.9%93.91%[75]
Ficus deltoideaFruitWater5.89 mg GAE/g DW1.82 mmol FSE/g DEIC50 = 111.20 μg/ml1.01–1.04 mmol TE/g DE[76]
Ficus glumosaLeavesAcetone2.60%, 19.24 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus microcarpaBarkEthyl acetate436 mg GAE/g DW63.2 μg/ml1.2 μg/ml4.83 μg/ml[71]
LeavesEthanol86.13%
Hexane86.76%
Ficus cunninghamiiLeavesEthanol90.70%[71]
Hexane88.97%
Ficus mysorensisLeavesEthanol90.13%[71]
Hexane94.38%
Ficus microcarpaFruitWater organic solvents17.9 g GAE/g DW[22]
Ficus lyrata WarbLeavesEthanolSC50 (8.27, 12.14 μg/ml)80.41%[65]
MethanolSC50 (38.37 mg/ml)[65]
Ficus nitida L.Dried leavesMethanolSC50 (61.67 μg/ml)[65]
Ficus afzelii G.PulpMethanolSC50 (60.22 μg/ml)[65]
Ficus decora HortLeavesMethanolSC50 (81.62 μg/ml)[65]
Ficus luteaLeavesAcetone3.70%, 56.85 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus natalensisLeavesAcetone2.35%, 4.75 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus politaLeavesAcetone3.15%, 8.04 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus religiosaLeavesAcetone2.45%,5.40 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus sycomorusLeavesAcetone, hexane and methanol2.60%, 12.33 mg GAE/g DWSC50 (79.50 μg/ml)82.35%[65, 68]
Ficus thonningiiLeavesAcetone2.40%, 4.64 mg GAE/g DW[68]
Ficus macrophyllaLeavesEthanol86.40%[71]

Table 3.

Antioxidant potential of extracts from various parts of Ficus species.

ES: extracting solvent, ABTS-RSC: azino-bis-tetrazolium sulfate radical scavenging capacity, DE: dry extract, DM: dry matter, DPPH-RSC: 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging capacity, DW: dry weight, FRAC: ferric-reducing antioxidant capacity, FSE: ferrous sulfate equivalent, FW: fresh weight, GAE: gallic acid equivalent, IC50: inhibitory concentration required for 50% inhibition, QE: quercetin equivalent, SC50: scavenging concentration for required for 50% scavenging, TEAC: trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity, TE: trolox equivalent, BH: butylated hydroxyanisole, FW: fruit weight, CE: catechin equivalents, ILP: inhibition of lipid peroxidation, LRA: lipid reducing ability.


Advertisement

5. Biological activities

On the basis of their phytochemical composition and antioxidant profile, Ficus species have been found to show several biological activities (Table 4). The studied species of Ficus plants were found to possess anticancer, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, antitumor, antioxidant, anthelmintic, analgesic, antimicrobial activity, anti-parasitic, hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-ulcerogenic, mucoprotective, gastroprotective, antifungal, antiviral, antimalarial, and antiparasitic activities [43, 69]. However, the antibacterial activity has been found to be more common in different species of Ficus.

