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Mango- king of all fruits


The mango is the apple (or peach) of the tropics, and one of the most commonly eaten fruits in tropical countries around the world. The fruit is grown commercially on a small scale in Florida. In California a large planting in the Coachella Valley has now reached production stage.

The mango enjoys a unique status among the fruits. It is the most popular fruit of the tropics and is called 'The King of Asiatic fruits'. It is regarded as a valuable item of diet and a household remedy. The mango is fleshy drupe, variable in size and shape, with varying mixtures of green, yellow and red color. Inside the fruit is stony endocarp, variable in size. Mango grows on a large, erect, branched, evergreen tree. The leaves, when fully grown, are stiff, pointed and deep glossy green.

Mangifera indica L.

The mango is indigenous to India. It has been cultivated here for over 4000 years. In Vedas, mango is praised as a heavenly fruit. In Hindu mythology; it is believed that when Lord Shiva and Parvati came from Himalayas, they missed this heavenly fruit. Parvati who was very fond of mango, requested her husband to create mango tree by his Divine Power. Lord Shiva fulfilled her desire and mango appeared in India.

Alexander and his army men were the first Europeans who saw mango fruit in India in 327 BC. It was probably taken to Malaya and neighboring East Asian countries by Indians in the fifth century BC and to the East African coast by Persians about 10th century AD.

Besides India, the fruit is now widely grown in China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Philippines, Haiti, Mexico and Brazil. Numerous varieties are cultivated. In India alone, there are over 500 varieties, but only about 35 varieties are extensively cultivated.

Common Names: Mango, Mangot, Manga, Mangou.
Related species: Bindjai (Mangifera caesia), Horse Mango (M. foetida), Kuweni mango (M. odorata).
Distant affinity: Cashew (Anacardium occidentale), Gandaria (Bouea gandaria), Pistachio (Pistacia vera), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea), Ambarella (Spondias cytherea), Yellow Mombin (Spondias mombin), Red Mombin (Spondias purpurea), Imbu (Spondias tuberosa).

Origin: The mango is native to southern Asia, especially Burma and eastern India. It spread early on to Malaya, eastern Asia and eastern Africa. Mangos were introduced to California (Santa Barbara) in 1880.

Forms: The mango exists in two races, one from India and the other from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. The Indian race is intolerant of humidity, has flushes of bright red new growth that are subject to mildew, and bears monoembryonic fruit of high color and regular form. The Philippine race tolerates excess moisture, has pale green or red new growth and resists mildew. Its polyembryonic fruit is pale green and elongated kidney-shaped. Philippines types from Mexico have proven to be the hardiest mangos in California.

Adaptation: Mangos basically require a frost-free climate. Flowers and small fruit can be killed if temperatures drop below 40° F, even for a short period. Young trees may be seriously damaged if the temperature drops below 30° F, but mature trees may withstand very short periods of temperatures as low as 25° F. The mango must have warm, dry weather to set fruit. In southern California the best locations are in the foothills, away from immediate marine influence. It is worth a trial in the warmest cove locations in the California Central Valley, but is more speculative in the coastal counties north of Santa Barbara, where only the most cold adapted varieties are likely to succeed. Mangos luxuriate in summer heat and resent cool summer fog. Wet, humid weather favors anthracnose and poor fruit set. Dwarf cultivars are suitable for culture in large containers or in a greenhouse.

Usefulness: The ripe fruit is a good laxative, increases the urine flow and cools the blood. The unripe fruit can be made into a cooling hot summer drink and also into various mango pickles.

The-mango is used as food in all stages of its development. Green or unripe mango contains a large portion of starch which gradually changes into glucose, sucrose and maltose as the fruit begins to ripe. It disappears completely when the fruit is fully ripe. Green mango is a rich source of pectin which gradually diminishes after the formation of the stone. Unripe mango is sour in taste because of the presence of oxalic, citric, malic and succinic acids. The raw mango is a valuable source of vitamin C. It contains more vitamin C than half-ripe or fully ripe mangoes, It is also a good source of vitamin Bi and B2 and contains sufficient quantity of niacin. These vitamins differ in concentration in various varieties during the stages of maturity and environmental conditions.

The ripe fruit is very wholesome and nourishing. The chief food ingredient of mango is sugar. The acids contained in the fruit are tartaric acid and malic acid, besides a trace of citric acid. These acids are utilized by the body and they help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.

