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Family Moraceae
Indian rubber fig
Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem.

Yin du rong

Scientific names   Common names  
Ficus clusiifolia Summerh. Balete (Tag.)  
Ficus cordata Kunth & C.D.Bouché Fig tree (Engl.)
Ficus elastica Roxb. ex. Hornem. Indian rubber bush (Engl.)
Ficus elastica var. belgica L.H.Bailey & E.Z.Bailey Indian rubber tree (Engl.)  
Ficus elastica var. benghalensis Blume Indian rubber fig (Engl.)  
Ficus elastica var. decora Guillaumin Rubber tree (Engl.)
Ficus elastica var. karet (Miq.) Miq. Rubber plant (Engl.)
Ficus elastica var. minor Miq.  
Ficus elastica var. odorata (Miq.) Miq.  
Ficus elastica var. rubra L.H.Bailey & E.Z.Bailey  
Ficus elastica var. rubrinervis Sata  
Ficus elastica var. variegata W.Bull  
Ficus karet (Miq.) King  
Ficus skytinodermis Summerh.  
Ficus taeda Kunth & C.D.Bouché  
Macrophthalmia elastica (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Gasp.  
Stilpnophyllum elasticum (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Gasp.  
Urostigma elasticum (Roxb. ex Hornem) Drury  
Urostigma karet Miq.  
Urostigma odoratum Miq.  
Visiania elastica (Roxb. ex Hornem.) Gasp.  
Worldwide there are over 800 species of the genus Ficus (Latin: fig) and of them more than 10 species found in the Philippines,
Balete is a shared common name of six balete-species: (1) Ficus benjamina, salisi (2) Ficus elastica, Indian rubber tree (3) Ficus indica, baleteng-baging (4) Ficus payapa, payapa (5) Ficus retusa, marabutan, and (6) Ficus stipulosa, botgo.
Ficus elastica Roxb. ex Hornem. is an accepted species. KEW: Plants of the World Online

Other vernacular names
ASSAMESE: Athabor, Attah.
BURMESE: Ganoi, Kanoi, Nyaung kyetpaung.
CHINESE: Yin du rong.
CROATIAN: Gumijevac, Fikus.
DANISH: Gummifigen.
FRENCH: Arbre á caoutchouc, Caoutchouc.
GERMAN: Gummibaum.
HINDI: Attaabor, Bargad, Bor.
JAPANESE: Indo gomu no ki.
KANNADA: Rabra chovad.
KOREAN: In do go mu na mu.
SERBIAN: Gumijevac, Tropska smokva, Fikus, Fikus zmajevac.
SPANISH: Árbol del caucho, Gomero, Higuera cauchera, Higuera de la India (Cuba), Planta del caucho.
TAMIL: Cimaiyal.
THAI: Yang india.
VIETNAMESE: Ða búp đỏ.

General info
- Ficus elastica, the rubber fig, rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, rubber bush, is a species of flowering plant in the family Moraceae.
- Despite the
overuse of "rubber" in its common names, it is not used in the commercial production of natural rubber.
- F. elastica yields a milky latex, separate from the sap and stored in different cells. Although the latex was once used to make rubber, it should not be confused with Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis), the main commercial source of latex for rubber making. (23)

• Ficus elastica is a glabrous spreading tree, up to 10 meters high, normally starting as an epiphyte, sending down numerous adventitious roots from the trunk and larger branches. Leaves are very leathery, smooth and shining, elliptic-oblong, 15 to 25 centimeters long, the tip with a tapering point and entire margin. Stipules are deciduous, membranaceous, and usually red, often as long as the leaves. Receptacles are axillary, usually in pairs, stalkless, smooth, greenish-yellow, oblong-ovoid, about 1 centimeter long.

• It is a large tree in the banyan group of figs, growing to 30–40 m (100–130 ft) – rarely up to 60 m or 195 ft – tall, with a stout trunk up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) in diameter. Trunk develops aerial and buttressing roots to anchor it in the soil and help support heavy branches. Leaves are broad, shiny and oval, 10–35 cm (4–14 in) long and 5–15 cm (2–6 in) broad; leaf size is largest on young plants (occasionally to 45 cm or 17+1⁄2 in long), much smaller on old trees (typically 10 cm or 4 in long). Leaves eaves develop inside a sheath at the apical meristerm, which grows larger as the new leaf develops. When it is mature, it unfurls and the sheath drops off the plant. Inside the new leaf, another immature leaf is waiting to develop. (23)

- Introduced, but now pantropic in cultivation.
- Popularly planted in parks and as a roadside tree.

