Latin name: Ficus insipida, F. glabrata, Ficus spp.
Vernacular name: Ojé
The white latex is taken to kill parasites, and its effectiveness is well documented by research. The latex was processed into powder in Iquitos and exported to many countries, especially for use by military forces. Many preparation methods exist. The latex is often fermented with sugar cane, orange juice or aguardiente, and then taken orally. If the latex is not fermented it will “burn” the insides of a person. The latex is toxic, and overdoses are dangerous. Despite its efficacy if correctly used, bad experiences make many people fear it and seek other methods to control parasites. Education programs have promoted ojé use in Peru. A common belief is that ojé trees attract mosquitos.
These are large free standing trees, not strangler figs. Ojé is common on the floodplain where water and wind disperse the seeds. A slender tree at first, ojé can grow into huge trees. Often removed as a weed in floodplain fields, it is planted in the uplands, out of its natural environment. The people usually manage it in areas where space is not at a premium. As it gets large, it is frequently removed from areas near houses, as it is felt to attract mosquitos.