Ficin
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Pat
Posted on: January 20, 2004

I have been taking a product called Zymex 11 which contains ficin (10 mg per cap). I have been advised to take 6 tablets with each meal for 7 days - stop for 3 days and then take again for another 7 at that amount, for parasites. After I am to take 2 with each meal. I have tried to find out more about this product and saw on your website that ficin can be poisonous. I also saw that it can thicken the blood. Is this correct and can you give me some more insight into ficin and is it safe at these levels? Thank you for any information you can provide.

Susan Eagles is not familiar with ficin or Zymex. I am not familiar with either of them either. I wonder where on our website you saw the reference to "ficin" because I did a search of all the text on our website and nothing with "ficin" turned up. Are you sure that you are not referring to "ricin"? Ricin is mentioned on our website: it is a constituent of castor bean (Ricinus communis) and is one of the most poisonous plant substances known to man. It has a dubious history of use in the worlds of spys and terrorists.

According to my research, ficin (also known as "ficain") is an enzyme that is extracted from the latex of certain species of figs including the Amazonian fig, Ficus glabrata. There is evidence that the enzyme is useful for treating a variety of parasites including roundworm. It works in a manner similar to papain, the enzyme from papaya, by attacking proteins mainly.

I did not find any data on the safety or toxicity of ficin. In one study, ficin-containing latex of Ficus insipida was administered to mice at a dose of 3 ml/kg/day over three days. The authors of the study (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=10363841&dopt=Abstract) characterized the effect of the latex in mice as "high acute toxicity with hemorrhagic enteritis". How this observation relates to humans is unknown, but it is known that there is a history of traditional use of these figs for the treatment of parasites which suggests that there is a relatively safe way to use the herb in humans.

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