Figs are the dried succulent receptacles of Ficus Carica, Linn. (N.O. Urticaceae), a tree indigenous to Persia and the surrounding countries, but cultivated in most warm and temperate climates. They are also official in the U.S.P. When the fruits are ripe they are collected and dried in the sun. "Natural" figs are those which are packed loose and retain to some extent their original shape. "Pulled" figs have been kneaded and pulled to make them supple; these are usually packed into small boxes for exportation, and are considered to be the best variety. "Pressed" figs have been closely packed in boxes so that they are compressed into discs. Smyrna figs, which are thin-skinned and soft, are the most esteemed. Greek figs are thicker skinned, tougher, and have less pulp. As usually met with, figs occur as soft, tough, brown or yellowish discs of irregular shape, and with a very sweet taste. When opened, the figs are seen to bear numerous achenes on the inner surface.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of figs is dextrose, of which they contain about so per cent.
Action and Uses.—Figs are used medicinally for their mild laxative action. They are nutritious and demulcent, and are sometimes recommended in large quantities when a sharp body has been swallowed. Split into two portions, the soft pulpy interior may be applied as a poultice to boils and dental abscesses. Figs are used in the preparation of laxative confections and syrups, usually with senna and carminatives.
- Syrupus Ficorum, B.P.C.—SYRUP OF FIGS. 2 in 5.
- A mild laxative, suitable for administration to young children. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).
- Syrupus Ficorum Aromaticus, B.P.C.—AROMATIC SYRUP OF FIGS. Syn.—Elixir Ficorum; Elixir of Figs; Liquor Ficorum Dulcis; Sweet Essence of Figs.
- Compound tincture of rhubarb, 5; liquid extract of senna, 10; compound spirit of orange, 2.5; miscible liquid extract of cascara, 5; syrup of figs to 100. An excellent laxative for children and delicate persons. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (1/2 to 2 fluid drachms).
- Syrupus Ficorum Compositus, B.P.C.—COMPOUND SYRUP OF FIGS.
- Liquid extract of senna, 8.75; syrup of rhubarb, 8.75; syrup of figs, to 100. This preparation is now stronger than the one formerly known under the name, and is more suitable for adults. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.