Ficus pumila L.

Last updated: 18 April 2016

Scientific Name

Ficus pumila L.


Ficus hanceana Maxim, Ficus longipedicellata H Perrier, Ficus repens auct. [Illegitimate], Ficus scandens Lam, Ficus stipulata Thunb, Ficus stipulata Lem. [Illegitimate], Ficus vestita Desf. Urostigma scandens (Lam.) Liebm. [1]

Vernacular Name

English Creeping fig, climbing fig [2][3], creeping rubber plant [3], fig ivy [4]
China Bi li, nu lien, pi li, kuei man tou, mu man tou, ai yu tzu [3]
India Jengto-jinggo [3]
Indonesia Karet rambat [3][4]
Thailand Lin suea, madueo thao [3][4]
Vietnam C[aa]y th[awf]n 1[awf]n, c[aa]y x[ooj]p x[ooj]p, bil [eej],mac pup,trau co, vay oc [3][4]
Japan o-itabi, o-itabi-kazura, chita (Okinawa) [3]
Bangladesh Anoya waneh [3]
Mexico Amate [3].

Geographical Distributions

No documentation

Botanical Description

Ficus pumila is a member of the Moraceae family. It is a robust, true-climbing evergreen vine attaching to rocks, walls, tree trunks by means of exudations from the aerial roots.

The branches are downy. The leaves are polymorphic, those on the vegetative creeping stems are ovate-subcordate in shape, measuring 1-3 cm long and 0.8-2 cm wide, apex obtuse or acute, base oblique cordate, thinly papery, glabrous except on major veins beneath.[5]

The leaves on erect branches bearing flowers are oblong, ovate-oblong or obovate in shape measuring 3-9 cm long and 1.5-4 cm wide, obtuse, rounded or rarely emarginated at apex, faveolate and pilose beneath. It has fleshy receptacles that are ellipsoid-subspherical in shape, measuring 1.5 cm long and across the middle, apex obtuse, densely covered by yellow hairs, pedunculated, bracts 3, apical to the stalk. The mature syncarp is turbinate, measures 4-8 cm long and 3-4 cm in diameter across the truncate end. [5][6]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

F. pumila  has been reported to contain (24S)-stigmast-5-ene-3β,24-diol, (24S)-24-hydroxystigmast-4-en-3-one, (24RS)-3β-acetoxyeycloart-25-en-24-ol, (23Z)-3β-acetoxycycloart-23-en-25-O, (23Z)-3β-acetoxyeupha-7,23-dien-25-ol, 3b-acetoxy-22,23,24,25,26,27-hexanordammaran-20-one, 3b-acetoxy-20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27-octanordammaran-17b –ol, 3b-acetoxy-(20R,22E,24RS)-20,24-dimethoxydammaran-22-en-25-ol, 3b-acetoxy-(20S,22E,24RS)-20,24-dimethoxydammaran-22-en-25-ol,  apigenin 6-neohesperidose, benzyl-β-D-glucopyranoside, bergapten, (E)-2-methyl-2-butenyl β-D-glucopyranoside,  kaempferol 3-robinobioside,   kaempferol 3-rutinoside,  oxypeucedanin hydrate, neohopane, pumilaside A, pumilaside B, pumilaside C, and rutin. [7][8][9][10]11][12]

Plant Part Used

Fruit, leaf, latex, plant sap [13]

Traditional Use

F. pumila is used to treat gastrointestinal diseases especially diarrhoea and dysentery. [12] Usually the decoction of the leaves is used to treat these two conditions. It is a remedy for haemorrhoids. In Malaysia, a decoction of the leaves is used to cleanse the haemorrhoids while the paste of the twigs or the latex is applied over the lesion to promote reduction and healing of the piles. For hernia, a decoction of the roots is given to the patient. [13] F. pumila is also used to relieve asthma, a poultice of the leaves is applied over the chest. [13]

The shape of the fruit is similar to that of the uterus and this forms the basis of its use in the treatment of uterine problems including amenorrhoea and oligomenorrhoea. In these cases a decoction of the dried fruit is given. The whole plant is thought to have lactagogue activity. [13][14][15][16][14][15][16] For promoting lactation the mother is given a meat or bone soup where the dried fruit had been added to or she is given to drink rice wine with the dried fig. [13]

