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.
- Introduced, but now pantropic
- Popularly planted in parks and as a roadside tree.
- Cultivated as a potted plant by florists.
- 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)
Astringent, vulnerary, styptic.
Rootlets and bark.
- 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, 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)
Plant that Detoxify the
- Of the ficus plants tested, the rubber
plant is considered the best for removing chemical toxins from the indoor environment,
especially formaldehyde. (1)
- Latex: Latex used for various applications of natural rubber, i.e., tyres, 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)
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)
(1) Ficus elastica has been suggested as a possible source of natural
rubber latex without the allergenicity of latex protein from Hevea basiliensis.
(2) Preliminary studies showed that natural rubber from Ficus elastica do
not cause allergic reactions in hypersenstivie 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. religinosa 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 dichlormethane 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)
Folklore advise against
having it as a decorative bonzai inside the house as it is believed
to invite ghosts.