Ficus speciesPlant partExtracting solventActivityReferences
Ficus racemosaWholeEthanolAnticancer activity by reduction of lipid peroxidation, γ-glutamyl transpeptidase and xanthine oxidase and by generation of hydrogen peroxide[77]
BarkMethanolHepatoprotective activity by reducing the activities of ALT, AST and ALP[4]
WholeEthanolHypoglycemic activity by decreasing blood glucose level[4]
Ficus religiosaFruitWaterAntitumor activity due to blockage of calcium uptake in pituitary cells[13]
WholeWaterAntioxidant and antidiabetic activity with lowering the superoxide dismutase exaggerated activity[78]
WholeMethanolAnthelmintic activity with 100% effectiveness[79]
WholeWaterAntimicrobial activity with inhibition zone against B. subtilis[4]
BarkMethanolAnti-parasitic effect with 100% lethality for Haemonchus contortus worms[79]
Ficus benghalensisBarkWaterAntioxidant and hypolipidemic activity by reduction in lipid peroxidation, cholesterol level and triacylglycerol[80]
FruitWaterAnticancer and antibacterial activity but no antifungal activity[81]
RootsVarious polarity solventsAnti-inflammatory and analgesic activity[82]
WholeMethanolAnti-inflammatory and analgesic activity due to inhibition of malanodialdehyde formation[82]
Ficus hispidaRootsMethanolAntiulcerogenic activity with cytoprotective nature of constituents[83]
Ficus arnottianaLeafsMethanolMucoprotective activity and gastric antisecretory[23]
Ficus caricaLeavesMethanolHepatoprotective activity with decrease in lipid peroxides with cytochrome p450 complex inhibition
Ficus glomerataFruitEthanolGastroprotective effect[84]
FruitPhenolAnti ulcerogenic, antimutagenic and anti cancerogenic compounds[84]
Ficus polita VahlWholeWaterAntiviral activity due to inhibition of reverse transcriptase activity of HIV-1[85]
LeavesWaterAntimalarial action against Plasmodium falciparum.[86]
Ficus lyrataLeavesWater, ethanolSignificant antibacterial activity[35]
LeavesWaterActivate against standard human pathogenic yeasts strains[87]
Ficus TsielaLeavesDiethyl etherAnti-pneumonia activity[88]
Ficus sycomorus LLeavesWaterSignificant antibacterial activity but no antifungal activity[35]
Ficus deltoideaLeaves and fruitsAlcoholAntifungal and antibacterial activities[89]
Ficus platyphyllaStem barkWaterAntimicrobial activities against S. aureus[65]
Ficus thonningiiLeafWaterSignificant antimicrobial effect[90]
Ficus luteaLeavesAcetoneAct as potent inhibitor of α-amylase[68]

Table 4.

Biological activities of extracts from various parts of Ficus species.

Advertisement

6. Medicinal importance

Ficus species have been used as traditional medicines to cure diseases, such as, astringents carminatives, stomachic, vermicides, hypotensive, anthelmintic and anti-dysentery drugs [18]. Ficus species, such as, Ficus racemosa, F. glomerata, F. glumosa, F. carica, F. religiosa and F. benghalensis are known from ancient times as herbal medicines to treat diabetic disorders as regulating enzymatic activities, carbohydrates absorption rate, increasing insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, hepatic glycogen synthesis, peripheral glucose uptake and antioxidant status of body [19]. The extracts of these species also reduce oxidative stress by improving weight gain in diabetic male rats [20]. Aqueous bark extract of F. benghalensis have been found to be active in lowering the cholesterol level in hypercholesterolemic rats [14, 15]. Methanolic extract of F. carica leaves prevent elevation of lipid peroxide in rats by acting as hepatoprotective agent [21]. Methanolic extracts of F. hispida roots exhibit anti ulcerogenic activity due to higher concentration of flavonoids in roots. Methanolic leaf extract of F. arnottiana exhibits both mucoprotective as well as gastric antisecretory activities due to antioxidant constituents [22, 23].

Almost all of the Ficus species belonging to family Moraceae haven traditionally used as folk medicine to cure respiratory disorders and skin diseases. The roots of Ficus species are important to treat gout and gums diseases that have anthelmintic activity. Fruit of Ficus species, such as, F. carica, F. hispida, F. microcarpa and F. sycomorus has been found to be helpful improving digestion or treating vomiting. Dried powder of bark has importance to treat burns or Asthma [4]. F. benjamina exhibits antitumor activity or antibacterial activity but is unable to work on fungal disorders [13, 14]. Leaves of F. religiosa exhibit hypotensive activity and help in treating the gastrointestinal problems [9, 56, 57]. Bark of F. religiosa shows hypoglycemic activity and is used against gonorrhea, bleeding, paralysis, diarrhea, bone fracture, antiseptic, astringent and antidote [58, 59]. It has been also used against liver disorders, hemorrhoid, urinary tract infections and inflammatory conditions by different mechanisms [60].

Advertisement

7. Conclusion

All species of Ficus plant possess antioxidant potential due to higher concentration of phytochemical compounds. They have a valuable role in human nutrition or have a great medicinal importance due the presence of a variety of bioactive phytochemical compounds. The principal phytochemicals present in Ficus species are polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, anthocyanins, glycosides, carotenoids, and some water-soluble vitamins. The presence of these phytochemicals makes Ficus a medicinal plant which shows various biological activities particularly the antioxidant activity. On the account of its high antioxidant potential, all parts of Ficus plant can be used for the management of oxidative stress and the treatment of various diseases.