Food Value/100gm Minerals and Vitamins / Amount
Moisture 81.0% calcium 14 mg
Protein 0.6 Phosphorus 16 mg
Fat 0.4% Iron 1.3%
Minerals 0.4% Vitamin C
Small amount of Vitamin B-Complex
Fibre 0.4%
Carbohydrate 16%

The raw mango is a valuable source of vitamin C. It contains more vitamin C than half-ripe or fully ripe mangoes, It is also a good source of vitamin Bi and B2 and contains sufficient quantity of niacin. These vitamins differ in concentration in various varieties during the stages of maturity and environmental conditions.

The ripe fruit is very wholesome and nourishing. The chief food ingredient of mango is sugar. The acids contained in the fruit are tartaric acid and malic acid, besides a trace of citric acid. These acids are utilized by the body and they help to maintain the alkali reserve of the body.

Natural Benefits and Curative Properties

The mango is well-known for its medicinal properties both in unripe and ripe states. The unripe fruit is acidic, astringent and antiscorbutic. The skin of the unripe fruit is astringent and stimulant tonic. The bark is also astringent and has a marked action on mucous membranes, I Mango pickles preserved in oil and salted solution is used throughout India. However, these pickles, if extremely sour, spicy and oily, are not good for health and should be specially avoided by those suffering from arthritis, rheumatism-sinusitis, sore throat and hyperacidity.

The ripe mango is antiscorbutic, diuretic, laxative, -invigorating, fattening and astringent. It tones up the heart muscle, improves complexion and stimulates appetite. It increases the seven body nutrients, called 'dhatus' in Ayurveda. They are food juice, blood, flesh, fat, bone marrow and semen. The fruit is beneficial in liver disorders, loss of weight and other physical disturbances.

Unripe Mango
Heat Stroke

The unripe mango protects men from the adverse effects of hot, scorching winds. A drink, prepared from the unripe mango by cooking it in hot ashes and mixing the pith with sugar and water, is an effective remedy for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Eating raw mango with salt quenches thirst and prevents the excessive loss of sodium choloride and iron during summer due to excessive sweating.

Gastro-Intestinal Disorders: Unripe green mangoes are beneficial in the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders. Eating one or two small tender mangoes in which the seed is not fully formed with salt and honey is found to be very effective medicine for summer diarrhoea, dysentery, piles, morning sickness, chronic dyspepsia, indigestion and constipation.

Blood Disorders

The green mango is valuable in blood disorders because of its high vitamin C content. It increases the elasticity of the blood vessels and helps the formation of new blood cells. It aids the absorption of food-iron and prevents bleeding tendencies. It increases body resistance against tuberculosis, anemia, cholera and dyse


The tender leaves of the mango tree are considered useful in diabetes. An infusion is prepared from fresh leaves by soaking them overnight in water and squeezing them well in water before filtering it in the morning. This infused water should be taken every morning to control early diabetes. As an alternative to infusion. Leaves can be dried in the shade, powdered and preserved. Half a teaspoonful of this powder should be taken twice a day, in the morning and evening.


The mango seeds are valuable in diarrhoea. The seeds should be collected during the mango season, dried in the shade and powdered and stored for use as medicine. It should be given in doses of about one and a half gram to two grams with or without honey. Juice of fresh flowers when taken with one or two teaspoonful of curds, is also valuable in diarrhoea.

Throat Disorders

The mango- bark is very efficacious in the treatment of diphtheria and other throat diseases. Its fluid is locally applied and also used as a gargle. The gargle is prepared by mixing 10 ml. of the fluid extract with 125 ml. of water.

Polyphenoloxidase from mango (Mangifera indica) peel was purified to homogeneityby ammonium sulphate fractionation, chromatography on DEAE-Sephadex and gel filtrationof Sephadex G-200. The enzyme had an apparent molecular weight of 136,000. Its pH andtemperature optimum were 5.4 and 50°C, respectively. The enzyme possessed catecholaseactivity and was specific to o-dihydroxy phenols. The enzyme also exhibited peroxidaseactivity. Some non-oxidizable phenolic compounds inhibited the enzyme competitively.High inhibitory effects were also shown by some metal chelators and reducing agents, Mangopeel polyphenol oxidase when immobilized onto DEAE Sephadex showed slightly higher Kmfor catechol and lower pH and temperature optima (T. N. PRABHA and M. V. PATWARDHANDiscipline of Fruit and Vegetable Technology, Central Food Technological ResearchInstitute. Mysore 570 013, 1982).

Mangoes in Bangladesh

March 2005,Though cold weather and rain delayed the flowering in mango trees in the district, the trees are in full buds now indicating that there would be a good yield of mango this year. Some officials of Agriculture Extension Department said the mango trees had been in buds 20 days ago as in the previous year when 1.20, 000 tonnes of mango were grown from 11,50,000 mango trees on 16,050 hectares of land. The local horticulture scientists on the basis of this year being on year for the mango are expecting a bumper production of mango in the district.

