Ficus benjamina L.

Last updated: 26 Apr 2016

Scientific Name

Ficus benjamina L.

Synonyms

Ficus benjamina var. benjamina, Ficus benjamina var. bracteata Corner, Ficus benjamina var. bracteata Yamazaki, Ficus benjamina var. comosa (Roxb.) Kurz, Ficus benjamina subsp. comosa (Roxb.) Panigrahi & Murti, Ficus benjamina var. comosa King, Ficus benjamina var. haematocarpa (Blume ex Decne.) Miq., Ficus benjamina var. nuda (Miq.) M.F.Barrett, Ficus benjamina f. warringiana M.F.Barrett, Ficus comosa Roxb., Ficus cuspidatocaudata Hayata, Ficus dictyophylla Wall. [Invalid], Ficus haematocarpa Blume ex Decne., Ficus lucida Aiton, Ficus neglecta Decne., Ficus nepalensis Blanco, Ficus nitida Thunb., Ficus notobor Buch.-Ham. ex Wall. [Invalid]. Ficus nuda (Miq.) Miq., Ficus papyrifera Griff., Ficus parvifolia Oken, Ficus pendula Link, Ficus pyrifolia Salisb. [Illegitimate], Ficus reclinata Desf., Ficus retusa var. nitida (Thunb.) Miq., Ficus retusa f. nitida (Thunb.) King, Ficus striata Roth, Ficus umbrina Elmer, Ficus xavieri Merr., Urostigma benjaminum (L.) Miq., Urostigma benjaminum var. nudum Miq., Urostigma haematocarpum (Blume ex Decne.) Miq., Urostigma neglectum Miq. [Unresolved], Urostigma nudum Miq. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Beringin, waringin [2], beringin, weringin, jawi-jawi, jejawi, kelat sega [3], jili [4]
English Benjamin tree, Java fig, Java tree, small-leaved rubber plant, tropic laurel, weeping fig [2]
China Chui ye rong [5]
India Chilubor, dieng jri, jaavaatthi, juvvi, kallichi, kamrup, khongnang-bot, kondagolugu, kondajuvvi, kuni, phrap raksang, phrap-rakseng, pilala, pimpri, pittajuvvi, pootrajoovee, pukar, puthrajuvvi, putra-juvi, putradzuvvi, putrajeevi, putrajuvvi, thellabarinka, thing-jaman, vellal, yerrajujvvi [2], juripakri (Assam) [4]
Nepal Kabra [4]
Sri Lanka Walu-nuga [2]
  Indonesia Waringin (Java); charingin (Sunda) [2]; bergedat (Java) [4]
Myanmar Kyet-kadut, nyaung-lun, nyaung-thabye [2]
Papua New Guinea Nong. [2]

Geographical Distributions

Ficus benjamina grow wild in the east Himalaya, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sulawesi and Timor. [3]

Botanical Description

F. benjamina is a member of the Moraceae family. It is a medium sized tree reaching up to 20 m tall. The bark is gray to gray white. The main branches produce aerial roots which can develop into a new trunk with branchlets that are pendulous and glabrous. The stipules are caduceus, lanceolate, 0.6-1.5 cm, membranous and glabrous. The petiole measures 1-2 cm long, adaxially sulcate. [5]

The leaf blade is ovate to broadly ellip[tic, measuring between 4-8 cm by 2-4 cm, leathery, and glabrous. The base is rounded to cuneate, the margins entire and the apex is shortly acuminate. There are 8-10 secondary veins running parallel and anastomosing near the margin and indistinct from tertiary veins. [5]

The figs appear axillary on leafy branchlets, in pairs or solitary, purple, red or yellow when mature. They are globose to depressed globose or sometime pear shaped and measures 0.8-2 cm in diameter. [5]

The male, gall and female flowers are enclosed within the same fig. The male flowers are few, shortly pedicellate; calyx lobes 4, broadly ovate; single stamen with rather long filament. The gall flowers are numerous with calyx lobes 4, narrowly spatulate; style lateral and short. The female flowers are sessile, calyx lobes 3, shortly spatulate; style lateral, short; stigma enlarged. The achenes are ovoid-reniform, shorter than persistent style. [5]

Cultivation

No documentation.

