Amra (Mangifera Indica)

Amra is popularly known as aam in Hindi and mango in English. It has been an important herb in the Ayurvedic medical systems for over 4,000 years. It belongs to family Anacardiaceae and Mutrasangrahaniya, Purishsangrahaniya, Hridya and Amla Skandha groups in Ayurveda. It belongs to genus Mangifera. It is found in the wild in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan where it is indigenous and cultivated varieties have been introduced to other warm regions of the world.

Plant description: It is a large evergreen tree that grows to a height of 30-120 feet, dome-shaped and heavily branched from a stout trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged on branches, linear-oblong, lanceolate – elliptical, pointed at both ends, the leaf blades mostly about 25-cm long and 8-cm wide, sometimes much larger, reddish and thinly flaccid initially and green later. The inflorescence occurs in panicles consisting of about 3,000 tiny whitish-red or yellowish-green flowers. The fruit is a large drupe, but shows a great variation in shape and size. It contains a thick yellow pulp, single seed and thick yellowish-red skin when ripe. The seed is solitary, ovoid or oblong, encased in a hard, compressed fibrous endocarp.

Ayurvedic pharmacology: Bark- guna- laghu, ruksha rasa- kashay vipaak- katu veerya- sheet dosha karma- bark, leaf, flower and seed are kaphapitta shamak, ripened fruit-vaatpittashamak unripened fruit-tridosh kaarak
Chemical composition: Unripe fruit has water, tartaric, citric and malic acid. Ripened fruit has yellow pigment, polyphenols, flavonoids, triterpenoids, mangiferin, xanthone glycoside, isomangiferin, tannins and gallic acid derivatives. The bark is reported to contain protocatechic acid, catechin, mangiferin, alanine, glycine, while seed contains starch, fat, sugar, resin, galic and tannic acid.

Therapeutically useful parts: Bark, leaf, flower, fruit and seed.

Therapeutic uses: According to Ayurveda, varied medicinal properties are attributed to different parts of mango tree. Bark, flower, leaf and seed are blood purifying and externally used to heal wounds. Seed has antiparasitic activity, used to treat diarrhea, diabetes, leucorrhoea and menorrhagia. Ripened fruit is aphrodisiac and provides good nutrition. Unripened fruit is used to treat heat stroke after heating.

Dr. Pratibha Mamgain, Department of Ayurvedic Medicine