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Review Article

SRP. 2012; 3(1): 15-23

Traditional Uses and Pharmacological Potential of Ficus exasperata Vahl

Faiyaz Ahmed, Mueen Ahmed KK, Md. Zainul Abedin, Alias A. Karim.


In traditional medicine, different parts of Ficus exasperata Vahl. (Moraceae) are used as analgesic,
antiarthritic, diuretic, wound healing, antiparasitic, vermifuge, abortifacient, ecbolics and for
treating hemorrhoids and venereal diseases. The plant parts are also used as animal fodder.
The present review is aimed to comprehend the fragmented information available on the
botany, traditional uses, pharmacology and toxicology of F. exasperata to explore its therapeutic
potential and find potential research opportunities in the near future. Among different parts
of F. exasperata, leaves are of particular importance from the traditional medicinal point of
view. Major ethno-medicinal usage has been reported throughout Africa; Nigeria, Cameroon,
Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone being the folkloric hubs. The extracts used are mostly remains
uncharacterized and no detailed informations are available on the active components except for
the class of compounds such as phenolics and tannins being major components. Crude extracts
have been reported to exhibit a wide spectrum of in vitro and in vivo pharmacological activities
like, antidiabetic, anticonvulsant, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial, hypolipidemic, antioxidant,
antiulcer, anxiolytic and hypotensive. Conflicting results on the toxicity F. exasperata has also
been reported. Experimental studies have validated a number of traditional claims, however
reports suggests some degree toxicity involved. Additionally, not much scientific information is
available on the bioactive compounds. Thus, an in-depth research on the standardization and
characterization of the extracts and their toxicological evaluation is the need of the hour for its
safe and better therapeutic utilization.

Key words: Botanical description, Ficus exasperata, phytochemistry, sand paper fig, toxicity

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