Phalgu Information, Medicinal Uses and More

Phalgu Tree(Ficus hispida) information like botanical information, medicinal properties. Know it’s health benefits and medicinal uses in Ayurveda. What are the diseses in which it is effective and about it’s safety profile like side effects, contraindications, dosage and side effects.

Ficus hispida is a moderate size tree found throughout the outer Himalayan range from Chenab eastwards to Bengal, Central and South India and Andaman islands. This tree grows in moist soil along the banks of rivers and bears green figs which turn yellow on ripening.

The figs usually grows from the stem near or beneath the ground. In Sanskrit, it is known as Kakodumbarika which literally means ‘crow’s fig’. Few other Ayurvedic synonyms of tree include Phalgu, Malayu and Shvitra bhesaja.

phalgu medicinal tree

By Vinayaraj (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Like other ficus tree, its fruits are also used for medicinal purpose. In Madanpala Nighantu the fruits are said to have the same properties as that of Goolar.

General Information

Plant Description:

A small to moderate-sized, quick-growing ficus tree without aerial roots.

Leaves: Opposite, ovate, abovate, elliptic or oblong-lanceolate, subcordate or cuneate, serrate-toothed or crenate in upper part, hispid-pubescent on both surfaces.

Flowers: Minute, unisexual of 3 kinds males, females and imperfect.

Fruits / Figs: Figs clustered on tubercles of the stem or on leafless hanging branches arising in clusters from the trunk, yellowish-brown in colour, 1-2 cm in diameer, ovoid with a central circular hole and short stalk.

Roots: 4 -17 cm long, 1.0-2.5 cm thick, almost cylindrical, occasionally compressed at places, external surface brown to dark brown with deep, elliptical cracks and tangentially arranged rows of lenticels.

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Bark, fruit, leaf, root

  • Plant type / Growth Habit: Tree
  • Duration: Perennial
  • Distribution: Throughout the outer Himalayas from Chenab eastwards to Bengal, Central and South India and Andaman Islands; also found in Bhutan, China, Indochina, Malesia, Nepal, Queensland in Australia, Sri Lanka.
  • Habitat: Shady places and along gorge.

Vernacular names / Synonyms

  • Scientific name: Ficus hispida
  • Ayurvedic: Kakodumbara, Kakodumbur, Malayu, Malpu Phalgu, Malaya, Jaghanephala, Moolakarkati, Shvitra bhaishajya, Kashthodumbara
  • Arabic: Tinebarri
  • Assam: Khoskadumar, Tanvardi, Teenbarree
  • Bengali: Kakdumul, Kathdurnul, Kakadumbar, Dumar, Kako-dumar
  • English: Wild fig, Devil fig
  • Gujrati: Tedumbaro, Dhedadambaro, Dhedhumbro, Dhedaumaro, Jangli anjeer
  • Hindi: Konea-dumbar, Kathumar, Daduri, Dagurin, Gobla, Kagsha, Katgularia, Totmila
  • Kannada: Kadaatti, Arjeeru hamu, Anjeeru, Onagida, Hanna, Adane, Adavi-atti, Kaduatti
  • Malayalam: Peyatti, Kattatti, Erumanakku, Parakasimi, Peyatti paraka, Parakam
  • Marathi: Rambal, Kalodumbar, Bhuiumbar, Kharawat, Kalaumbar, Kharoti, Bhokada
  • Oriya: Dimiri, Ani Dambura
  • Persian: Anjir: Dashte
  • Punjabi: Rumbal, Daduri, Degar
  • Santhal: Sitapordoh
  • Siddha: Peyathi
  • Tamil: Peyatti, Sonatti, Conatti, Kattatti
  • Telugu: Brahma medi, Kakimedi, Bodamamidi, Korasana, Adaviatti
  • Urdu: Kath Gular
  • Unani: Anjir Dashti, Kathgular

Scientific Classification

All plants are scientifically classified into main 7 levels. These levels are Kingdom, Division, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species. A genus comprise of many species and botanical name consists of Genus (uppercase) followed by Species (lowercase). Genus consists of many species which are closely related and have lots of similarities. Species is the lowest level and represents the group of same plant.

The botanical name of Kakodumbara is Ficus hispida. It belongs to plant family Moraceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  • Kingdom: Plantae (comprising all living or extinct plants)
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta (have lignified tissues or xylem for conducting water and minerals)
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta (produce seeds)
  • Class: Magnoliopsida (flowering plant producing an embryo with paired cotyledons)
  • Subclass: Hamamelididae
  • Order: Urticales
  • Family: Moraceae – Mulberry family
  • Genus: Ficus L. – fig
  • Species: hispida

Synonym

  • Ficus oppositifolia Roxb.
  • Ficus daemona Koen. Ex Vahl.

Constituents of Ficus hispida

Bark: beta-amyrin acetate, n-triacontanyl acetate, gluacolacetate, 10- ketotetracosylarachidate, lupeol acetate, beta-sitosterol

Leaves: bergapten, psoralene, beta-amyrin, beta-sitosterol.