- Cultivated as a potted plant by florists.
- Native to Assam, Bangladesh, China, East Himalaya, Jawa, Laos, Malaya, Myanmar, Nepal, Sumatera, Thailand, Vietnam. (15)

- The latex contains caotuchouc, 10-30%; resin, 1.58%; a bitter substance; albuminoid; and magnesium salts. Wax contains cerotic acid.
- Leaves yielded four compounds: emodin, sucrose, morin and rutrin. (6)
- Leaves yielded two new compounds, ficuselastic acid and (1'S,6'R)-8-O-β-D- glucopyranosyl abscisate sodium, along with 12 known compounds: feroxidin, quercitrin, kaempferin, myricitrin, syringin, citroside B, corchoionoside C, (6S,9R)- roseoside, oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, benzyl O-β-D-glucopyranoside, icariside F2. (11)
- Bark of aerial roots yielded three compounds, ficusamide (1), ficusoside (2) and elasticoside (3), together with nine known compounds, including four triterpenes, three steroids and two aliphatic linear alcohols. (see study below) (12)
- Chromato-mass spectrometry study for composition of raw materials of leaves of Ficus elastica identified 68 compounds. Maximum amount was accounted for б-D-Glucopyranoside, methyl (28,99%), Phytol (9,90%), 2-Hydroxy-3-methylsuccinic acid (6,93%), Lanosterol (6,13%), Hydroquinone (5,55%), 9,12,15-Octadecatrienoic acid, ethyl ester, (Z,Z,Z)- (4,86%), Lup-20(29)-en-3- one (4,17%), 1,2-Benzenediol (3,33%), Lupeol (2,95%), 16-Allopregnene-3б,9а-diol-20-one 3-O-acetate (2,77%), 9-Octadecenamide, (Z)- (2,67%), 9,12,15-Octadecatrienoic acid, (Z,Z,Z)- (2,05%), з-Sitosterol (1,84%), а-d-Lyxofuranoside, methyl (1,57%), Dasycarpidan-1-methanol, acetate (ester) (1,52%), n-Hexadecanoic acid (1,45%), Hexadecanoic acid, ethyl ester (1,33%), 1,8-Dioxacyclohexadecane-2,10- dione, 5,6:12,13-diepoxy-8,16-dimethyl- (1,15%), Vitamin E (0,64%). (20)
- Qualitative analysis of methanol extract of leaves yielded carbohydrates, proteins, amino acids, steroids, glycosides, flavonoids, alkaloids, tannins, saponins and terpenoids. Carbohydrates, steroids, tannins were present in higher amounts; proteins, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids in moderate amounts; and amino acids and glycosides in lesser amount. (see study below) (21)
- Phytochemical screening of methanolic extract of stem bark yielded alkaloids, flavonoids, phenolics, saponins, glycosides, terpenoids, and eugenols, with absence of steroids. (see study below) (24)
- Study of bark of aerial roots isolated three new compounds, namely: elasticamide, elastiquinone, and fucusoside B, along with four known compounds. (see study below) (25)

- Astringent, vulnerary, styptic.
- The latex is irritant to the eyes and skin, and toxic if taken internally. (23)
- Studies have suggested anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, antitumor, antioxidant, analgesic, antimalarial, antitrypanosomal properties.

Parts utilized
Rootlets, bark, latex.

