By Prof. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Two studies (Batool et al. 2018; Zhang et al. 2019) confirmed that the leaves of Mangifera indica have been used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for many years in naturopathic healing.
Zhang et al. (2019 ) explained that the leaves, especially have been used in naturopathic practices to treat diabetes and many other health conditions as compared to other parts such as the stem, bark, roots, and fruit. The fruit of mango is also loaded with many vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Each serving is also relatively low in mango calories, making it an incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense food.
One cup of raw mango fruit contains approximately:
28 grams carbohydrates
1 gram protein
0.4 gram fat
3 grams dietary fiber
45.7 milligrams vitamin C (76 percent DV)
1,262 international units vitamin A (25 percent DV)
0.2 milligram vitamin B6 (11 percent DV)
1.8 milligram vitamin E (9 percent DV)
6.9 micrograms vitamin K (9 percent DV)
0.2 milligram copper (9 percent DV)
257 milligrams potassium (7 percent DV)
23.1 micrograms folate (6 percent DV)
0.1 milligram riboflavin (6 percent DV)
0.1 milligram thiamine (6 percent DV)
Apart from those espoused above, mango also contains some amount of niacin, magnesium, and pantothenic acid — as well as powerful antioxidants like zeaxanthin, quercetin, astragalin, and beta-carotene.
Mangifera indica, science
Loaded in plant compounds
One study by Ediriweera et al.(2017) found that the leaves of mango are loaded with diverse significant plant compounds, such as polyphenols and terpenoids. One such is Terpenoids, which another study by Grassmann, J(2005) found that is good for eye health and immunity. Terpenoids also act as antioxidants, which protect our cells from harmful activities.
Two other studies( Fraga et al. 2019; Cory et al. 2018) also found that the polyphenols in Mangifera indica are also loaded with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These polyphenols enhance gut bacteria and help treat or prevent conditions like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
One specific polyphenol found in Mangifera indica, called mangiferin is linked with several health benefits( Du et al. 2018; Matkowski et al. 2013; Barreto et al. 2008).
For instance, Du et al. (2018) found that mangiferin acts as an anti-microbial agent and potential treatment for tumors, diabetes, heart disease, and fat digestion abnormalities. Though, more human studies are needed( Batool et al. 2018).
Mangifera indica, anti-inflammatory properties
Though, more human studies are needed. Three studies have demonstrated the potential anti-inflammatory properties in mango leaves( Saha et al. 2016; Pan et al. 2016; Fomenko and Chi, 2016). Though inflammation is part of the body’s normal immune response, chronic inflammation can increase the risk of various diseases.
However, this can be dealt with by using mango leaves. One animal study ( Omairi et al. 2018) found that mango leaves’ anti-inflammatory properties could protect the brain from conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. In this study, a mango leaf extract given to rats at 2.3 mg per pound of body weight (5 mg per kg) helped counteract artificially induced oxidative and inflammatory biomarkers in the brain.
Mangifera Indica, Weight Loss
One study by Zhang et al.( 2013) found that the mango leaf extract could manage obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome by interfering with fat metabolism.
Additionally, three other animal studies( Zhang et al. 2013; Guo et al. 2011; Sferrazzo et al. 2019) have found that the mango leaf extract inhibits fat accumulation in tissue cells. The studies further found that cells treated with a mango leaf extract had lower levels of fat deposits and higher levels of adiponectin.
Two studies( Nigro et al. 2014; Achari and Jain, 2017) explained that Adiponectin is a cell-signaling protein that plays a role in fat metabolism and sugar regulation in your body. Higher levels could protect against obesity and obesity-related chronic diseases.
In another study of rats( Ramírez et al. 2017) who were obese, those fed mango leaf tea in addition to a high-fat diet had less abdominal fat as compared to those given only the high-fat diet.
In another study, which happens to be in humans ( Na et al. 2015) conducted for 12 weeks in 97 adults with excess weight, those given 150 mg of mangiferin daily had lower fat levels in their blood and better insulin resistance index as compared to the placebo. This means that mango leaves are better for blood sugar management.
Mangifera indica, Blood sugar, blood pressure management
Studies have confirmed that Mango leaves have a better score in the management of blood sugar due to their effects on fat metabolism. For instance, Zhang et al. (2019) study used the mango leaf extract administered to mice for 2 weeks and found that it has lower triglyceride and blood sugar levels.
In another study in rats by Sandoval-Gallegos et al. (2018) administered 45 mg per pound of body weight (100 mg per kg) of mango leaf extract and found that it decreased hyperlipidemia, a condition characterized by abnormally high levels of triglycerides and cholesterol.
A recent animal study by Boas et al. (2020) this time compared mango leaf extract and the oral diabetes drug glibenclamide in rats with diabetes. The study found that the mango leaf extract group experienced lower blood sugar levels than the glibenclamide group after 2 weeks.
