Suppression

Figs

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Figs and Morning glory

Ficus is a genus of about 850 species of woody trees, shrubs, vines, epiphytes and hemiepiphytes in the family Moraceae.

It is pollinated by wasps.  “The unique fig pollination system, involving tiny, highly specific wasps, known as fig wasps that enter via the sub-closed inflorescences to both pollinate and lay their own eggs, has been a constant source of inspiration and wonder to biologists.”

Figs and wasps - close-up

There is typically only one species of wasp capable of fertilizing the flowers of each species of fig, and therefore plantings of fig species outside of their native range results in effectively sterile individuals. For example, in Hawaii, some 60 species of figs have been introduced, but only four of the wasps that fertilize them have been introduced, so only four species of figs produce viable seeds.

The intimate association between fig species and their wasp pollinators, along with the high incidence of a one-to-one plant-pollinator ratio have long led some scientists to believe that figs and wasps are a clear example of planned coevolution and symbiosis”.

Figs are native throughout the tropics with a few species extending into the semi-warm temperate zone. The Common Fig (F.carica) is a temperate species native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region (from Afghanistan to Portugal), which has been widely cultivated from ancient times for its fruit. The fruit of most other species are also edible though they are usually of only local economic importance, however, they are extremely important food resources for wildlife.  The table below shows producers of the Common fig.

 

Top five fig producers (2012, in tonnes)

 Turkey

274,535

 Egypt

171,062

 Algeria

110,058

 Morocco

102,694

 Iran

78,000

 Some other example species that represent the diversity of the genus include the Weeping Fig (F. benjamina) a hemi-epiphyte with thin tough leaves on pendulous stalks adapted to its rain forest habitat; the rough-leaved sandpaper figs from Australia; and the Creeping Fig (F. pumila), a vine whose small, hard leaves form a dense carpet of foliage over rocks or garden walls. 

For our purposes on this site I have concentrated on the Common fig, as this way I can include its chemical constituents.

Background

 

Fig trees have profoundly influenced culture through several religious traditions. Among the more famous species are the Sacred Fig tree (Pipal, Bodhi, Bo, or Po, Ficus religiosa).  The Buddha is traditionally held to have found bodhi (enlightenment) while meditating under a Sacred Fig.  The oldest living plant of known planting date is a Ficus religiosa tree known as the Sri Maha Bodhi planted in the temple at Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka by King Tissa in 288 BCE.

The common fig is one of the two sacred trees of Islam, and there is a sura in Quran named "The Fig" or At-Tin (سوره تین).

Krishna on a fig leaf

In East Asia, figs are also important in Hinduism and Jainism. The Sacred fig was Ashvattha, the "world tree" of Hinduism – the Tree of Life.  The Plaksa Pra-sravana was said to be a fig tree “between the roots of which the Sarasvati River sprang forth”.  Needless to say this is all symbolic.

The choice of the fig tree to represent the Tree of Life is very apt. It is not only a very long lived tree, but it is an ancient tree.  Although there are no unambiguous older fossils of Ficus, the current molecular clock estimates indicate that Ficus is a relatively ancient genus being at least 60 million years old, and possibly as old as 80 million years.

Furthermore their choice as the symbol for the Tree of Life is reinforced by the fact that figs are keystone species in many rainforest ecosystems. Their fruit are a key resource for some frugivores including fruit Bats, capuchin Monkeys, langurs and mangabeys. They are even more important for some Birds. Asian barbets, pigeons, hornbills, fig-parrots and bulbuls are examples of taxa that may almost entirely subsist on figs when these are in plenty.  Many Lepidoptera caterpillars feed on fig leaves, and the Butterfly is an extremely important symbol in all mystic systems.

Current Common Fig varieties

So what we can see is that the physical tree provides an interwoven mesh of just about every symbol used in mystic thought, which is probably why Buddha chose it.

There is a very literal aspect to the choice of the fig tree as the Tree of Life too.  There is evidence that figs, specifically the Common Fig (F. carica), were among the first – if not the very first – plant species that were deliberately bred for agriculture in the Middle East, starting more than 11,000 years ago. Nine subfossil F. carica figs dated to about 9400–9200 BCE were found in the early Neolithic village Gilgal I (in the Jordan Valley, 13 km north of Jericho). These were a parthenogenesis type and thus apparently an early cultivar. This find predates the first known cultivation of grain in the Middle East by many hundreds of years.  So the fig tree literally sustained life by its presence.

The fig as a fruit has important symbolic meaning in all spiritual and mystic movements, encompassing as it does the structure of the Egg [you will need to know more about symbolism to understand these references].

