Open access peer-reviewed chapter - ONLINE FIRST

Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant Potential, and Medicinal Significance of Ficus

By Haq Nawaz, Rashem Waheed and Mubashir Nawaz

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

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.86562

Downloaded: 9

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 genusFicus is classified

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

as:

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].

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.

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.


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.

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].

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.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest regarding this chapter.

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Haq Nawaz, Rashem Waheed and Mubashir Nawaz (November 27th 2019). Phytochemical Composition, Antioxidant Potential, and Medicinal Significance of <em>Ficus</em> [Online First], IntechOpen, DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.86562. Available from:

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