Population of the jungle of Peru uses the latex that produces the bark of the ojÃ© with multiple purposes
Ficus insipida Willd tree is popularly known in the Peruvian Amazon as “Ojé, Higuerón or Huito”. It is a tree 18 meters high, straight trunk, broad and leafy crown, gray bark with parallel fissures and abundant sap or white latex – milky. It has bisexual flowers and a globe-shaped fruit 2 to 3 cm in diameter that contains abundant small seeds.
It grows wild and is also cultivated in the High Forest of Peru, near rivers that are located between 800 to 1000 meters above sea level, in tropical and subtropical climate, with rainfall of 1500 to 4500 mm or more per year and temperatures in a range of 22 to 30 °C.
Ficus insipida Willd has several medicinal uses: the population of the jungle of Peru uses the latex that produces the bark of the ojé with multiple purposes: as purgative, antiparasitic, antirheumatic, hematopoietic, depurative of the blood and for the toothache, bite of ant, snake bite and against leishmaniasis. However, it is necessary to know the dose well, since consumed in excess produces intoxication. The heated sap is used against the bite of fish.
Leaves of this species are used as antiemetic, antipyretic, febrifuge and antianemic. Fruits are attributed aphrodisiac powers, in addition to stimulating memory. They also serve as food for fish, birds, “sachavacas” and deer. Ojé wood is used to make boxes and the fiber of the bark is used as a cloth.
The most important active ingredient of the ojé sap is ficin, a proteolytic enzyme that dissolves the cuticle that protects the body from gastrointestinal parasites. People of the forest, after collecting the latex, pack it in a glass container, previously disinfected with boiling water; adding a part of aguardiente for its conservation and avoiding contamination.