Did you know that mangoes are not only useful as food but also for medicinal value? Scientific research has proved that apart from the sweet, succulent tropical fruit of the mango trees, the stem, bark, roots, and leaves are also useful. This claim is not traditional folklore. The leaves of the mango tree are also not only edible but highly nutritious as well.
The various parts of the mango tree have gastroprotective, antibacterial, anti-hyper-lipemic, anti-fungal, antioxidizing, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anthelmintic, anti-plasmodia, hepatoprotective, anti-cancer, and immunomodulatory properties. The mango tree can be considered a “one-stop-shop” for nutritional and medicinal benefits.
Mango leaves can be eaten fresh, boiled to make tea, or bought as supplements, extract, capsules, and powder. The two major plant compounds in mango leaves are:
- Terpenoids – terpenoids are antioxidantsprotecting from cell degeneration and damage, boosting eyesight and the immune system.
- Polyphenols – polyphenols, for example, mangiferin, have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Benefits of mango leaves
- Mangiferin in mango leaves boosts gut health by supporting the development of healthy gut bacteria.
- Tender mango leaves are rich in polyphenols that boost brain health and function, preventing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
- Mango leaf extract has adiponectin, a cell-signaling protein that reduces abdominal fat and regulates blood sugar, helping to manage diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
- Mango leaves fight oxidative stress and inflammation. They may help fight organ cancer like brain, lung, prostate, breast, and cervical cancer.
- Mangiferin helps stomach ulcers and other digestive tract issues.
- Mango skin extract supports skin health and has antibacterial properties.
- Antioxidants in mango leaves extract may aid hair growth by protecting hair follicles.
- Consuming boiled mango leaves helps people with the common cold, bronchitis, voice loss, and asthma.
- Mango leaves can be boiled with onions to help in infertility cases.
- Mango leaves can be burned and the smoke inhaled to relieve common cold, bronchitis, sore throat, and asthma symptoms.
- Mango leaves strengthen blood vessels and treat varicose veins. They also have hypotensive properties and lower blood pressure.
Mango roots, bark, and stem
The mango bark is astringent, meaning it causes the contraction of skin cells and other tissues. It is also anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, styptic, and vulnerary.
Uses of the mango bark and stem
- The bark treats wounds, uteritis, cracked feet, diphtheria, rheumatism, and skin conditions like scabies.
- The bark contains tannins which are chemicals used for dyeing.
- Mango bark contains vimang and mangiferin, components with anti-allergenic properties. Extracts of the bark help in treating allergic disorders.
- Mangiferin in the mango stem and bark has the potential as a natural chemo-preventive agent making the bark and stem beneficial to reduce the effects of cancerous cells.
- Mango bark extract also acts against parasitic invasion.
- Extract of the stem boosts immunity.
- The fresh bark sap can be used to tackle bleeding piles, diarrhea, menorrhea, and leucorrhea.
Mango seed (kernel)
Mango kernel is an excellent source of protein and gallic acid. The seed has anthelmintic, astringent, hemostatic, refrigerant, and vulnerary properties.
Benefits of mango seed (kernel)
The mango seed can be used to relieve and even treat the following conditions:
- Chronic diarrhea
Mango flowers increase the hemoglobin content in the blood. They are hematinic, astringent, vulnerary, refrigerant, and styptic.
Benefits of mango flowers
Mango flowers are used to treat:
- Bladder cysts
- Acute dysentery
- Uroedema gleet
Mangoes are low in calories and high in fiber and nutrients. They are rich sources of vitamin C and contain small amounts of iron, phosphorus, selenium, and calcium.
Benefits of mango fruit
- Mangoes are rich in vitamins A, C, K, and E. These vitamins help boost immunity and absorption of iron, promote body and hair growth, and boost skin health.
- Polyphenols in mangoes act as antioxidants, protecting cells against damage from free radicals. Mangiferin in mangoes boosts antiaging properties and prevents diabetes, and lowers the risk of some types of cancer.
- Mangoes contain magnesium and potassium, which regulate pulse and relax blood vessels, promoting lower blood pressure levels.
- Mangoes contain digestive enzymes called amylases that break down complex carbs into maltose and glucose. The high water and dietary fiber content in ripe mangoes help prevent constipation and diarrhea.
- Mangoes contain zeaxanthin and lutein, two key nutrients that act as a natural sunblock for the eyes, protecting them from harmful blue light.
- Vitamin A in mangoes prevents nighttime blindness and dry eyes.
Caution on mangoes
- Can you eat too many mangoes? Yes. Mangoes are sweeter and contain more sugar than other fruits when ripe. Though they have natural sugar, moderation is key in ensuring you keep your blood sugar level to a minimum.
- Eating spicy food after eating mangoes can cause a stomach upset and a running tummy.
- Avoid taking water immediately after taking mangoes as this may cause a stomach upset, bloating, and acidity.
- Mangoes are high in fiber. Consuming fibrous fruits, including mangoes in excess, can cause diarrhea.
- Eating bitter gourd right after mangoes can cause vomiting, nausea, and breathing difficulty.
- Some people may be allergic to mangoes. They may exhibit symptoms like running nose, breathing problems, watery eyes, sneezing, and stomach pains.
- Mangoes are high in calories and may lead to weight gain if consumed in excess.
- Raw mangoes can cause indigestion if consumed in large quantities.
- Mango peels contain urushiol oil, similar to poison ivy. For those with skin conditions, the sap and peel of mangoes can cause allergic reactions and rashes.
Take home on mangoes
In addition to being delicious and versatile fruits, mangoes are highly nutritious. All parts of the mango plant arenutritionally and medicinally valuable, from the leaves to the roots. So go ahead and enjoy your ripe mangoes; eat them, juice them, chew on their leaves, make tea from their leaves, or use them for your skin. Get the full benefits of mangoes. But remember to consume them in moderation lest your blood sugar spikes.