What is Wu Hua Guo?
Wu Hua Guo
Wu Hua Guo
(scientific name: Ficus carica L.
), also known as Fig
, is a deciduous shrub or arbor, growing up to 12 meters tall with milky sap. Although it is called "fig", it does have flowers which are very small and cannot be easily seen. The leaves of the fig tree are large, and the fruits are unique, with a strong property of resisting various toxic gases. They are resistant to smoke and dust, and having few troubles with pests and diseases. Fig leaves, fruits, and roots can be used as medicine.
The dried skin of the fig is grayish-brown, smooth or irregularly longitudinally split. The twigs are stout, and the young buds are covered by the stipules. After the stipules fall off, there are very obvious circular stipule marks on the branches. The leaves are alternate, thick and membranous, wide-ovate or nearly spherical, 10-20cm long, with serrated edges, rough on the upper surface and short-haired on the lower surface. The fruit are conical or nearly spherical, about 2cm long and 1.5-2.5cm in diameter. The surface is light yellowing-brown or browning-black, with wavy vertical lines, slightly flat at the upper end, and a round protrusion around the center. The base is narrow and connected to the fruit stalk and the remaining bract. It is hard and sweet in texture. The flowering period is from April to May, and the fruits are produced from mid-June to October.
Growth environment of Wu Hua Guo
Wu Hua Guo prefers warm and humid maritime climate, photophile and drought-resistant, but not cold-resistant or water-resistant. It usually grows on slopes with abundant sunlight and well-drained plains.
Harvest and processing of Wu Hua Guo
Fig roots can be harvested throughout the year. The immature green fruit and leaves are to be picked in summer or autumn, used fresh or blanched a little while in boiling water, then sun-dried or oven-dried.
Take the figs used in medicine, remove impurities and crush them when ready to use.
Wu Hua Guo TCM
The fruit, roots, and leaves of the fig plant belonging to the mulberry family Ficus carica L. are used in medicine.
Sweet and neutral in nature.
Roots and leaves
Bland, astringent, and neutral in taste.
Figs as a whole are cool-natured and non-toxic.
Enter the lungs, stomach, and large intestine meridians.
Wu Hua Guo contains high levels of fructose, amino acids, vitamins, and other nutrients. It often has the effects of nourishing the body, moistening the intestines for bowel movement, promoting digestion and appetite, moistening the lungs and stopping cough, promoting lactation, stopping diarrhea, reducing swelling, and detoxifying.
Wu Huaguo is usually used for treating poor appetite, diarrhea, and insufficient lactation.
The fruit is used for coughing, wheezing, sore throat, constipation, and hemorrhoids. The roots and leaves are used for treating enteritis, diarrhea, and can be applied externally to treat boils and swelling.
Decoction, 9~15g, or a larger dosage of up to 30-60g. Fresh figs can also be eaten raw in one or two.
Take appropriate amount of figs, decocted in water for external washing, or ground into powder, then mixed with water to be applied to the affected areas or conduct throat-insufflating therapies.
(1) Figs are not suitable for patients with fatty liver, cerebrovascular accidents, diarrhea or normal blood potassium periodic paralysis. Those with thin stools should not eat the fruit raw either.
(2) Figs are cold in nature and is not recommended for women who are physically weak, with weak spleen and stomach, or excessive menstrual periods. This may worsen the symptoms of coldness inside the body.
(1)Dian Nan Ben Cao, figs apply to all kinds of unnamed swelling, abscesses, scabies, psoriasis, sores, breast nodules, broken pimples. Mix with sesame oil and apply to the affected area.
(2)Bian Min Tu Zan, figs are used for treating throat-related diseases.
(3)Wang Ying's Food Materia Medica, figs are used for promoting appetite and stopping diarrhea.
(4)Gang Mu, figs are used for treating hemorrhoids and throat pain.
(5)Sheng Cao Yao Xing Bei Yao, figs are used for cleaning hemorrhoids, detoxifying and promoting lactation.
(6)Yi Lin Zuan Yao, figs have the benefits of nourishing the lungs and promoting lactation.