Advertisement

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest regarding this chapter.

References

  1. 1. Awad NE et al. Hypolipidaemic and antioxidant activities of Ficus microcarpa (L.) in hypercholesterolemic rats. Natural Product Research. 2011;25(12):1202-1207
  2. 2. Al-Aboudi A, Afifi FU. Plants used for the treatment of diabetes in Jordan: A review of scientific evidence. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2011;49(3):221-239
  3. 3. Sirisha N et al. Antioxidant properties of Ficus species—A review. International Journal of PharmTech Research. 2010;2(4):2174-2182
  4. 4. Joseph B, Raj SJ. Phytopharmacological and phytochemical properties of three Ficus species—An overview. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. 2010;1(4):246-253
  5. 5. Khedr AI et al. Panduramides A-D, new ceramides from Ficus pandurata fruits. Phytochemistry Letters. 2018;23:100-105
  6. 6. Shanahan M et al. Fig-eating by vertebrate frugivores: A global review. Biological Reviews. 2001;76(4):529-572
  7. 7. Wilson D, Wilson A. Figs as a global spiritual and material resource for humans. Human Ecology. 2013;41(3):459-464
  8. 8. Prasad P et al. Medico-historical study of “aśvattha” (sacred fig tree). Bulletin of the Indian Institute of History of Medicine (Hyderabad). 2006;36(1):1-20
  9. 9. Ghimire K, Bastakoti RR. Ethnomedicinal knowledge and healthcare practices among the Tharus of Nawalparasi district in Central Nepal. Forest Ecology and Management. 2009;257(10):2066-2072
  10. 10. Shah N. Herbal folk medicines in northern India. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 1982;6(3):293-301
  11. 11. Singh A, Raghubanshi A, Singh J. Medical ethnobotany of the tribals of Sonaghati of Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, India. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2002;81(1):31-41
  12. 12. Gilani AH et al. Ethnopharmacological studies on antispasmodic and antiplatelet activities of Ficus carica. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2008;119(1):1-5
  13. 13. Mousa O et al. Bioactivity of certain Egyptian Ficus species. Planta Medica. 1992;58(S1):632-633
  14. 14. Aswar M et al. Anthelmintic activity of Ficus benghalensis. International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP). 2008;2(3):170-172
  15. 15. Shukla R et al. Antioxidant effect of aqueous extract of the bark of Ficus benghalensis in hypercholesterolaemic rabbits. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2004;92(1):47-51
  16. 16. Solomon A et al. Antioxidant activities and anthocyanin content of fresh fruits of common fig (Ficus carica L.). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2006;54(20):7717-7723
  17. 17. Lansky EP et al. Ficus spp. (fig): Ethnobotany and potential as anticancer and anti-inflammatory agents. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2008;119(2):195-213
  18. 18. Trivedi C, Shinde S, Sharma R. Preliminary phytochemical and pharmacological studies on Ficus racemosa (Gular). The Indian Journal of Medical Research. 1969;57(6):1070-1074
  19. 19. Deepa P et al. A role of Ficus species in the management of diabetes mellitus: A review. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2018;215:210-232
  20. 20. You T, Nicklas BJ. Chronic inflammation: Role of adipose tissue and modulation by weight loss. Current Diabetes Reviews. 2006;2(1):29-37
  21. 21. Mohan GK et al. Hepatoprotective activity of Ficus carica Linn leaf extract against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. DARU Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2007;15(3):162-166
  22. 22. Ao C et al. Evaluation of antioxidant and antibacterial activities of Ficus microcarpa L. fil. extract. Food Control. 2008;19(10):940-948
  23. 23. Gregory M et al. Anti-ulcer (ulcer-preventive) activity of Ficus arnottiana Miq. (Moraceae) leaf methanolic extract. American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology. 2009;4(3):89-93
  24. 24. Al-Snafi AE. Pharmacology of Ficus religiosa-a review. IOSR Journal of Pharmacy. 2017;7(3):49-60
  25. 25. Rajiv P, Sivaraj R. Screening for phytochemicals and antimicrobial activity of aqueous extract of Ficus religiosa Linn. International Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2012;4(5):207-209