Some men are just more figgy than others....

Many of the Mysteries incorporated the fig as a symbol and as a food.  The Dionysian Mysteries, for example, used figs as part of their regime for attaining annihilation – becoming a ‘god’.  Again you will need to read these sections to understand why.  As a clue, most of the Mystery religions used sexual stimulation as the means of achieving ‘enlightenment’ and the fig is extremely helpful in this respect being both nutritionally useful and when fully opened having a passing resemblance to a part of a lady’s anatomy and a part of a male's anatomy too - but a different one - depending on which way you swing - so to speak.  It is only a passing resemblance, you’d have to have a good imagination to have a hard-on from a fig, on the other hand, most people involved in the Mysteries did have a good imagination.  As Wikipedia says “The fig tree was sacred in ancient Cyprus where it was a symbol of fertility”.

There is also the link with the Crown

One more symbolic association related to sexual stimulation methods.  Fig plants can be hermaphrodite.  Even if they are not totally hermaphrodite they may be gynodioecious - hermaphrodite and female.  As the absolute key to achieving enlightenment is to marry the feminine with the masculine with an emphasis on the feminine, we have another key attribute of the plant. 

All the native fig trees of the American continent are hermaphrodites, as well as species like Indian Banyan (F. benghalensis), Weeping Fig (F. benjamina), Chinese Banyan (F. microcarpa), and Sacred Fig (F. religiosa).  On the other hand the Common Fig (Ficus carica) is a gynodioecious plant, as well as Lofty fig or Clown fig (F. aspera).  A bit more.....

Nearly half of fig species are gynodioecious, and therefore have some plants with inflorescences with long styled pistillate flowers, and other plants with staminate flowers mixed with short styled pistillate flowers.   The long flowers styles tend to prevent wasps from laying their eggs within the ovules, while the short styled flowers are accessible for egg laying.”  You may need to think about this for a while, personally I prefer the bee.

Now that you know they were used in the rituals of the
Mysteries during sexual stimulation, you should, from
this handy little photo, be able to suss out another
symbolic attribute that the fruit has,
ideally you need to put two together to complete
the symbolic picture

The Bible, as all should be aware, is also entirely symbolic and is meaningless without the symbol code [which I have provided for you on this site].  Anyone who takes the Bible to be literally true is not only about as far away from 'heaven' as they are ever likely to be, but is doing the writers of the Bible a severe injustice, as they took great time and trouble to make it a symbolic work. 

Where in Genesis 3:7, Adam and Eve cover their nakedness with fig leaves, it is a symbol. The fig fruit is included in the food found in the Promised Land, according to the Torah (Deut. 8). 

There is also symbolic meaning in the fig leaf, which will become apparent if you compare the leaf and the jester's hat - the cap and bells.

I think it should also be apparent why the Puritans, institutionalised Roman Catholics and 'those who would control and suppress', including the current political Muslim regimes, now cast the fig in a dim light.  Their principle route to power is/was via Repression, and the fig is a symbol of everything that is the opposite of repression.  It is also a symbol of personal spiritual experience during your own lifetime for all, which is a threat to institutionalised religion - as those who achieve their own paths to enlightenment, do not need an imam.

 
 

Method

Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Honey

Figs can be eaten raw, they can be used in salads, they can be made into jam, they can be grilled and served with honey and lemon juice.  I have provided some ideas in the pictures accompanying the information on the chemical constituents of the common fig.

They are most unpleasant if they are not ripe, and because they are not an easily grown or common plant, ripe fruit is not cheap.  But they can be obtained dried and the dried fruit, though having different uses, is delicious. 

Traditional Italian Biscotti al Ficchi

A lovely winter fruit salad can be made with prunes, dried figs, dried apricots, dried cranberries, and honey.  The fruit can be soaked in Earl grey tea to give an added interest or the whole salad can just be soaked in prune juice.  The fruit salad is served with Greek yoghurt [it must be creamy and rich].  The salad is not only delicious, it must be one of the most effective natural laxatives there is.

Although fig biscuits can be bought, it is also possible to make your own fig biscuits.  This option is essential if you have problems with gluten, as most shop biscuits are made with flour and not necessarily organic flour either. I have found that organic cornflour, ground almonds, and eggs, with a little sugar or honey makes a lovely paste which can be used to wrap the blended figs in which can then be baked in the oven.  Delicious served with green tea.