(7)Sui Xi Ju Yin Shi Pu, figs have the benefits of clearing heat and moisturizing the intestines.
(8)Jiangsu Plant Medicine Records, fresh figs’ sap are often extracted for extenal application to remove warts.
(9)Yunnan Chinese Herbal Medicine, figs have the benefits of strengthening the stomach, stopping diarrhea, eliminating phlegm, and regulating qi. It is often used for treating poor appetite, indigestion, enteritis, dysentery, throat pain, cough with phlegm, and chest tightness.
(1)Used for treating throat pain
Take 7 fresh figs and 15g of honeysuckle flowers, decoct in water. (Shandong Chinese Herbal Medicine Handbook)
(2)Used for treating lung heat with hoarseness
Take 15g of dried figs, decoct in water, add rock sugar to taste. (Fujian Chinese Herbal Medicine)
(3)Used for treating dry cough and persistent cough
Take 9g of figs, 15g of raisins, and 6g of licorice, decoct in water. (Xinjiang Chinese Herbal Medicine Handbook)
(4)Used for treating lactation insufficiency
Take 60g of figs, 60g of Shu Di Gua Gen, 120-180g of honeysuckle flower roots, and 60g of Dregea sinensis roots to stew pig’s feet.
Or take 120g of figs, 120g of dwarf lilyturf, and 30g of cuttlefish bone to stew pork belly. (Chongqing Herbal Medicine)
(5)Used for treating severe constipation
Eat fresh figs or grind the dried figs into a powder, decoct in water, add honey to taste and drink on an empty stomach. (Anhui Chinese Herbal Medicine)
(6)Used for treating indigestion-related diarrhea
Take 9g of fried figs, hawthorn and chicken gizzard-membrane each, and 4.5g of Houpo(Officinal magnolia bark), decoct in water. (Anhui Chinese Herbal Medicine)
(7)Used for treating chronic diarrhea
Take 5-7 figs, decoct in water. (Hunan Pharmacopoeia)
Figs contain citric acid, fumaric acid, succinic acid, malic acid, proline, oxalic acid, apple acid, shikimic acid, quinic acid, alkaloids, glycosides, sugars, and fig hydrolase enzymes, among others.
Wu Hua Guo benefits
(1)The edible rate of Wu Hua Guo is very high, with fresh figs reaching 97% and dry or preserved ones 100%. It has low acidity and no large, hard seeds, making it particularly suitable for the elderly and children to consume.
(2)Wu Hua Guo contains abundant amino acids, with 18 different kinds having been discovered so far. It contains all 8 essential amino acids the body needs, among which L-aspartic acid accounts for the most (1.9% on dry weight), thus making it good at fighting leukemia, restoring energy, and eliminating fatigue.
(3)Wu Hua Guo has a high TS rate, 14-20% for fresh figs and over 70% for dried ones. Among them, glucose, which can be directly absorbed and utilized by the human body, accounts for 34.3% (dry weight), fructose accounts for 31.2% (dry weight), and sucrose only accounts for 7.82% (dry weight). Therefore, it is known as a low-calorie food in Japan. Research shows that it is an ideal healthy weight-loss food.
(4)Wu Hua Guo contains polysaccharides, accounting for 6.49% (dry weight), mainly are arabinose and galactose, which help fight aging.
(5)Wu Hua Guo contains a variety of vitamins, especially with high content of carotene, which is 30mg/100g for fresh figs and 70mg/100g for dried ones, higher than that of peach, grape, plum, pear, citrus, and persimmon.
(6)Wu Hua guo is rich in inorganic elements which is beneficial for the human body, and does not contain carcinogenic elements like Co, Cd, and Pb. It has a good effect on enhancing body health and shows great anti-cancer ability.
(7)The fruit, branch, and leaves of Wu Hua Guo contain abundant enzymes, with proteinase accounting for the most, followed by lipase, amylase, and superoxide dismutase (SOD). Taking figs as an after-meal fruit is verified to have a good effect on digestion.