  26. 26. Grison-Pigé L et al. Fig volatile compounds—A first comparative study. Phytochemistry. 2002;61(1):61-71
  27. 27. Makhija IK, Sharma IP, Khamar D. Phytochemistry and pharmacological properties of Ficus religiosa: An overview. Annals of Biological Research. 2010;1(4):171-180
  28. 28. Poudel A, Satyal P, Setzer WN. Composition and bioactivities of the leaf essential oil of Ficus religiosa Linn. American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products. 2015;2(3):16-17
  29. 29. El-Fishawy A, Zayed R, Afifi S. Phytochemical and pharmacological studies of Ficus auriculata Lour. Journal of Natural Products. 2011;4:184-195
  30. 30. Mohamed AE-HH et al. Chemical constituents and biological activities of Artemisia herba-alba. Records of Natural Products. 2010;4:1
  31. 31. Vaya J, Mahmood S. Flavonoid content in leaf extracts of the fig (Ficus carica L.), carob (Ceratonia siliqua L.) and pistachio (Pistacia lentiscus L.). BioFactors. 2006;28(3-4):169-175
  32. 32. Aref HL et al. In vitro antimicrobial activity of four Ficus carica latex fractions against resistant human pathogens (antimicrobial activity of Ficus carica latex). Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2010;23(1):53-58
  33. 33. Jeong M-R, Kim H-Y, Cha J-D. Antimicrobial activity of methanol extract from Ficus carica leaves against oral bacteria. Journal of Bacteriology and Virology. 2009;39(2):97-102
  34. 34. Oyeleke S, Dauda B, Boye O. Antibacterial activity of Ficus capensis. African Journal of Biotechnology. 2008;7(10):1414-1417
  35. 35. Salem MZ et al. Antimicrobial activities and phytochemical composition of extracts of Ficus species: An over view. African Journal of Microbiology Research. 2013;7(33):4207-4219
  36. 36. Kuete V et al. Antimicrobial activities of the methanol extract, fractions and compounds from Ficus polita Vahl. (Moraceae). BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011;11(1):6
  37. 37. Chiang Y-M, Kuo Y-H. Novel triterpenoids from the aerial roots of Ficus microcarpa. The Journal of Organic Chemistry. 2002;67(22):656-7661
  38. 38. Aly HI et al. The value-added uses of Ficus retusa and Dalbergia sissoo grown in Egypt: GC/MS analysis of extracts. Journal of Forest Products & Industries. 2013;2(3):34-41
  39. 39. Sarg TM et al. Two new polyphenolic compounds from Ficus retusa L. variegata and the biological activity of the different plant extracts. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. 2011;3(7):89-100
  40. 40. Mubashir S, Shah WA. Phytochemical and pharmacological review profile of Adiantum venustum. International Journal of PharmTech Research. 2011;3:827-830
  41. 41. Kitajima J, Arai M, Tanaka Y. Triterpenoid constituents of Ficus thunbergii. Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin. 1994;42(3):608-610
  42. 42. Poumale HM et al. Pentacyclic triterpenes and other constituents from Ficus cordata (Moraceae). Zeitschrift fuer Naturforschung B. 2008;63(11):1335-1338
  43. 43. Abdel-Hameed E-SS et al. Phytochemicals, nutritionals and antioxidant properties of two prickly pear cactus cultivars (Opuntia ficus-indica Mill.) growing in Taif, KSA. Food Chemistry. 2014;160:31-38
  44. 44. Kengap RT et al. Isoprenoids and flavonoids with antimicrobial activity from Ficus conraui Warburg (Moraceae). Helvetica Chimica Acta. 2011;94(12):2231-2238
  45. 45. Omar MH, Mullen W, Crozier A. Identification of proanthocyanidin dimers and trimers, flavone C-glycosides, and antioxidants in Ficus deltoidea, a Malaysian herbal tea. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2011;59(4):1363-1369
  46. 46. Hakiman M et al. Total antioxidant, polyphenol, phenolic acid, and flavonoid content in Ficus deltoidea varieties. Journal of Medicinal Plant Research. 2012;6(33):4776-4784
  47. 47. Bunawan H et al. Ficus deltoidea Jack: A review on its phytochemical and pharmacological importance. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2014;2014:1-9
  48. 48. Kumari M, Sharma A, Jagannadham M. Religiosin B, a milk-clotting serine protease from Ficus religiosa. Food Chemistry. 2012;131(4):1295-1303
  49. 49. Suryati S et al. Structure elucidation of antibacterial compound from Ficus deltoidea Jack leaves. Indonesian Journal of Chemistry. 2011;11(1):67-70
