Mango Fruit – The Pros and Cons
One medium mango, about 10oz or so, is packed with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. Mango like most fruits are low in protein, about 1 gram for a medium size, but high in natural fiber. They do of-course contain no cholesterol, no saturated fat and about 0.6 grams of essential fatty acids. As for beta-carotene, mango are bursting with it, plus impressive amounts of potassium and magnesium. It’s the perfect fruit to replenish energy levels after heavy physical exercise like jogging or working out in the gym. Then there is vitamin C, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B6, plus calcium, iron and even traces of zinc.
The mango is indigenous to India, and has been cultivated there for over 4000 years. In
Ayurveda (Traditional Indian Medicine) the ripe mango is seen as balancing and energizing. The dried mango flowers contain about 15% tannin acid used as astringents in cases of diarrhea, chronic dysentery, and chronic urethritis. Mango kernel (seed) decoction (boiled in water) is used as a vermifuge (anti-parasite) and as an astringent for diarrhea, hemorrhages and bleeding hemorrhoids. The fruit cleanses the body, and helps the immune system fight infections.
Every part of mango tree, roots, stems, bark, the blossoms, unripe or ripe fruit, seeds, all have been used over the centuries for their curative and medicinal properties. The mango tree and its medicinal parts have shown to have some antibiotic activity. They also strengthen and invigorate all the nerve tissues of the brain, heart and other parts of the body.
Preparing a mango fruit- wash off the sap on the skin before handling it. Some fruit is so fibrous that it is difficult to slice and eat, in this case just squeeze the juice. Non-fibrous mango can be cut in half to the stone, the two halves twisted in opposite directions to separate the flesh from the central flat stone.
In Mexico – the mango is pierced at the stem end with a long central part of a special mango folk, then the fruit is held like a lollipop. Small mango are peeled and mounted on an ordinary fork and eaten in the same way.
The fat extracted from the kernel is white and solid like cocoa butter, and is being proposed as a substitute for cocoa butter in chocolate.
In India green hard mango are peeled, sliced, parboiled, then brown sugar, salt, various spices (cumin, ginger, turmeric, coriander, chili etc) are added sometimes with raisins or other fruits, and cooked to make chutney. Serve with meats, or bean etc this chutney will help improve digestion.
The bark of the tree is high in tannin acid about 16% to 20% and has been used for centuries in India for tanning hides.
In Thailand green-skinned mango are called “keo”, with sweet, nearly fiber-less flesh, they are soaked whole for 15 days in salted water before peeling, slicing and serving with sugar!
In Africa – the gum of the bark is resinous, redish-brown, and is used for mending crockery.
In Hawaii – Hawaiian technologists have developed methods for removing the peel from the fruit for the production of mango nectar, this is an important export industry to Hawaii.
The Canada Department of Agriculture has developed methods of preserving ripe or green mango slices by osmotic dehydration.
In the Caribbean, the leaf decoction (leaves boiled in water) is taken as a remedy for diarrhea, fever, chest complaints, diabetes, hypertension and other ills (see under caution).
CAUTION – The sap from of the tree trunk, branches and the skin of the fruit, is a potent skin irritant, and capable of blistering the skin. As with poison ivy, there can often be a delayed reaction. Hypersensitive persons may react with considerable swelling of the eyelids, the face, and other parts of the body. The leave of the mango tree has been used medicinally for centuries. Documented medicinal properties and actions of the mango leaf are – anti-asthmatic, antiseptic, antiviral, cardiotonic, expectorant (helps clear the lungs), hypotensive, and laxative. However, it is not recommend, as they are toxic and cattle grazing on mango leaves die. Diabetes – the tender young bright green leaves of the mango tree are considered useful in diabetes, but only under supervision. Continuous intake of the leaves may be fatal. When mango trees are in bloom, it is not uncommon for people to suffer itching around the eyes, to experience facial swelling and respiratory problems. The irritant is probably due to the vapor of essential oils from the flowers. Wood from the mango tree should never be used in a fireplace as the smoke is highly irritating.