Important Medicinal Properties

Ficus hispida is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  1. Anticholagogue: Prevents discharge of bile.
  2. Anti-dysenteric: Relieving or preventing dysentery.
  3. Antihistaminic: Inhibit the action of histamine.
  4. Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  5. Antioxidant: Neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
  6. Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
  7. Depurative: Purifying agent.
  8. Emetic: Causes vomiting.
  9. Galactagogue: Promotes or increases the flow of a mother’s milk.
  10. Hemostatic: Checking blood flow.
  11. Hypotensive: Lowers blood pressure.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action

Ficus hispida is known as Kakodumbarika, Malayuhu, Phanika and Phalgu in Ayurveda. The roots are astringent, bitter in taste (Rasa), sweet after digestion (Vipaka), and is cool in effect (Virya).

It is a Sheet Virya herb. Sheet Virya or Cool potency herb, subdues Pitta (Bile) and increases Kapha (Mucus). Sheet Virya herb gives nourishment to body and steadiness. It supports building of body fluids. Phalgu is wind forming, sweet, unctuous, refreshing and heavy.

  • Rasa (taste on tongue): Kashaya (Astringent), Tikta (Bitter)
  • Guna (Pharmacological Action): Guru (Heavy)
  • Virya (Action): Shita (Cooling)
  • Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Madhura (Sweet)

It is Madhur Vipak (digests into sweet) and has building, moistening and nourishing effect on body. It is heavy to digest and reduces metabolism. Such herbs are cooling and reduce swelling, decreases Pitta and have Anabolic effect on body.

  • Balya: Increase the strength of the body.
  • Brinhana: Nourishes the body due to heavy, cold, fine, unctuous, viscid properties.
  • Jwara pratibandhaka: Prevents fever.
  • Kushthaghna: Removes blood impurities.
  • Raktaprasadana: Purifies blood.
  • Raktastambhana: Stops bleeding.
  • Shothahara: Removes inflammation.
  • Sthambhana: Stops the watery flow from the body in the form of vomiting, diarrhoea.
  • Stanyajanana: Increases breast-milk.
  • Vamak: Emesis of bile, mucus and other contents of the stomach.
  • Vishaghna: Cures various types of symptoms caused by poison and complications arising therefrom.
  • Vranashodhana: Cleanses wounds.
  • Vrishya: Increases the quantity of semen.

Medicinal Uses of Ficus hispida

Ficus hispida fruits are sweet, sour, pungent, bitter and astringent in taste. They are used in diseases due to excess vata-pitta. Fruits are also useful in wounds, leukoderma, anemia, piles, jaundice, diarrhoea, burning sensation, skin diseases, bleeding disorders and diseases due to vitiation of blood. As the Saponin is the active component of the fruits they have purgative and emetic action.

The roots are astringent- bitter and useful in leukoderma, itching, leprosy, wounds, bleeding disorder, oedema, anaemia, and piles.

1- Bronchial asthma, cough

Pate of Root bark + pepper + cumin seeds and jaggery is given.

OR

The tender leaves pounded with and cooked in cow milk. Pippali (Piper longum) powder is added and given.

2- Bleeding disorders

The fruit juice is given in dose of 7-14ml with honey.

3- Boils and ulcers

Dry fruit powder mixed with vinegar is applied.

4- Bubo (swollen inflamed lymph node in the armpit or groin)

The powdered fruit heated with a little water is made into a paste or poultice and applied topically on buboes.

5- Excessive thirst

The leaf juice is given in dose of 7-14 ml.

6- Goitre

The fruit paste is applied.

7- Hepatic obstruction

The fruit are boiled in goat’s milk and given.

8- Improving Digestion

The fruits are cooked and given.

9- Intrinsic haemorrhage

The roots paste with rice water is given.

10- Leucorrhoea

Fruit juice mixed with honey is given.

11- Raktapradara (dysfunctional uterine bleeding)

Ficus hispida juice is given in dose of 10ml with honey.

12- Ringworm

The latex is applied.

13- Shvitra (vitiligo)

Give Kakodumbara and Vidanga (5gm each in hot water) and Khadira (1 gm in milk).

OR

5-10 ml juice of fruits of Kakodumbara with jaggery is given twice daily.

OR

Hot decoction of root is given.

OR

Kakodumbara Churna (bark powder) is given in dose of 3 grams, twice a day.

Paste of fruits is applied.

14- Skin diseases and warts

Bark paste is applied topically.

15- Urinary disorders

Root juice mixed with sugar is given.

16- Other Uses

Lac insect is grown on this tree.

Dosage of Ficus hispida

  • The root powder is given in dose of 1-3 grams.
  • The recommended dosage of fruits is 10-20 grams.
  • The root decoction is taken in dose of 50-100 ml.

Contraindications, Interactions, Side-effects and Warnings Ficus hispida

  1. The fruits, seeds and the bark possess emetic properties due to the presence of saponin.
  2. The root-bark is used as a drastic purgative.
  3. The bark contain 2%, of tannin.

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