  50. 50. Van Kiem P et al. Antioxidant activity of a new C-glycosylflavone from the leaves of Ficus microcarpa. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry Letters. 2011;21(2):633-637
  51. 51. Shi Y-X et al. Preliminary assessment of antioxidant activity of young edible leaves of seven Ficus species in the ethnic diet in Xishuangbanna, Southwest China. Food Chemistry. 2011;128(4):889-894
  52. 52. Çalişkan O, Polat AA. Phytochemical and antioxidant properties of selected fig (Ficus carica L.) accessions from the eastern Mediterranean region of Turkey. Scientia Horticulturae. 2011;128(4):473-478
  53. 53. Meshram MS, Itankar P, Patil A. To study pharmacognostic, physicochemical and phytochemical study of stem bark of bauhinia purpurea linn. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2014;2:19-22
  54. 54. Aris SRS et al. Phenolic content and antioxidant activity of fruits of Ficus deltoidea var angustifolia sp. The Malaysian Journal of Analytical Sciences. 2009;13(2):146-150
  55. 55. Butera D et al. Antioxidant activities of Sicilian prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) fruit extracts and reducing properties of its betalains: Betanin and indicaxanthin. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2002;50(23):6895-6901
  56. 56. Ayinde BA, Omogbai E, Amaechina FC. Pharmacognosy and hypotensive evaluation of Ficus exasperata Vahl (Moraceae) leaf. Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica. 2007;64(6):543-546
  57. 57. Rout S, Panda T, Mishra N. Ethno-medicinal plants used to cure different diseases by tribals of Mayurbhanj district of North Orissa. Studies on Ethno-Medicine. 2009;3(1):27-32
  58. 58. Mazumder PM, Farswan M, Parcha V. Hypoglycaemic effect of Ficus arnottiana Miq. bark extracts on streptozotocin induced diabetes in rats. Natural Product Radiance. 2009;8(5):478-482
  59. 59. Singh D, Goel RK. Anticonvulsant effect of Ficus religiosa: Role of serotonergic pathways. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2009;123(2):330-334
  60. 60. Ahmed F, Urooj A. Traditional uses, medicinal properties, and phytopharmacology of Ficus racemosa: A review. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2010;48(6):672-681
  61. 61. Manian R et al. The antioxidant activity and free radical scavenging potential of two different solvent extracts of Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntz, Ficus benghalensis L. and Ficus racemosa L. Food Chemistry. 2008;107(3):1000-1007
  62. 62. Zhong X-K et al. Chemical analysis and antioxidant activities in vitro of polysaccharide extracted from Opuntia ficus-indica Mill. cultivated in China. Carbohydrate Polymers. 2010;82(3):722-727
  63. 63. Saini R, Garg V, Dangwal K. Comparative study of three wild edible fruits of Uttrakhand for antioxidant, antiproliferative activities and polyphenolic composition. International Journal of Pharma and Bio Sciences. 2012;3(4):158-167
  64. 64. Alqasoumi SI et al. Phytochemical and pharmacological study of Ficus palmata growing in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. 2014;22(5):460-471
  65. 65. Abdel-Hameed E-SS. Total phenolic contents and free radical scavenging activity of certain Egyptian Ficus species leaf samples. Food Chemistry. 2009;114(4):1271-1277
  66. 66. Gupta VK, Sharma SK. In vitro antioxidant activities of aqueous extract of Ficus benghalensis Linn. root. International Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2010;4(3):134-140
  67. 67. Gaire BP et al. Phytochemical screening and analysis of antibacterial and antioxidant activity of Ficus auriculata (Lour.) stem bark. Pharmacognosy Journal. 2011;3(21):49-55
  68. 68. Olaokun OO et al. Evaluation of the inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolysing enzymes, antioxidant activity and polyphenolic content of extracts of ten African Ficus species (Moraceae) used traditionally to treat diabetes. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;13(1):94
  69. 69. Konyalιoğlu S, Sağlam H, Kιvçak B. α-Tocopherol, flavonoid, and phenol contents and antioxidant activity of Ficus carica. leaves. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2005;43(8):683-686