They expect no possibility of fog or heavy shower of rain during the blossoming period and as such are apprehending no damages to mango buds either by inclement weather or by pest attack. They think that foggy weather helps the growth of leafhopper insect and fungal disease. This year the cold is gone quite early and as such it is unlikely that there would be any fog in the days to come.

The mango grove owners and mango growers of the district have expressed contradictory opinions about the blossoming and growth of mango buds this year.

Hasan Ali Chowdhury (45), a mango orchard owner of Shibganj Upazila said, a good blossoming of mango buds usually follows a severe chilly weather associated with cold wave. He based his argument on the fact that there was chill this year and the winter was short-lived and that is why, he said the buds of mango would be thwarted this year. Another farmer said that the sudden rise in day temperature helped suddudden sprout of mango buds in the trees. He said that such a sudden blossoming of mango buds would hinder the smooth growth of mango.

mangoSo chance had it that my next assignment required me to take a sneak peek into mangoes, your surprise no greater than mine I assure you, and brood as I did for not being a foodie, no one seemed willing to change the topic for all my puppy glances were worth. Downright preposterous I felt, my 36kg self giving anything but hilarious insight into edibles. But there it appeared, a brilliant idea light bulb over my head, ting-ling sound and all. I am a Rajshahian, and offensive non-word I must admit, but I must have been born so for the sole purpose of making this article worth the read. Now then without further ado, let's get to exploiting my ancestry…

Since I'm already patting myself blue over my region of descent, that is exactly where I will begin being informative. Quality mangoes, I rightfully insist, are grown best in the northern parts of Bangladesh as well as in West Bengal. The main determinant for growing mangoes being alluvial soil, it is understandable why the fruit cannot be grown in the southern and eastern parts of the country where red soil is dominant. Rajshahi, or more precisely Chapainawabganj, is the centre stage for mango plantations where at least 50 different types of mangoes are grown. The involvement of Rajshahi's locals in the production of mangoes is such that for a minimum of 5 months a year, the lives of all people ranging from an average day labourer to the affluent estate owners are entirely centred around the business. Mangoes are the most important cash crops in the region and it is needless to mention how the income levels and livelihood of the general people are heavily dependant on the fruit.

There are two main methods of growing mango trees namely grafting, where the trees are tied together for support or directly from the seed. Grafted saplings yield a more superior quality of fruit and are hence the best preferred option. Interesting to note however is the fact that most estate owners hold what is locally referred to as nilaam for their orchards whereby entire estates are leased out to middlemen for a period of 2-4 years. Under these terms, the middlemen become the owners of the actual fruits but possession of the trees is left unconditionally with the owners of the orchards. The middlemen are held fully responsible for maintaining the estates, ploughing the fields, applying insecticide and selling the fruit to different retailers. The fruits are plucked depending on maturity and a small portion of mangoes, known as khash aam, are left for the consumption of the owners. Fruits are borne by mango trees an estimated 5 years after planting and the life span of each tree is approximately 100 years.

Although many more varieties are grown, the most popular types of mangoes in Bangladesh are fazlee, khirshapath, gopalbhog, langra and heemshagor. Current price levels are around tk1000 per maan (40kgs) in Rajshahi but this figure is doubled when the fruits are traded in any other towns and cities.

Having delivered all the bookish knowledge I could muster, the most important aspect is yet to be considered. We move on to the reason for which all this time and trouble is taken and of course find ourselves drowned in the pleasures of eating the oh so heavenly fruit. Mangoes when they come, are nothing less than a festival in themselves. Featuring in every market, stored in every pantry (and unfortunately under my bed) and literally defining the word dessert for a couple of months, green and orange are definitely the hottest colours of the season. How one has it is an entire Lifestyle issue altogether but for the sake of our taste buds a few must be mentioned nonetheless. Be it the traditional aam-dudh, pickles or what is more fondly known as achaar, my personal favourite of mango juice or merely having the fruit in its raw unprocessed form, it is a rage on more senses than one. We have little alternative but to succumb to its temptations and I choose to let loose and allow 'them' to consume me entirely (Yes! that is a more fitting statement than vice-versa).

I could ramble on considering the time and first-hand source of information available to me but word constraints and more importantly readers' patience limits oblige me to draw a conclusion. In a closing thought, I feel that whether you are food, or should I say fruit enthusiasts or not, surrender yourselves to the mango fever that has gripped the city for there are very few things our nation can indeed be proud of them, and this amazingly is one of them (Reehu, S, S., 2006).

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