Ficus carica is the scientific name for the fig plant. Oil from figs comes from the seeds inside the fruit. Fig oil is edible, and is also suitable as a lubricant. Aromatherapy oil products can also incude fig components, derived from the fig leaves.
The fig plant is a small tree that has a maximum height of 30 feet (about 9 meters.) Historically, the fig grew in Asia and around the Mediterranean sea, but now grows in many places around the world that have mild or tropical weather. As well as the common fig, the plant is also known as the edible fig.
Fruit from the fig tree vary in appearance depending on the variety of fig. All of them, however, have soft skins that surround a juicy flesh and seeds in the center. Often, fig farms sell the fruit as fresh produce, although they can also preserve them in cans or dry them.
As well as making use of the flesh, fig farmers may also dry the seeds to use the oil content. About 30 percent of a fig seed is oil. The oil in the seeds is not one single type of oil, but instead contains several different fatty components. This oil, once the producer extracts it from the seed, is suitable for human consumption. The oil also has lubricating properties.
Aromas of fig can also present market opportunities for fig producers. These aromas typically come from the leaves of the fig plant. French perfume manufacturers treat the leaves and produce a liquid or runny solid that they then call "fig-leaf absolute."
Primary aromas of this product can evoke a sense of natural, forest-like smells. The scent molecules of fig leaves dissolved in oil make suitable bases for aromatherapy oils, or even perfumes, along with other scents. Some fragrance products also have fig oil as the single ingredient. Some alternative health product retailers promote fig oil as good luck, a source of love inspiration and also a source of male potency.
Another oil, Barbary fig oil, comes from a plant that is not closely related to the common fig. A cactus named Opuntia ficus-indica produces fruit, the seeds from which make Barbary fig oil. This particular oil is suitable for skin products and may also form part of a haircare regime. Proponents of this type of oil say that the oil improves the appearance of skin and the hair of those who apply it.