Mangoes are one of the most delightful and healthful elements of the Ayurvedic diet. Learn more about the benefits of mango and how to incorporate then into your diet.
Mangifera indica L
Family: anacardaceae, the sumac family.
The word mango is derived from the Portuguese word manga, which comes from the Malay word manga. Ultimate derivation is from the world’s most ancient continuously- spoken language, Tamil, where mango is மாங்காய் (māṅkāy).
Mango in myth and literature:
Many ancient Indian myths and legends narrate the divine origins of mango, for how can such a beautiful tree, such a wondrous fruit, be anything but divine? In one myth, Surya Bai, daughter of Surya, the sun god, falls to earth, where the king falls in love with her and chooses her as his bride. But a jealous sorceress turns the princess to ashes. Out of the ashes arises a magnificent tree bearing golden fruits. One of the fruits falls to the ground and turns back into Surya Bai, and the happy couple celebrate their marriage after all.
In another famous legend, Sage Narada gives a mango to Shiva and Parvati. They decide to award the mango to whichever of their sons can circumambulate the universe three times. While their son Kartik is flying around the universe on his peacock, little Ganesha, the elephant God, simply waddles three times around his parents, recognizing the entire universe resides within the divine couple, thus winning the mango.
Mangos are found everywhere in the literature of and about India, from the Sanskrit poetry of Kalidas to EM Forster’s A Passage to India (‘For you, I shall arrange a lady with breasts like mangoes”), to the opening of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. In Bhavprakash, mango claims pride of place as the first and foremost fruit in the section on medicinal fruits, titled āmradi phala varga—section on mango and other fruits.
Green unripe immature mango
Rasa: Astringent, sour
Promotes taste and is tasty, used in pickles and chutneys to promote appetite.
Unripe mature mango
When mangoes are not properly ripened they are extremely sour and drying. They vitiate all three doshas as well as rakta or blood. Therefore, always ensure that full-grown mangoes are well ripened and sweet before eating. They can be ripened in a warm room wrapped in newspaper.
Interestingly, the mangoes ripened artificially after picking are in many ways the best, compared to tree ripened. The mango ripened at home actually reduces pitta as well as vata and is light, whereas the tree-ripened one is heavy. It is the easiest mango to digest and a good laxative. Tree-ripened mango has more of a sour taste than artificially ripened mango, which may lead to pitta provocation, but is superior in terms of calming vata.
Sundried mango slices:
Rasa: sour, sweet astringent
Good stool softener
Rasa: Sweet with astringent anurasa
V -P 0 K +
Mango is a rich source of flavonoids like beta carotene, alpha carotene and beta cryptoxanthin essential for eye health. It also offers vitamins B6, C and E as well as potassium, copper and dietary fibre and an unusual fatty acid, cis-9, cis-15-octadecadienoic acid.
Karmas of ripe mango fruit:
- Tonic (balya)
- Heart tonic
- Controls vata
- Hridyam (heart tonic)
- Good for complexion
- Promotes appetite·
- Promotes semen
- Burning sensations
- Shortness of breath and asthma
- Loss of taste
Ways of consuming mango
Sucked mango: Ideally, the mango is squeezed, a hole is made in the peel and the mango juice is sucked out. A mango eaten in this way is considered to be lighter and easier to digest than a sliced mango.
Sliced mango is very sweet and tasty, cooling, nourishing and vata soothing.
Mango juice is tonic, heavy, laxative, and vata soothing. It does not have the heart tonic effect of other forms of mango and tends to increase kapha but is nourishing and building.
Mango mixed with milk: you can blend mango and warm cardamom milk together or eat a sliced mango and follow it with a cup of warm cardamom milk or saffron milk. Mango mixed with milk calms vata and pitta, is tasty, nourishing, tonic, aphrodisiac, and improves complexion. It is sweet and cooling.
Mango lassi: The texts of Ayurveda do not mention mango lassi. Although delicious and nourishing, mango lassi is very heavy and should only be taken as an occasional summer treat.
Sour greenmangoes should not be eaten in excess. Excess consumption of unripe mango may weaken agni, the digestive fire, and can even aggravate intermittent fevers, blood disorders (rakta), and intestinal obstruction. The antidote for excess consumption of unripe mango is ginger tea or cumin tea with black salt to restore agni. Fortunately, there is no such restriction on eating ripe mango, in fact the author has happily fasted on mango and milk. Mango peel contains an allergen that may cause dermatitis in individuals who have previously been affected by poison oak or poison ivy.
Nest time we will look at mango home remedies.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is a Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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