Chemical constituents

The following is a long and amazing list.  The fig fruit and its seed is a truly amazing plant in the number of chemicals it contains.  The list as always on this site has been taken from Dr Duke's database of plants

Chemical

Lo
ppm

Hi
ppm

 

Minerals - present in the fig are shown in blue.  Figs are not particulalry mineral rich.  Vanadium is not present, but has a specialised, biochemical roles as structural or functional cofactors in other organisms, and is thus only possibly needed by humans.  Chloride  is also not present, Sulphur, Arsenic, Silicon, Cobalt, Chromium, Selenium , Molybdenum nor is Iodine.  The minerals present are:

 

 

Vitamins - are shown in green.  A fig does not contain,  Vitamin B7 [also known as biotin],  Vitamin B12 [also known as cobalamin],  Vitamin D [also known as ergocalciferol].  It does have: 

 Overall, therefore a fig is very nutritious in terms of the vitamins it contains.  All you need is some red meat [B12], cheese [B7] and sunshine [D] and you have a vitamin complete meal.

Figs, parma ham, mozarella cheese, honey dressing and basil [for the minerals]

 Essential Fatty acids - are shown in pink.  ALA - α-Linolenic acid is not present specifically, although the more general PUFA category may imply it is.  LA - Linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid is present.

 

Fig jam

 Essential amino acids  are shown in violet. All essential amino acids are present.  Of the six amino acids considered conditionally essential in the human diet, cysteine is not present, nor is glutamine, although glutamic acid is.  But, figs do contain Serine, which is a precursor to several amino acids including glycine and cysteine.  It is also the precursor to numerous other metabolites, including sphingolipids and folate.

  • Phenylalanine
  • Isoleucine
  • Lysine
  • Leucine
  • Methionine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine
  • Histidine
  • arginine
  • glycine
  • proline and
  • tyrosine.

 

Figs, honey and mascarpone ice cream

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Other miscellaneous nutrients - the lists of vitamins and mineral shown above are the generally accepted ones, but in addition to these we have a few unclassified nutrients.  Choline  is not shown on this chart, however, according to the USDA Nutrients database a large fig does contain about 3mg,  as it is an essential nutrient and must be consumed through the diet for the body to remain healthy, its presence is important.  Cyanide, as far as I can ascertain, is not present.  It has an essential role in very small doses in feeding our friendly bacteria.

figs with ricotta and honey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Lipids -Lipids are a group of substances which are known in a general sense as fats and oils.  They are shown in gold. 

 

Fig rolls

 

 Sugars - are shown in red

 

 

2-METHYL-BUTYL-ACETATE

   

3-HYDROXY-2-BUTANONE

   

ACETALDEHYDE

   

ACETIC-ACID

   

ACETOIN

   

ACIDS

900

10800

ACYLMONOGALACTOSYLDIGLYCERIDE

   

ALANINE

450

2154

ALKALOIDS

 

500

ANGELICIN

   

ANTHOCYANINS

   

APIGENIN-4,6-ARABINOSYL-8-C-GLUCOSIDE

   

APIGENIN-4,6-C-GLUCOSYL-8-C-ARABINOSIDE

4

5

APIGENIN-GLYCOSIDES

   

ARABINOSE

   

ARACHIDIC-ACID

2520

3150

ARGININE

170

814

ASCORBIC-ACID

20

2013

ASH

5000

57000

ASPARTIC-ACID

1760

3447

ASTRAGALIN

   

BENZALDEHYDE

 

1

BENZYL-ALCOHOL

   

BENZYLALDEHYDE

   

BERGAPTEN

   

BETA-CAROTENE

0.3

16

BETA-SITOSTEROL

270

1350

BORIC-ACID

   

BORON

1

100

BUTYRIC-ACID

   

CALCIUM

350

4228

CAMPESTEROL

10

50

CARBOHYDRATES

98000

918143

CAROTENOIDS

16

43

CERAMBIDOLIGOSIDE

   

CERAMBPHOSPHATINOOLIGOSIDE

   

CEREBROSIDE

   

CHLOROPHYLL-A

10

18

CHLOROPHYLL-B

7

10

CINNAMALDEHYDE

   

CINNAMIC-ALCOHOL

   

CINNAMIC-ALDEHYDE

   

CINNAMYL-ALCOHOL

   

CITRIC-ACID

1000

4400

COPPER

0.6

3.6

CRYPTOXANTHIN

   

CYSTINE

120

574

DIACYLGLYCEROL

 

1

DIGALACTOSYLDIGLKYCEIDE

   

DIMETHYL-ACETAL

   

DIPHOSPHATIDYL-GLYCEROL

   

ETHANOL

   

ETHYL-2-METHYL-BUTYRATE

   

ETHYL-ACETATE

   

ETHYL-BUTYRATE

   

ETHYL-ISOBUTYRATE

   