  70. 70. Piluzza G, Bullitta S. Correlations between phenolic content and antioxidant properties in twenty-four plant species of traditional ethnoveterinary use in the Mediterranean area. Pharmaceutical Biology. 2011;49(3):240-247
  71. 71. Awad NE et al. Phytochemical and in vitro screening of some Ficus and Morus spp. for hypolipidaemic and antioxidant activities and in vivo assessment of Ficus mysorensis (Roth). Natural Product Research. 2012;26(12):1101-1111
  72. 72. Channabasavaraj KP, Badami S, Bhojraj S. Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of methanol extract of Ficus glomerata. Journal of Natural Medicines. 2008;62(3):379-383
  73. 73. Leong CNA et al. Antioxidant flavonoid glycosides from the leaves of Ficus pumila L. Food Chemistry. 2008;109(2):415-420
  74. 74. Saloufou KI et al. Chemical composition and antioxidant activities of different parts of Ficus sur. Journal of Herbmed Pharmacology. 2018;7(3):185-192
  75. 75. Sultana B, Anwar F, Ashraf M. Effect of extraction solvent/technique on the antioxidant activity of selected medicinal plant extracts. Molecules. 2009;14(6):2167-2180
  76. 76. Misbah H, Aziz AA, Aminudin N. Antidiabetic and antioxidant properties of Ficus deltoidea fruit extracts and fractions. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;13(1):118
  77. 77. Khan N, Sultana S. Modulatory effect of Ficus racemosa: Diminution of potassium bromate-induced renal oxidative injury and cell proliferation response. Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. 2005;97(5):282-288
  78. 78. Kirana H, Agrawal S, Srinivasan B. Aqueous extract of Ficus religiosa Linn. reduces oxidative stress in experimentally induced type 2 diabetic rats. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology. 2009;47:822-826
  79. 79. Iqbal Z et al. In vitro anthelmintic activity of Allium sativum, Zingiber officinale, Curcurbita mexicana and Ficus religiosa. International Journal of Agriculture and Biology. 2001;3(4):454-457
  80. 80. Geetha B, Mathew B, Augusti K. Hypoglycemic effects of leucodelphinidin derivative isolated from Ficus benghalensis (Linn.). Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology. 1994;38:220-220
  81. 81. Sharma S et al. Evaluation of the phytochemicals and antidiabetic activity of Ficus benghalensis. International Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries. 2007;27(2):56-59
  82. 82. Patil V, Pimprikar R. Pharmacognostical studies and evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of Ficus benghalensis Linn. Journal of Young Pharmacists. 2009;1(1):49
  83. 83. Sivaraman D, Muralidharan P. Anti-ulcerogenic evaluation of root extract of Ficus hispida Linn. in aspirin ulcerated rats. African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2010;4(2):079-082
  84. 84. Rao CV et al. Gastroprotective effect of standardized extract of Ficus glomerata fruit on experimental gastric ulcers in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2008;115(2):323-326
  85. 85. Ayisi NK, Nyadedzor C. Comparative in vitro effects of AZT and extracts of Ocimum gratissimum, Ficus polita, Clausena anisata, Alchornea cordifolia, and Elaeophorbia drupifera against HIV-1 and HIV-2 infections. Antiviral Research. 2003;58(1):25-33
  86. 86. Gbeassor M et al. In vitro antimalarial activity of six medicinal plants. Phytotherapy Research. 1990;4(3):115-117
  87. 87. Tkachenko H et al. In vitro antimicrobial activity of ethanolic extracts obtained from Ficus spp. leaves against the fish pathogen Aeromonas hydrophila. Archives of Polish Fisheries. 2016;24(4):219-230
  88. 88. Fazili A et al. Nutritional status of school age children (5-14 years) in a rural health block of North India (Kashmir) using WHO Z-score system. Online Journal of Health and Allied Science. 2012;11(2):1-3
  89. 89. Kamazeri TSAT et al. Antimicrobial activity and essential oils of Curcuma aeruginosa, Curcuma mangga, and Zingiber cassumunar from Malaysia. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. 2012;5(3):202-209
  90. 90. Oyelana O et al. Antimicrobial activity of Ficus leaf extracts on some fungal and bacterial pathogens of Dioscorea rotundata from Southwest Nigeria. Journal of Biological Sciences. 2011;11(5):359-366

Written By

Haq Nawaz, Rashem Waheed and Mubashir Nawaz

Submitted: 14 January 2019 Reviewed: 26 April 2019 Published: 27 November 2019