A previous human study( Evans et al. 2014) from Oklahoma found that individuals are given mango leaf extract and fruit for 12 weeks drastically decreased blood sugar levels in obese adults. Finally, another previous study (Lattimer and Haub, 2010) found that fiber content promotes normal blood sugar levels.
With high blood pressure, one study(Houston and Harper, 2008) found that mango is loaded with high magnesium and potassium, which are two essential nutrients that are vital when it comes to regulating blood pressure. Additionally, Ha. SK (2014) also reports that Mangifera is naturally low in sodium, a micronutrient that should be limited in those with high blood pressure.
Mangifera Indica, Cancer properties
Two reviews ( Vyas et al. 2012; Khurana et al. 2016) found that mangiferin in mango leaves may have an anticancer ability as it combats oxidative stress and fights inflammation. One test-tube study by Núñez Selles et al. (2016) found specific effects against leukemia and lung, brain, breast, cervix, and prostate cancers.
An earlier study( Youn et al. 2008) found that the mango bark has strong anticancer ability due to its lignans, which are another type of polyphenol. Additionally, One significant study by Glinskya and Razc (2009) found mangos to be loaded with pectin. These pectins, which aid to lower cholesterol levels in the blood could also fight prostate cancer, in vitro studies.
Another good news for men is that a compound within pectin combines with galectin-3, a protein that is pivotal in fighting inflammation and cancer progression. For instance, an old human study by Daviglus et al (1996) found that higher dietary intakes of vitamin C and beta-carotene, an antioxidant found within the mango, increased survival rates in men with prostate cancer. This means that mango could help men diagnosed with prostate cancer improve their quality of life(QOL).
Finally, another in vitro study by Wilkinson et al.(2011) conducted by the University of Queensland also established that extracts of mango flesh and peels were effective at blocking the growth of breast cancer cells.
Mango, Stomach Ulcers, Digestive Health
Though human studies are limited in this area. Some studies(Prabhu and Rajan, 2015; Priya et al. 2011; Lima et al. 2006) found that mango leaf and other parts of the plant have traditionally been employed in naturopathic practice to treat stomach ulcers and other digestive conditions.
Also, one study in rodents( Severi et al. 2009) found that orally administering the mango leaf extract at 113–454 mg per pound (250–1,000 mg per kg) of body weight reduced the number of stomach wounds. Another earlier rodent study( Carvalho et al. 2007) found the same findings with mangiferin drastically improving digestive damage.
The fiber in Mango, (Anderson et al. 2009; Anderson et al. 2009) has been found to add bulk to the stool to increase stool frequency in people with constipation, and also help protect against other gastrointestinal conditions, including hemorrhoids, GERD, intestinal ulcers, and diverticulitis.
Mango, Healthy Skin, Hair
A recent study by Zhang and Duan, (2018) found that mango leaf extract could decrease signs of skin aging due to its antioxidant content.
Another earlier study in mice( Song et al. 2013) found that mango extract taken orally at 45 mg per pound (100 mg per kg) of body weight increased collagen production and drastically shortened the length of skin wrinkles.
Another test-tube study by Chirayath et al.( 2019) found that the mango leaf extract could have antibacterial effects against Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can cause staph infections. In a recent study by Pleguezuelos-Villa et al. (2020)the Mangiferin in Mango has also been studied for psoriasis, a skin condition that causes itchy, dry patches. A test-tube study using human skin confirmed that this polyphenol encouraged wound healing.
On hair, three studies( Laulloo et al. 2018; Trüeb et al. 2009; Trüeb et al. 2015) confirmed that mango leaves are rich in antioxidants, and protect hair follicles from damage. This aids hair growth.
Senaidy, AM(2009) found that due to the high level of vitamin A and beta-carotene is lower in children with asthma. Hence, mango vitamin A and carotene content could have some impact on allergic diseases, such as asthma.
Links, R(2019) suggest that those who are allergic to cashew or some nuts should forgo mangoes as they belong to the same family. On eating mangos skin, she advised that the peels contain tiny amounts of urushinol, which can trigger dermatitis in those sensitive to it and may also cause food allergy symptoms like itching, burning, and swelling of the skin, so it’s best to avoid the skin whenever possible.
Finally, she explained that since there is a relatively high amount of calories in mango compared to other fruits, it is advisable not to eat more at a time.
From supporting literature, mangos including the fruit, leaves and others are loaded with impressive nutritional content. Studies found that they can lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, improved heart and brain health, increased immune function, decreased signs of aging, better digestive health, and more.
Prof. Nyarkotey has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations to justify his write-ups. My articles are for educational purposes and do not serve as Medical advice for Treatment. I aim to educate the public about evidence-based scientific Naturopathic Therapies.
The author is a Medical Journalist, science writer, Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology, Ghana.