The diuretic property of F. pumila qualifies its use in the treatment of various urinary tract problems including dysuria, strangury, haematuria and bladder infection. It is also recommended for use in the treatment of gonorrhoea. Dried fruit is used in the treatment of impotency, spermatorrhoea by making a decoction of it. [6][13][14][15] [14][15] F. pumila is believed to have anti-inflammatory activity and is used in the treatment of skin infections, tuberculosis of the testicles, injuries and rheumatic arthritis. [6][13][14][15][14][15]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity

From the chloroform extracts of F. pumila two bioactive furanocoumarin derived compounds (bergapten and oxypeucedanin hydrate) were isolated. Bergapten had antimicrobial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Salmonela typhi while oxypeucedanin hydrate was only active against Salmonella typhi. Both compound were found to have antimutagenic activity with oxypeucedanin hydrate being stronger. Another compound isolated from the leaves (neohopane) showed a wider spectrum of activity. The micro-organism affected by neohopane include Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Baccilus subtilis and Candida albicans.[10][12]

Antioxidant activity

The leaves of F. pumila contained flavonoids of which four (rutin, apigenin 6-neohesperidose, kaempferol 3-robinobioside and kaempferol 3-rutinoside) had been identified by Cheng Ning et al. in both aqueous and ethanol extracts. Of the four they found that rutin had the highest antioxidant activity. [11]


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

Paulsen E et al. reported cases of immediate skin and mucosal symptoms developing in gardeners and greenhouse workers. [16]  


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Ficus pumila L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 May 9]. Available from:
  2. Herbal Medicine Research Centre, Institute for Medical Research. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia. Volume 1. Kuala Lumpur: HMRC IMR, 2002; p. 349.
  3. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms, and etymology. Volume IV E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 242.
  4. Rojo JP, Pitargue FC, Sosef MSM. Ficus pumila L. In: de Padua LS, Bunyapraphatsara N, Lemmens RHMJ, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 12(1): Medicinal and poisonous plants 1. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 285-286.
  5. Micheal AD. Dirr’s tree and shrubs for warm climates: An illustrated encyclopedia. Portland: Timber Press, 2002; p. 120.
  6. Hu SY. Food plants of China. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press, 2005; p. 360.
  7. Kitajima J, Kimizuka K, Tanaka Y. Three new sesquiterpenoid glucosides of Ficus pumila fruit. Chem Pharm Bull. 2000;48(1):77-80.
  8. Kitajima J, Kimizuka K, Tanaka Y. New dammarane-type acetylated triterpenoids and their related compounds of Ficus pumila fruit. Chem Pharm Bull. 1999;47(8):1138-1140.
  9. Kitajima J, Kimizuka K, Tanaka Y. New sterols and triterpinoids of Ficus Pimula fruit. Chem Pharm Bull. 1998;46(9):1408–1411.
  10. Juan EA, Rideout JA, Ragasa CY. Bioactive furanocoumarin derivatives from Ficus pumila (Moraceae). Philipp J Sci. 1997;126(2):143-153.
  11. Cheng Ning AL, Masakuni T, Isao H, Hajime T. Antioxidant flavonoid glycosides from the leaves of Ficus pumila L. Food Chem. 2008;109(2):415–420.
  12. Ragasa CY, Juan E, Rideout JA.  A triterpene from Ficus pumila. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 1999;1(4) p.269-75.
  13. Ong HC. Tanaman hiasan: Khasiat makanan & ubatan. Kuala Lumpur: Utusan Publishing & Distributors, 2008; p. 62–63.
  14. Lansky EP, Paavilainen HM, Lansky S. Figs. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 2009; p. 59.
  15. Running press a barefoot doctor’s manual: A concise edition of the classic work of eastern herbal medicine. Philadelphia: Running Press Book Publishers, 2003; p. 508.
  16. Paulsen E, Skov PS, Andersen KE. Immediate skin and mucosal symptoms from pot plants and vegetables in gardeners and greenhouse workers. Contact Dermatitis. 1998;39(4):166-170.