- In Java, the very young leaf-tips, before the leaves expand, are eaten as salad.
- In the Philippines, decoction of aerial rootlets used as vulnerary for wounds, dermatitis, cuts, and sores.
- Skin eruptions and dermatitis: Boil one cup of chopped bark in 1/2 gallon of water for 10 mins; use decoction to wash involved areas, twice daily.
- Decoction of aerial rootlets used for wounds, cuts and sores.
- Bark is astringent and used as styptics for wounds.
- In Panama, latex used for parasitic worms (Trichuris trichura).
- In northern Cameroon, used as fertility enhancement.
- In West Africa, used in the treatment of muscle and joint pain. (2)
- Used as diuretic.
- Used for treatment of eczema, tinea, leprosy, and boils.
- Used for treatment of hypertension and diabetes.
Plant that Detoxify the Air
- Of the ficus plants tested, the rubber plant is considered the best for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment, especially formaldehyde.
- Latex: Latex used for various applications of natural rubber,
i.e., tires, car components, machines parts, footwear, toys, etc. (18)
- Bark: Fibrous bark used in the manufacture of clothes and rope. (18)
- Wood: Although of poor quality, used for boards, posts, fuel. (18)

- Folklore advises against having it as a decorative bonzai inside the house as it is believed to invite ghosts.

Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory activity of an aqueous extract of F. elastica in carrageenan-induced edema and adjuvant-induced arthritis in rats. Results showed marked inhibition of experimentally induced inflammation in the two test models, similar to those achieved with indomethacin, an effect attributed to the presence of flavonoids. (2)
Hypoallergenicity: (1) Ficus elastica has been suggested as a possible source of natural rubber latex without the allergenicity of latex protein from Hevea brasiliensis. (2) Preliminary studies showed that natural rubber from Ficus elastica do not cause allergic reactions in hypersensitive humans

Antimicrobial / Constituents: Study isolated four known compounds from the leaves of F elastica – emodin, sucrose, morin and rutrin. Results showed antimicrobial activity against B cereus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. No Antifungal activity was observed. (6)
Anthelmintic / Latex: Study of F. religiosa, F. elastica and F. bengalensis showed the three plants possess anthelmintic activity against Indian earthworm Pheretima posthuma. Results showed F. religiosa showed more activity than the other two. (7)
Anthelmintic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anthelmintic activity of methanol and ethanol extract of leaves against Indian earthworm Pheritima posthuma. Metronidazole was the reference drug. (9)
Antitumor / Antioxidant: Methanolic extract of leaves and branches showed DPPH scavenging activity. Activity was attributed possibly to its rich content of polyphenolic compounds and flavonoids. A petroleum ether fraction and dichloromethane fraction showed activity against liver and breast human tumor cell line. (10)
Constituents / Antioxidant: Leaves yielded two new compounds, ficuselastic acid and (1'S,6'R)-8-O-β-D- glucopyranosyl abscisate sodium, along with 12 known compounds. Compounds 1 and 2 showed significant antioxidant activity, while 4 and 5 showed meaningful reducing capacity. Three flavonoids, 3-5, showed potent antioxidant activity. (11)
Ficusamide and Elastocide / Cytotoxicity / Antibacterial: Bark of aerial roots yielded three compounds, ficusamide, ficusoside, and elasticoside, together with nine known compounds, including four triterpenes, three steroids, and two alipathic linear alcohols. Ficusamide showed cytotoxicity against human cancer cell lines and strong activity against Staph saprophyticus. Elastocide showed potent activity against Enterococcus faecalis. (12)
