The fig has been revered since the earliest times, both nutritionally and symbolically. It is the most mentioned tree in the bible and it is said that Adam and Eve covered their nakedness with fig leaves. The fig tree symbolizes wisdom, abundance, and creation. In ancient times, throughout many cultures, the fruit was gifted to warriors both for protection and for prize. Paul Pitchford's book Healing With Whole Foods has the following to say about the fig:
Neutral thermal nature; sweet flavor; influences the stomach and spleen-pancreas and moistens the lungs and large intestine. Has detoxifying action and is used for skin discharges and boils. One of the most alkalizing foods; balances acidic conditions that result from a diet rich in meat and refined food.
For dry cough, signs of lung heat, asthma, or sore throat, drink 1/2 cup of the water and ear 1-2 figs from a lightly cooked fig soup several times a day. The high mucin content of figs makes them a sothing laxative for treating consitpation, especially the 'fluid defiency' type. Figs also clean the intenstines and treat dysentery and hemorrhiods.
Milk from the unripe fruit applied twice daily directly to warts helps to remove them. For toothaches, rub fresh fig into the gums.
I feel so lucky to live in California and have fresh figs available to me. My friend Jennifer and I harvested some from her tree yesterday and made some jam. There are a zillion recipes out there to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites: