Cluster Fig; Nutritional Value, Health Benefits, Recipes

Cluster Fig
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Cluster fig tree is a sacred, large tree distributed throughout India. It is one of the tree of four trees of the Nalpamara or Nalpamaram in Ayurveda (other three are Ficus microcarpa/Plaksah, Ficus relegiosa/Peepal, Ficus benghalensis/Bargad). Goolar tree leaves, fruits, root and bark are used to treat various diseases.

Ficus racemosa (syn. Ficus glomerata Roxb.) is a species of plant in the family Moraceae. Popularly known as the cluster fig tree, Indian fig tree or goolar (gular) fig, this is native to Australia, Malesia, Indo-China and the Indian subcontinent. It is unusual in that its figs grow on or close to the tree trunk, termed cauliflory. In India, the tree and its fruit are called gular in the north and atti in the south. The fruits are a favourite staple of the common Indian macaque. It serves as a food plant for the caterpillars of the two-brand crow butterfly (Euploea sylvester) of northern Australia.[1]

The latex is applied topically on cuts, boils, muscular pain, pimples, scabies, haemorrhoids etc. The fruits are edible and full of nutrition. Fruits are cooling, cardiac tonic and useful in urinary diseases, bile disorders, menstrual disorders. The leaves fresh juice or decoction is used in treatment of many diseases. The description of Udumbara or Gular tree is even given in Ved. Rig Veda mentions it as a tree that cures piles, internal wounds, removes impurities from blood, worms from alimentary canal. Atharvaveda describes its usefulness in skin diseases like leprosy, sinus, oedema, impurities of blood and in piles. Bhavaprakasha mentions it is useful in treatment of pimples and wounds.

Nutritional Value of Cluster Fig

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 74 Kcal 4%
Carbohydrates 19.18 g 15%
Protein 0.75 g 1.5%
Total Fat 0.30 g 1%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Dietary Fiber 2.9 g 7%
Vitamins
Folates 6 µg 1.5%
Niacin 0.400 mg 2.5%
Pantothenic acid 0.300 mg 6%
Pyridoxine 0.113 mg 9%
Riboflavin 0.050 mg 4%
Thiamin 0.060 5%
Vitamin A 142 IU 5%
Vitamin C 2 mg 3%
Vitamin E 0.11 mg 1%
Vitamin K 4.7 µg 4%
Electrolytes
Sodium 1 mg 0%
Potassium 232 mg 5%
Minerals
Calcium 35 mg 3.5%
Copper 0.070 mg 8%
Iron 0.37 mg 5%
Magnesium 17 mg 4%
Manganese 0.128 mg 5.5%
Selenium 0.2 µg <1%
Zinc 0.15 mg 1%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-ß 85 µg --
Lutein-zeaxanthin 9 µg --
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Health Benefits of Cluster fig

Cluster fig is loaded with various medicinal properties which is beneficial for the health. It consists of phytochemicals which helps to prevent and aid the diseases. It is used to treat muscular pain, pimples, boils, cuts, hemorrhoids etc. It is anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-asthmatic, antiulcer, anti-diarrheal and anti-pyretic action. The juice extracted from the fruit is used to treat hiccups.

  • Production of RBC - Vitamin B2 is required to produce fresh red blood cells as well as antibodies in the body which helps to increase the oxygenation and circulation to the various organs of the body. (1
  • Prevent anemia - Iron helps to cure anemia which is experienced by the women during menstruation or pregnancy. The lost red blood cells should be replaced with new red blood cells for which one should consume adequate amount of iron which is essential for the women in that points. Anemia is caused due to the deficiency of iron in the human body. About millions of people in the world are suffering from anemia. It has become a common problem. (2)
  • Mental performance - The adequate amount of iron helps the one to provide energy and focus concentration which helps to enhance the mental and cognitive performance. It helps to increase the blood flow to the brain due to the activity of iron’s red blood cell. [3]
  • Sleeping disorders - Iron helps to treat insomnia and enhance the sleeping quality and habits by regulating the circadian rhythms. Due to the proper count of red blood cells, it leads to the fluctuation in blood pressure which could be a cause for awakening at night. [4]
  • Produces energy - Copper is required for the adenosine triphosphate synthesis which is a storehouse of energy in the human body. The intracellular production of energy is affected by the cytochrome c oxidase and cuproenzyme. It performs as a catalyst which helps to reduce the molecular oxygen to water, during those enzymes produce the electrical gradient which is used by mitochondria in order to synthesize the important energy storing molecule called ATP. The adequate amount of copper in the body assists in the proper functions and energy without having the feel of tired or lethargic. (5)
  • Enhance immunity - Copper is essential for the healing process and promotes healing of wounds. It builds the immunity and acts as an aid for anemia, which permits the body to heal and defend faster. It is essential for the enzymatic processes that helps in the endothelial growth or the tissue healing process. (6)
  • Prevent stroke - Potassium plays a vital role in maintaining the brain functions. The high amount of potassium allows the body to transport the oxygen to the brain by enhancing the neural activities and raising the cognitive functions. It helps to prevent the stroke in the brain. It performs as a vasodilator that relaxes the blood vessels. It assists in the free flow of blood and prevents the chances of break off and clot that causes strokes. (7)
  • Muscle problems - It assists in the regular contraction of muscles. The adequate levels of potassium are essential for the relaxation and contraction of muscles. The potassium ions are located in the muscle cells in the human body. It maintains the nerve and muscle function and reflexes fast as it promotes the neural connectivity of brain and muscles. [8]
  • Heart ailments - Magnesium prevents the irregular heartbeats and reduces the damage of heart due to muscle stress. It soothes the nerves, digestive processes which help to prevent the problems such as cramps, vomiting, abdominal pain, indigestion, flatulence and constipation. The deficiency of magnesium could result to the harmful results. (9)
  • Prevent crampsMagnesium helps to relax the kidney stress, back muscles and muscular tension. It assists in the calcium absorption which helps to heal the bones faster. The deficiency of magnesium shows the symptoms of leg cramps and general fatigue. The adequate intake of magnesium helps to aid the chronic leg cramp ailments. (10)
  • Fig fruit is low in calories. 100 g fresh fruits carry only 74 calories. However, they contain health benefiting soluble dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins, and pigment antioxidants that contribute immensely towards optimum health and wellness.
  • Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In fact, dried figs possess higher concentrations of energy, minerals, and vitamins. 100 g dried figs provide 249 calories.
  • Fresh figs, especially black mission, contain polyphenolic flavonoid antioxidants such as carotenes, lutein, tannins, chlorogenic acid, etc. Their antioxidant value is comparable to that of apples at 3200 umol/100 g (Trolox equivalents).
  • Additionally, fresh figs contain adequate levels of some of the anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-A, E, and K. Altogether these phytochemical compounds in fig fruit help scavenge harmful oxygen-derived free radicals from the human body and thereby protect us from cancers, diabetes, degenerative diseases, and infections.
  • Furthermore, research studies suggest that chlorogenic acid in the figs help lower blood sugar levels and control blood glucose levels in type-II diabetes mellitus (adult-onset) condition.
  • Fresh, as well as dried figs, contain healthy levels of a B-complex group of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, folates, and pantothenic acid. These vitamins function as co-factors for metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
  • Dried figs are excellent sources of minerals like calcium, copper, potassium, manganese, iron, selenium and zinc. 100 g of dried figs contain 680 mg of potassium, 162 mg of calcium, and 2.03 mg of iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Copper required in the production of red blood cells. Iron is essential for red blood cell formation as well for cellular oxidation. (Source: USDANational Nutrient Database).
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References

Cluster Fig

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