A perennial tree reaching a height as tall as 65 feet after twenty years of growth in optimal locations (or half that height in less optimal growing environments), the Mangifera Indica (Common Mango) is a member of the Anacardiaceae family, which contains an assortment of poisonous plants (poison ivy) as well as non-poisonous varieties (pistachio and cashew). Interestingly enough, the Mango is known by that name in many locations or by the names mangou, manga, mangoro, and other similar names. This species is native to parts of India and Thailand, although it has migrated to other countries (Africa, East Asia, and the United States) via explorers and traders, with six varieties enjoying cultivated as well as wild growth.
The Mangifera Indica is a tall, erect tree with a spreading canopy that has the ability to stretch across as much as 100 to 125 feet. The Mango tree is noted for its longevity, surviving as many as 300 years when growing conditions are most favorable. The leaves of the tree are slender, growing a length of 4 to 12 inches. Initially, the leaves appear in hues of yellowish-pink, wine-red, or deep-rose. Eventually, they turn to a rich green color on the upper portion of the leaf, and a lighter green on the lover half. Preferring fun over shade, the Mangifera Indica produces yellow flowers and orange fruit. It thrives in tropical conditions.
Clusters of small flowers that are yellow to red in coloring are produced, giving way to a profusion of fruit that varies in quality, shape, size, and color. Typically, however, Mangoes are oval to oblong in shape, somewhat resembling the human kidney. The skin of the Mango is waxy and thick, and it features a smooth surface while giving off an aromatic scent that is distinctive to this particular fruit. The coloring of the skin varies, but ranges from yellow to red to purple to green with a mottled combination of hues creating the average appearance for this fruit's skin. The flesh of the Mango ranges from pale yellow to a deep orange hue. The Mango is noted for being fibrous in texture, sometimes delivering a stringiness that clings to the entirety of the fruit on one side. Within the center of the fruit is a single stone or pit, containing a seed that can be used to produce new growth.
Dried Mango flowers contain tannin and have been used to treat chronic dysentery and urethritis, as well as diarrhea. In India, a resinous gum is extracted from the trunk of the Mango tree to be used to treat exceptionally dry and cracked skin on the feet as well as to aid in healing scabies. An extract taken from the stems, leaves, and bark of the tree is thought to provide antibiotic capability, and therefore, it has been used in some locations to treat fever, diarrhea, and an assortment of other maladies. At some time or other, Mangifera Indica has been used for the following capabilities: emetic, expectorant, laxative, anti-asthmatic, antiseptic, hypotensive, and antiviral.
Containing healthy doses of bioactive compounds, parts of the Mango are commonly used today in skincare formulations. The leaves, both young and old, contain mangiferin, as do the bark and fruit of the Mangifera Indica. A pharmacologically active flavonoid, mangiferin has been increasingly explored as a possible anti-carcinogen. Studies involving mangiferin have produced results that suggest this substance offers anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, and antiviral capabilities in addition to being a powerful antioxidant. Although more studies are needed to fully explore mangiferin and its potential benefits for humans, the existing results suggest that mangiferin protects the skin against the damage caused by ultraviolet rays. The results also suggest that it can assist in repairing existing damage to the skin caused by overexposure to the sun's harsh UV rays. Mangiferin has been studied regarding its ability to reverse some of the damage created in the eyes and kidneys by diabetes.
Containing superior levels of vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C, Mango fruit offers the ability to stimulate the skin's natural production of collagen, enhancing elasticity of the skin and aiding in the generation of new skin cell growth. Mango butter delivers rich emollient capabilities that are most beneficial for the skin.