Hottentot Fig (Carpobrotus edulis)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Rita Rooyen
Posted on: October 16, 2003

Can you please give me info on a certain vig [fig]? Here [in South Africa] we call it the "Hotnots vy". The botanical name is "Carpobrotus edulis". We would like to know the medicament uses of this vig.

Hottentot fig or sour fig, as this plant is known in English, is a succulent indigeneous to the southwestern Cape Coast region of South Africa. It is one of the iceplants of the Aizoaceae or Mesembryanthemaceae family with fleshy leaves characteristic of succulents. It has bright pink daisy-like flowers.

It is a drought and salt tolerant plant, hardy in USDA zones 8b-11. It was introduced to coastal regions of California where it was widely planted to stabilize sand dunes. It forms dense mats that hold the sand in place. It is now considered to be an invasive plant by the California Invasive Plant Council.

The fruits are most commonly made into jams. According to the Plants for a Future database, the fully ripe fruits are sweet and mucilaginous. They can be eaten raw, cooked, pickled, or dried for later use. The leaves are edible also, but they are rated too mucilaginous to be enjoyable.

The astringent juice of the leaves is considered antiseptic by some authorities. It reportedly has been used to treat cuts, eczema, insect bites, ringworm and sunburn, and taken with water, it has been used for diarrhea and sore throat.

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