Chemical Constituent

Benzene extract of F. benjamina leaves has been reported to contain triterpenoids (e.g. serrat-3-one, friedelin and β-sitosterol). [6]

Crude extract of F. benjamina has been reported to contain ficusin A, gancaonin N, 2’-methoxygenistein, versulin, carpachromene, atalantoflavone, lupiwighteone, erysubin B, parvisoflavone B, eriophorin C, alpinumisoflavone, derrone, erythrinin C, versulin, and lespedezol E1. [7]

F. benjamina leaves extract has been reported to contain phenolic compounds (e.g. kaempferol and chlorogenic acid). [8]

Plant Part Used

Bark, bud, flower and fruit. [9]

Traditional Use

The buds and latex of F. benjamina is used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery while the aerial roots are good for vomiting. Juice expressed from the bark is a good remedy for liver disease. [9][10]

The leaves had been used to treat ulcers, leprosy and rheumatic headaches. To treat ulcers and wounds the leaves and or the roots are boiled in oil and applied over the lesion. [9][10]

The latex and the bark had been advocated for use as a remedy for diabetes, skin diseases and burning sensation. The aerial roots treat osteomalacia and leucorrhoea. [9]

Preclinical Data

Pharmacology

Antimicrobial activity

The crude extract and its ethyl acetate fraction of the leaves of F. benjamina displayed the highest inhibitory activity against Mycobacterium smegmatis. It showed that the phenolic content of the leaves may be responsible for this activity. [8]

A screening for bioactivity of fruits of four Ficus species (F. syncomorus, F. benjamina, F. benghalensis and F. religiosa), it was found that they had significant antibacterial activity, but no antifungal activity. [11]

The antiviral activity of crude ethanol extracts of F. benjamina leaves was reported especially against Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and 2 (HSV 1/2), and Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV). This activity was seen more in the flavonoid fraction of the ethanol extract. Three of flavones identified (quercetin 3-O-rutinoside, kaempferol 3-O-rutinoside and kaempferol 3-O-robinoside) showed strong inhibitory activity against the two HSV viruses but no significant activity against VZV. [12]

Toxicity

In a screening for bioactivity, it was found that fruit extract of F. benjamina did not have toxic activity in the brine shrimp test. [11]

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

Allergenic activity

The allergen composition of crude extract from sap of F. benjamina has been demonstrated a high allergenic potency among occupationally exposed plant keepers that occur both in atopics and non-atopics. [13][14][15][16][17]

Cross-reactivity among F. benjamina latex, Hevea brasiliensis latex, figs, kiwi, papaya, and avocado has been demonstrated allergic syndrome on patients. Result indicated that hypersensitivity may occur to patients that exposed to these allergen compounds. [18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29]

Precautions

No documentation.

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation.

Contraindications

Case Report

Many have reported allergic reactions to latex or components of latex of F. benjamina amongst plant keepers. The manifestations vary from simple skin irritation to angioedema of the oropharynx. Amongst the manifestations of allergy includes rhinoconjunctivitis, asthma, urticarial eruptions and oedema of the eyelids following sensitization to F. benjamina.[30][31][32][33][34][35][36]

There have been case reports of allergic reaction to allergens produced by cross-sensitization of F. benjamina with other plants (e.g. Hevea brasiliensis, breadfruit, and banana). The most common manifestation is rhino-conjunctivitis followed by contact dermatitis. There had been reported cases of people developing anaphylaxis as a result of exposure to the plant material however the occurrence is very rare. [37][38][39][40][41]

Dosage

No documentation.

Poisonous Management

No documentation.

Line drawing

No documentation.