Anti-Inflammatory / Roots: Study evaluated an aqueous extract of Ficus elastica for anti-inflammatory effect in a carrageenan-induced edema and adjuvant-induced arthritis models in rat. Results showed orally administered extract significantly inhibited experimentally induced inflammation in the two models. Effect was similar to indomethacin. The activity was attributed to the presence of a pigment of the flavonoid class. (14)
Silver Nanoparticles / Leaves: Study reports on the green synthesis of silver nanoparticles using leaf extract of F. elastica and alternative energy source of microwave irradiation. The study provides new direction for developing a catalytic tube for controlling air pollution SO2 caused by petrol-driven vehicles. (16)
Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Stem Bark: Study of methanolic extract of stem bark of Ficus elastica showed significant (p<0.05) inhibition of carrageenan induced inflammation and acetic acid induced writhing in a rat model. (17)
Antimalarial / Antitrypanosomal / Cytotoxicity / Aerial Roots: Study of methanol extract of roots of Ficus elastica at 25 µg/ml plasmodiacidal activity (IC50 9.5 µg/mL) against Plasmodium falciparum and trypanocidal activity (IC50 0.9 µg/ml) against Trypanosoma brucei brucei. It showed low cytotoxic effect on HeLa cancer cell line. Chloroquine was used as reference drug with IC50 7.9 nM. (19)
Larvicidal against Culex spp. / Leaves: Study evaluated a methanol leaf extract of Ficus elastica for larvicidal activity against Culex sp. The methanol extract showed high percentage of mortality against mosquito larvae: 46.66% in 1 ml after two and three days, and 56.66%, 96.66%, and 100% mortality rate in 2 ml, 3 ml, and 4 ml concentration respectively. The high rate of larvicidal activity was attributed to the large amount of phytochemicals in F. elastica. (see constituents above) (21)
Antidepressant / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidepressant activity of various extracts of leaves of Ficus elastica in two models: Forced swim test (FST) and Tail suspension test (TST).The methanolic extract was found most active. In both FST and TST, the methanol extract at 500- mg/kg produced significant (p<0.05) reduction in immobility period. Activity was attributed to the presence of flavonoids. (22)
Antimalarial / Stem Bark: Study of evaluated methanol extract of stem bark of F. elastica for antimalarial potential against Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA (PbANKA). Prophylactic study showed dose-related increase in antimalarial activity, with the 400 mg/kg dose showing best potency, bested only by 10 mg/kg Chloroquine. Curative study showed significant inhibition when dosage was increased from 100 mg/kg to 200 mg/kg, with insignificant change at 400 mg/kg. Acute toxicity study showed no mortality or toxic effects even at dose of 1000 mg/kg. Results showed oral administration of crude extracts of stem bark showed significant antimalarial activity in P. berghei-infected mice and showed low cytotoxicity. Results suggest higher prophylactic than curative activity. (see constituents above) (24)
Anticancer  / Antiproliferative / Bark and Wood of Aerial Roots: Study of evaluated the anticancer activity of bark and wood extracts of Ficus elastica aerial roots. Three new compounds were isolated from the bark of aerial roots, namely: elasticamide, elastiquinone, and fucusoside B. Colorimetric MTT assay evaluated the compounds for anti-proliferative effect on six human cancer cell lines. Elastiquinone showed most significant cytotoxic activity with IC50 14 µM against B16F10 melanoma cells. Peracetylated for of ficusoside B displayed lowest IC50 (11 µM) against U373n glioma cell lines. Results suggest a potential source of new compounds with antiproliferative activity. (25)

