Mango bark, leaves, skin, flesh, and the kernel have been used in folk remedies for centuries. In Indian Ayurvedic treatments mango leaves have been used for thousands of years. Fumes of burned leaves can be inhaled to cure hiccups and sore throats, while the collected ash is used to cover wounds.
The mango tree is considered sacred in India, its leaves are hung above doorways as they are a symbol of good luck and prosperity. The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of the mango.
The species name of the mango is Mangifera Indica, which simply means “Indian plant bearing mangos.”
Mango Origin & Characteristics
The mango tree is long-lived, some specimens being known to be 300 years old and still fruiting. This evergreen tree is erect, up to roughly 10-30 m high, with a broad, rounded canopy which may, with age, attain 30-38 m in width, or a more slender upright crown. Leaves droop like ribbons on slender petioles, borne mainly in rosettes at the tips of the branches and numerous twigs. New leaves appear periodically and irregularly on a few branches at a time. First they are yellowish, pink, deep-rose or wine-red and in time, they become dark-green and glossy. Full-grown leaves may be 10-32 cm long. Hundreds, perhaps even up to 4,000, small, yellowish or reddish flowers are borne in profuse, showy, erect, pyramidal, branched clusters. 25% to 98% male, the rest hermaphroditic.
Mango fruits come in many variations in terms of shape, size, colour and composition. Their rather thick skin is leathery, waxy and smooth, and varying in colour from light or dark green to bright yellow, yellow-orange, and reddish pink, with an often (dark) red to purple-red blush. Some have a “turpentine” -like smell and taste, while others are rich and pleasantly fragrant. The peach-like flesh is fibrous (overly “fibrous” in some seedlings), extremely juicy, with a flavour range from very sweet to sour.
An interesting fact about the mango tree is its special property that its growth causes a process called carbon sequestration – the process of removing carbon from the atmosphere. The trees absorb carbon dioxide from the environment and use it to form the trunk, branches, leaves and fruit. During this process, oxygen is produced and released to the atmosphere. In the Mexican state of Chiapas, it has been found that the average mango tree can absorb seven times more carbon than is emitted.
Due to this unique ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide, in Hindu cultures mango leaves (combined with marigold flowers) are used as a garland-like decoration to adorn doors of homes in all major Hindu festivals and during large religious gatherings and festivities.
Traditionally, mango leaves have been used for natural healing applications such as treating diarrhoea, dysentery, gastrointestinal tract disorders, scurvy, typhoid fever, sore throat, and as a febrifuge.
Research has shown the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of mango leaves and concluded that using mango leaves is a good home remedy to maintain oral hygiene.
Reported activities include anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-hyperglycaemic, anti-ulcerogenic and anti-hypertensive agents. In folk remedies, leaf decoction has been used as a stomachic against diarrhoea and urogenital inflammation, bronchitis and asthma, and for external use, in bathing or washing against scabies and syphilis.
Mango Oil & Benefits
Mango leaves are rich in various nutrients. They contain tannins, antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamins A, B and C, and phenolic compounds that can help control diabetes and lower blood pressure. They have powerful antioxidant properties due to the high content of flavonoids and phenols. In addition, mango leaves have been shown to have strong anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. When crushed, the leaves emit a turpentine-like odour and taste. Mango leaves can also be dried and used to make tea.
Mango oil, which is obtained by steam distillation of the leaves, is white to yellowish coloured and has a viscous structure at room temperature. This natural oil is a non-drying oil, as it contains less than 20% polyunsaturated fatty acids – the higher the content of polyunsaturated fatty acids (e.g. linoleic or linolenic acid), the faster the oil dries in the air (waxing). This makes mango oil more suitable for a dry, chapped skin and/or mature skin. For a more oily skin, the oil should be more drying.
Mango Oil for Skin care
Mango oil is used as a natural protection and nutrition for the skin. It absorbs quickly and does not leave a greasy shine on the skin.
As an important part of general skin care, mango oil provides optimal protection for dry and sensitive skin. Mango oil is a pure and unprocessed product and therefore also suitable for hypersensitive skin. Skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema can benefit greatly from using mango oil. The oil nourishes, protects and repairs affected skin, and is in general very suitable for daily care and the hydration of dry skin, and protective care of more sensitive areas such as the lips.
Inhibits Acne – Regularly using mango essential oil as a scrub, can inhibit acne effectively. As the oil is absorbed to the skin, it moisturizes without clogging the pores.
Soothes Insect Bites – Insect bites can be treated effectively by mango essential oil. It helps to relieve the inflammation and stop the skin from itching. Furthermore, it is also a suitable agent to treat sunburn and minor wounds or injuries.
Anti Ageing – Another benefit of the antioxidant effect of mango essential oil is that it stimulates the production of healthy cells, it is moisturizing and smooths the skin, and gives it a youthful appearance.
Mango Oil for Hair care
Fatty acids with vitamins A, C, and E, have the ability to nourish, moisturize and even strengthen the hair. For centuries the oil has been used to strengthen hair follicles, increase volume and reduce hair loss. It protects against harmful UV rays and the damage that may be caused to hair and scalp. Mango essential oil is recommended to maintain both healthy hair and scalp.