References

  1. The Plant List. Ver 1.1. Ficus benjamina L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23, cited 2016 Apr 26]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2809661.
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC World dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume III E-L. Florida: Boca Raton, 2012; p. 227.
  3. Burkill IH. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula. Volume 1. London: Published on behalf of the governments of the Straits settlements and Federated Malay states by the Crown agents for the colonies, 1935; p. 1004-1005.
  4. Hanelt P, Büttner R, editor. Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops: (except ornamentals). Berlin: Springer, 2001; p. 367-368.
  5. Flora of China. Ficus benjamina. No date [cited 2016 Apr 27]. Available from: http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=200006350.
  6. Parveen M, Ghalib RM, Mehdi SH, Rehman SZ, Ali M. A new triterpenoid from the leaves of Ficus benjamina (var. comosa). Nat Prod Res. 2009;23(8):729-736.
  7. Dai J, Shen D, Yoshida WY, Parrish SM, Williams PG. Isoflavanoids from Ficus benjamina and their inhibitory activity on BACE1. Planta Med. 2012;78:1357-1362.
  8. Da Cruz RC, Agertt V, Boligon AA, et al. In vitro antimycobacterial activity and HPLC-DAD screening of phenolics from Ficus benjamina L. and Ficus luschnathiana (Miq.) Miq. leaves. Nat Prod Res. 2012;26(23):2251-2254.
  9. Niar DD. Medicinal Plants of Tripura. New Delhi: D.K. Agencies (P) Ltd, 2009; p. 96.
  10. Nadkarni KM. Indian materia medica volume 1. Bombay: Presidency Printing Press, 1927; p. 368.
  11. Mousa O, Vuorela P, Kiviranta J, Abdel Wahab S, Hiltunen R, Vuorela H. Bioactivity of certain Eqyptian Ficus species. J Ethnopharmacol. 1994;41(1-2):71-76.
  12. Yarmolinsky L, Huleihel M, Zaccai M, Ben-Shabat S. Potent antiviral flavones glycosides from Ficus benjamina leaves. Fitoterapia. 2012;83(20):362-367.
  13. Rudack C, Sachase F, Jörg S. Aeroallergens becoming more significant for allergic rhinitis. HNO. 2003;51(9):694-703. German.
  14. Axelsson IG, Johansson SG, Larsson PH, Zetterström O. Serum reactivity to other indoor ficus plants in patients with allergy to weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Allergy. 1991;46(2):92-98.
  15. Axelsson IG, Johansson SG, Larsson PH, Zetterström O. Characterization of allergenic components in sap extract from the weeping fig (Ficus benjamina). Int Arch Allergy Appl Immunol. 1990;91(2):130-135.
  16. Bircher AJ, Languer S, Levy F, Wahl R. The allergen of Ficus benjamina in house dust. Clin Exp Allergy. 1995;25(3):228-233.
  17. Jors E. [The prevalence of skin and mucosal symptoms in gardeners handling Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) and Hedera helix (ivy). A cross-sectional study]. Ugeskr Laeger. 2003;165(37):3526-3529.
  18. Sedö Mejía GA, Weinmann AM, González Díaz SN, Vidaurri Ojeda AC. Sensitization to Ficus benjamina prevalence in adult patients with moderate-severe allergic rhinitis. Rev Alerg Mex. 2010;57(1):11-17. Spanish.
  19. Delbourg MF, Moneret-Vautrin DA, Guilloux L, Ville G. Hypersensitivity to latex and Ficus benjamina allergens. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1995;75(6 Pt 1):496-500.
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  21. Van Ginkel CJ, Dijkstra AT, van Eyk CL, den Hengst CW, Bruijnzeel-Koomen CA. Allergy to Ficus benjamina: At the workplace and at home. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 1997:141(16):782-784. Dutch.