- Wild-crafted.
- Cultivated.

Updated January 2024 / November 2016

Photos © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ficus elastica tree / PseudoscienceFTL (Effects of constant pruning - a well-trained trunk of aerial roots / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ficus elastica leaf / M Purves / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Ficus elastica leaves / B Navez / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Figs of Ficus elastica leaves / Julio Reis / CC BY-SA 3.0 / Image modified / Click on image or link to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Rubber Plants (Ficus elastica) / Plants that Detoxify the Air
The anti-inflammatory effect of a crude aqueous extract of the root bark of Ficus elastica in the rat / Sackeyfio AC Lugeleka OM: / ARCH INT PHARMACODYN THER., 1986; 281(1): pp 169-176 /
PMID: 3753095
The anti-inflammatory effect of a crude aqueous extract of the root bark of "Ficus elastica" in the rat / Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1986 May; 281(1): pp 169-76
Occupational Latex Allergy: The End of the Innocence / Holzman, Robert S. MD; Katz, Jonathan D. MD
Hypoallergenic natural rubber products from parthenum argentatum (gray) and other non-hevea brasiliensis species / FreePatentOnLine

Investigation on the Chemical Constituents of the Leaves of Ficus elastica Roxb. and Their Antimicrobial Activity / Hassan Abdalla Almahy et al / Pertanika J. Sci. & Technol., 2003; 11(1): pp 57-63
Sorting Ficus names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
INVESTIGATION OF IN VITRO ANTHELMINTIC ACTIVITY OF FICUS ELASTICA LEAVES / Ramchandra Gupta / Journal of drug discovery and therapeutics, Vol 1, No 5, 2013.
Antitumor and Antioxidant Activity of Ficus elastica Roxb. and Ficus bengalensis Linn. Family Moraceae / S S El-Hawary, G M Wassel, B S El-Menshawi, N A Ibrahim, K Mahmoud and M M Ayoub / World Applied Sciences Journal, 19(11):1532-1539, 2012.
Chemical Constituents of the Ficus elastica Leaves and Their Antioxidant Activities / Phan Van Kiem et al / Bull. Korean Chem. Soc. 2012, Vol. 33, No. 10 3461 / http://dx.doi.org/10.5012/bkcs.2012.33.10.3461
Ceramide, cerebroside and triterpenoid saponin from the bark of aerial roots of Ficus elastica (Moraceae) / E.J.T. Mbosso et al. / Phytochemistry 83 (2012) 95–103
Sorting Ficus names / Authorised by Prof. Snow Barlow / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
The anti-inflammatory effect of a crude aqueous extract of the root bark of "Ficus elastica" in the rat
. / Sackeyfio AC, Lugeleka OM. / Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1986 May;281(1):169-76.
Ficus elastica / Synonyms / KEW: Plants of the World Online
Microwave-Mediated Green Synthesis of Silver Nanoparticles Using Ficus Elastica Leaf Extract and Application in Air Pollution Controlling Studies / N. Gandhi, D. Sirisha* and Vikas Chandra Sharma / Int. Journal of Engineering Research ad Applications, Vol. 4, Issue 1( Version 1), January 2014, pp.61-72

Anti-inflammatory and Analgesic activities of Methanolic Extracts of the Stem Bark of Alstonia Boneei, Ficus Elastica and Xylopia Aethiopica in Rodents
/ Aziba P. I and J. A Sokan / Afr. J. Biomed. Res. Vol. 12, No. 3, 2009
Ficus elastica / Useful Tropical Plants
Biological activities of plant extracts from Ficus elastica and Selaginella vogelli: An antimalarial, antitrypanosomal and cytotoxity evaluation / Jean Emmanuel Mbosso Teinkela, Xavier Siwe Noundou, Edwige Laure Nguemfo et al / Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences, 2018; 25(1): pp 117-122 /
DOI: 10.1016/j.sjbs.2017.07.002
Research on External Signs and Chemical Composition of Medicinal Plant Raw Material -Leaves of Ficus Elastica / Angelina V Strelyaeva, Anna G Kharitonova, Larisa B Vaskova, Roman M Kuznetsov et al / Pharmacognosy Journal, 2022; 14(6S): pp 958-972 / DOI: 10.5530/pj.2022.14.197
Larvicidal activity of leaf extract of Ficus elastica, Roxb.; (Rubber Fig) on Culex sps. / Dr Sr M Arul Sheeba Rani / JETIR: Journal of Emerging Technologies and Innovative Research, 2019; 6(5) / ISSN: 2349-5162
Study on Antidepressant Activity of Ficus Elastica / Akash Koley, Sruti Bagchi Ghosh, Shyamal Kumar Biswas, Rimpa Jana / International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Applications, 2021; 6(4): pp 766-777 / ISSN: 2249-7781
Ficus elastica / Wikipedia
In Vivo Antimalarial Activity and Phytochemical Screening of Tree Bark Extract of Ficus Elastica
/ Okereke Casmir Ogechukwu, Agbaike Precious Salt / Journal of Science and Technology Research, 2023; 5(2): pp 21-30 / ISSN: 2682-5821 / DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.8009895
Anticancer activity of Ficus elastica aerial roots / Jean Emmanuel Mbosso Teinkela / EUE: Editions Universitaires Europeennes / ISBN-13: 978-8416-1650-0 / ISBN-10: 384161650X / EAN  9783841616500


DOI: It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page. (Citing and Using a (DOI) Digital Object Identifier)

                                                            List of Understudied Philippine Medicinal Plants
                                          New plant names needed
The compilation now numbers over 1,300 medicinal plants. While I believe there are hundreds more that can be added to the collection, they are becoming more difficult to find. If you know of a plant to suggest for inclusion, please email the info: local plant name (if known), any known folkloric medicinal use, scientific name (most helpful), and, if possible, a photo. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

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