(8)Wu Hua Guo is rich in dietary fiber, with pectin and semi-fiber able to absorb various chemical substances after expanding upon imbibing water, thus purifying the intestines, promoting the proliferation of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, inhibiting the rise of blood sugar, maintaining normal cholesterol levels, and removing carcinogens.
(9)Wu Hua Guo contains various acids like malic acid, oxalic acid, isocabinnic acid, succinic acid, fumaric acid, pyrrole carboxylic acid, mangiferic acid, quinic acid, and glyceric acid. It also contains flavonoids, genistein ketones, aldosides, terpenoids, benzaldehyde, coumarin lactone, osthol, and furanocoumarins. All these components together play a certain effect on cancer prevention.
Wu Hua Guo side effects
Wu Hua Guo contains a large amount of dietary fiber, fructose, vitamins, and other nutrients. In general, consuming a moderate amount of Wu Hua Guo is safe for most people. However, for some specific groups of people, overeating Wu Hua Guo may have some negative effects on their health, like affecting blood sugar level and causing gastrointestinal symptoms.
(1)Affect blood sugar level
Wu Hua Guo contains a lot of fructose, which will easily cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, making it particularly harmful for people with high blood sugar or diabetes if consumed excessively.
(2)Cause gastrointestinal symptoms
Wu Hua Guo contains a lot of fiber and carbohydrates that help promote bowel movements and aid digestion when consumed in moderation. However, consuming too much of it may increase gastrointestinal burden, leading to digestive problems and diarrhea, particularly for those with weak gastrointestinal function or gastrointestinal diseases. Moreover, it may stimulate the intestines and cause excessive gas.
(3)Cause allergic reactions
Wu Hua Guo contains some heterologous protein, so consuming excessive amounts of it may cause allergic reactions in people prone to have allergies, including pain in the mouth or itching, vomiting, nausea, and skin rash.
While Wu Hua Guo is low in calories, consuming it excessively over a long time may increase the risk of obesity. Dieters should not rely solely on figs to achieve their weight-loss goals but control their weight through sports, diet, and other means.
How to take Wu Hua Guo?
Cut 30g of Wu Hua Guo into small pieces and stir-fry until slightly charred.
Add an appropriate amount of white sugar and steep it in boiling water.
Fig tea helps promote digestion and is suitable for people with weak spleen and stomach, digestive problems, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and loose stools.
60~120g of Wu Hua Guo and 500g of pig's feet.
Put them in a pot, add enough water, and simmer over low heat until the pig's feet are well through. Add a little salt to taste and serve.
This soup helps replenish qi and blood, promote lactation, and is suitable for postpartum women with insufficient qi and blood and lactation.
In addition to being eaten fresh and used in cuisine and medicine, Wu Hua Guo can also be processed into dried figs, fruit tarts, jam, juice, tea, wine, drinks, canned food, etc. Dried figs have a rich and sweet flavor without any chemical additives. Fig juice and drinks have a unique aroma, refreshingly sweet flavour that is suitable for both young and old.
How to choose Wu Hua Guo?
Medicine property distinguish
Dried figs are shaped like an inverted cone or a sphere, about 2cm in length and 1.5-2.5cm in diameter. Its surface color varies from pale yellowish-brown to dark brown or bluish-black, with wavy vertical lines. The tip is slightly flattened and truncated, with a circular protrusion around the center, while the base is narrow and has a fruit stem and residual bracts. Its texture is hard, and when cut crosswise, it reveals numerous small seeds, sometimes withered stamens still visible on the upper part of the inner-wall. The seed is oval or triangular-ovoid, measuring 1-2mm in length, pale yellow in color, and covered by persistent calyx. It has a faint odor and a sweet, slightly sour taste.
Processed fig slices are cone or quasi-circular shaped and cut longitudinally with a yellowish-white surface and several withered flowers, bracts, and seeds adhering to its inner-wall. The periphery is light yellowish-brown or dark brown, with curved vertical lines. It has a faint odor and a slightly sweet taste.
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