ETHYL-PROPIONATE

   

ETHYL-VALERATE

   

EUGENOL

   

FAT

2000

24000

FAT

240000

300000

FIBER

12000

154000

FRUCTOSE

 

22950

FRUIT-ACIDS

1000

4400

FUMARIC-ACID

   

FUMARIC-ACID

   

GAMMA-CAROTENE

   

GERMACRENE-D

   

GLUCOSE

 

31050

GLUTAMIC-ACID

720

3447

GLYCINE

250

1197

GLYCOSIDES

 

500

GLYOXYLIC-ACID

   

HEMICELLULOSE

 

11200

HISTIDINE

110

527

HYDROXY-ALPHA-CAROTENE

   

HYDROXYCARYOPHYLLENE

   

INDOLE

   

INVERT-SUGAR

500000

700000

IRON

3

57

ISOAMYL-ACETATE

   

ISOBUTANOL

   

ISOBUTYL-ACETATE

   

ISOBUTYL-ISOVALERATE

   

ISOLEUCINE

230

1101

ISOQUERCITRIN

   

ISOSCHAFTOSIDE

   

KAEMPFEROL-3-O-BETA-D-RUTINOSIDE

   

KILOCALORIES

420

3600

LEUCINE

330

1580

LINALOOL

   

LINALOOL-OXIDE

   

LINOLEIC-ACID [fruit]

1440

6893

LINOLEIC-ACID [seed]

84000

105000

LINOLENIC-ACID

115200

144000

LUTEIN

   

LYSINE

300

1436

LYSOPHOSPHATIDYLCHOLINE

   

LYSOPHOSPHATIDYLETHANOLAMINE

   

MAGNESIUM

158

872

MALIC-ACID

   

MALIC-ACID

 

30200

MALONIC-ACID

   

MALONIC-ACID

   

MANGANESE

1

7

METHIONINE

60

287

METHYL-ACETATE

   

METHYL-BUTYRATE

   

MONOACYLGLYCEROL

 

1

MONOGALACTOSYLDIGLKYCEIDE

   

MUCILAGE

 

8000

MUFA

660

3159

MYRISTIC-ACID

20

96

NIACIN

3

32

OLEIC-ACID

660

3159

OLEIC-ACID

47520

59400

OXALIC-ACID

   

OXALIC-ACID

   

PALMITIC-ACID

460

2202

PALMITIC-ACID

12552

15690

PANTOTHENIC-ACID

3

14

PECTIN

9300

77900

PENTOSANS

 

8300

PHENYLALANINE

180

862

PHOSPHATIDINIC-ACID

   

PHOSPHATIDYL-CHOLINE

   

PHOSPHATIDYL-ETHANOLAMINE

   

PHOSPHATIDYL-GLYCEROL

   

PHOSPHATIDYL-INOSITOL

   

PHOSPHATIDYL-SERINE

   

PHOSPHORUS

129

2764

PHYLLOQUINONE

 

0.03

PHYTATE

3850

5570

PHYTOFLUENE

   

PHYTOIN

   

PHYTOSTEROLS

310

1484

POTASSIUM

1770

11662

PROLINE

490

2346

PROPYL-ACETATE

   

PROTEIN

3300

130000

PSORALEN

   

PSORALEN-GLYCOSIDE

   

PUFA

1440

6893

PYRROLIDINE-CARBOXYLIC-ACID

   

QUINIC-ACID

   

REDUCING-SUGARS

67700

884000

RIBOFLAVIN

0

5.7

RUBIXANTHIN

   

RUTIN

   

SALICYLATES

1.8

64

SCHAFTOSIDE

   

SERINE

370

1771

SFA

600

2872

SHIKIMIC-ACID

   

SODIUM

10

366

STEARIC-ACID [fruit]

120

574

STEARIC-ACID [seed]

5232

6540

STEROL-DIGLYCOSIDE

   

STIGMASTEROL

30

150

SUCCINIC-ACID

   

SUCCINIC-ACID

   

SUCROSE

2250

460000

SUFLOQUINOVOSYL-DIGLYCERIDE

   

SUGARS

68500

896800

TARTARIC-ACID

   

THIAMIN

0

3.3

THREONINE

240

1149

TOCOPHEROL

 

1

TRANS-CARYOPHYLLENE

   

TRIACYLGLYCEROL

1

4

TRYPTOPHAN

60

287

TYROSINE

320

1532

VALINE

280

1340

VIOLAXANTHIN

   

VIT-B-6

1

5.4

WATER

250000

877000

XANTHOPHYLL

   

ZINC

1

7

 

 

Related observations