Archive for September 11th, 2011

Common Mango – Mangifera indica

Luscious, succulent mango fruit!

How do we guard you from the brute?

King of fruits, without dispute

To you we all humbly salute!


Ripe, and unripe in forms many,

Enjoyed universally by all and any!

Ah., delicious and sweet as sugar cane,

Protecting you can be wildly insane!


By Rajeshwari Iyer

This tree that is native to the Indian sub-continent was brought to California in 1880. Mangoes were cultivated in India for centuries and were taken to East Asia around the 4th century BC.  By the 10th century AD they had arrived in East Africa, then on to Brazil, the West Indies and later Mexico.

Mangos are used in folk medicine to treat diarrhea, chronic dysentery, catarrh of the bladder. And chronic urethritis due to the tannin present in the dried flowers. The bark is also astringent, being used to treat rheumatism, and diphtheria in India. The gum exudate from the trunk of the tree is used on cracks and sores on the feet and scabies. From the kernel a vermifuge powder is made, that can be used to also treat diarrhea, hemorrhages, and bleeding hemorrhoids.

The sweet flesh of the Mangoes is consumed raw, out of hand. If eaten unripe then the skin may be eaten also, but a ripe fruit has thicker, bitter tasting skin that is usually not consumed. Mangoes are used in drinks, ice creams, wines, teas, cereals, muesli bars, and in biscuits.

This tree of tradition and ritual has played a significant role in Hindu and Muslim spirituality. It is a symbol of love, and the leaves are used to adorn the lintels of temples for special occasions. They figure in many stories and rituals, often being depicted in the hand of the Lord Ganesh as a symbol of attainment. Ganesh receives a divine mango of knowledge from Narada after winning a contest. The flowers are oft used in the worship of the goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, science and technology.

Mangoes on display

Mangoes on display