  22. Díez-Gómez ML, Quire S, Araqoneses E, Cueves M. Asthma caused by Ficus benjamina latex: Evidence of cross-reactivity with fig fruit and papain. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 1998;80(1):24-30.
  23. Schenkelberger V, Freitag M, Altmeyer P. Ficus benjamina-the hidden allergen in the house. Hautarzt. 1998;49(1):2-5. German.
  24. Brehler R, Abrams E, Sedlmayr S. Cross-reactivity between Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) and natural rubber latex. Allergy. 1998:53(4):402-406.
  25. Chen Z, Düser M, Flagge A, et al. Identification and characterization of cross-reactivity natural rubber latex and Ficus benjamina allergens. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2000:123(4):291-298.
  26. Focke M, Hemmer W, Wöhrl S, Götz M, Jarisch R. Croos-reactivity between Ficus benjamina latex and fig fruit in patients with clinical fig allergy. Clin Exp Allergy. 2003;33(7):971-977.
  27. Ebo DG, Bridts CH, Hagendorens MM, De Clerck LS, Stevens WJ. The prevalence and diagnostic value of specific IgE antibodies to inhalant, animal and plant food, and ficus allergens in patients with natural rubber latex allergy. Acta Clin Belg. 2003;58(3):183-189.
  28. Hemmer W, Focke M, Marzban G, Swoboda I, Jarisch R, Laimer M. Identification of Bet v 1-related allergens in fig and other Moraceae fruits. Clin Exp Allergy. 2010;40(4):679-687.
  29. Pradalier A, Leriche E, Trinh Ch, Molitor JL. The return of the prodigal child or allergy to ficus. Eur Ann Allergy Clin Immunol. 2004;36(9):326-329. French.
  30. Axelsson IG, Johansson SG, Zetterström O. Occupational allergy to weeping fig in plant keepers. Allergy. 1987;42(3):161-167.
  31. Axelsson IG, Johansson SG, Zetterström O. A new indoor allergen from a common non-flowering plant. Allergy. 1987;42(8):604-611.
  32. Bircher AJ, Wüthrich B, Langauer S, Schmid P. Ficus benjamina, a perennial inhalation allergen of increasing importance. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1993;123(22):1153-1159. German.
  33. Schmid P, Stöger P, Wüthrich B. Severe isolated allergy to Ficus benjamina after bedroom exposure. Allergy. 1993;48(6):466-467.
  34. Axelsson IG. Allergy to Ficus benjamina (weeping fig) in nonatopic subjects. Allergy. 1995;50(3):284-285.
  35. Mahillon V, Saussez S, Micheal O. High incidence of sensitization to ornamental, plants in allergic rhinitis. Allergic. 2006;61(9):1138-1140.
  36. Sesztak-Greinecker G, Hemmer W, Götz M, Jarisch R. Allergic contact urticaria caused by a chameleon. Expression of sensitization to Ficus benjamina. Hautarzt. 2005;56(12):1156-1159. German.
  37. De Greef JM, Lieutier-Colas F, Bessot JC, et al. Urticaria and rhinitis to shrubs of Ficus benjamina and breadfruit in a banana-allergic road worker: evidence for a cross-sensitization between Moracea, banana, and latex. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2001;125(2):182-184.
  38. Kanerva L, Estlander T, Petman L, Mäkinen-Kiljunen S. Occupational allergic contact urticaria to yucca (Yucca aloifolia), weeping fig (Ficus benjamina), and spathe flower (Spathiphyllum wallisii). Allergy. 2001;56:1008-1011.
  39. Werfel S, Ruëff F, Przybilla B. Anaphylactic reaction to Ficus benjamina (weeping fig). Hautarzt. 2001;52(10 Pt 2):935-937. German.
  40. Karimian-Teherani D, Hentges F. Allergy to Ficus benjamina. Bull Soc Sci Med Grand Duche Luxemb. 2002;(2):107-113.
  41. Antico A, Zoccatellu G, Marcotullu C, Curioni A. Oral allergy syndrome to fig. Int Arch Allergy Immunol, 2003;131(2):138-142.