Spring season – these words weave a picture of blooming mother nature, mosaic of colors, joyousness and festive spirits. The cooing of cuckoo, humming of bees and the flowering of Mango tree are the augury of spring season. The relation of spring season and mango tree in Indian culture is portrayed beautifully in the folklore, literature and art forms . The Mango tree has the mythological, religious, historical, culinary and medicinal importance.
The Mango tree is said to be the nectar on earth. It is the state tree of Maharashtra and Mango is the national fruit of India.
Latin Name: Mangifera indica
English Name: Mango
Sanskrit Name: Aamra
Hindi Name: Aam
Synonyms: Rasaal, Choot, Sahakaar, Madhudoot, Atisaurabh, Kamaang, Maakand, Pikvallabha
The Tree: It is a big fruit bearing and shade giving tree. It has two varieties – Beeju and Kalami.
Beeju: It is grown from seeds and is big in size .
Kalami: It is grown from kalam (grafting) and is medium in size .
The timing of flowering and fruiting of mango depends on the temperature and varies in different parts of India. So in southern and western regions mangoes are available in March – April and in northern region it is available in May – June.
Varieties and Nomenclature: The popular varieties are – Dashehari, Langra, Haafus, Chausa, Kesar etc
Names are based on appearance, taste etc eg
Appearance: Totapari, Kareliya
Color : Safeda, Sinduri, Zaafraan, Badami
Taste: Dudhiya, Sharbati, Mishra
MYTHOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE :
– Once Manu requested Brahmaji for a fruit which should have sweet smell of flowers, sweetness of fruits, nutrition of food and is easily available to rich and poor alike. Brahmaji said ‘As it so’ and sprinkled water on the earth. After sometime the shoots of mango tree started erupting.
– Kamadeva (God of Cupid) carries bow made of sugarcane with cord of honey bees. Arrows are made of five flowers i.e of White and blue Lotus, Jasmine, Ashoka tree and Mango tree .
– In Shankhayana Ghriyasutra, it is called ‘phalottam’ i.e the best among fruits .
– In Shankhalikhita Dharmasutra, it is one of the fruits which are given during Shraadha.
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE :
Mango tree is one of the sacred trees in India. Leaves, fruits and wood is used in various ceremonies.
a) ‘Bandanvaar’ or ‘Toran’ i.e the leaves of mango tree woven in a string and hung on the entrance are auspicious.
b) In Havan (sacred fire), Aachamani (with which ghee is poured) is made with mango leaves .
c) In Kalash Sthapana, leaves of mango are put in a pot on which coconut is kept .
a) It is used in Havan as Samidha (firewood).
b) For cremation, the pyre is made of wood of mango tree.
HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE :
a) Artifacts in the shape of mango have been found during excavations from Mohanjodaro and Harrappa civilization.
b) King Ashoka had selected Mango tree as a shade giving and fruit bearing tree.
c) Amir Khusro called it as ‘KING OF FRUITS’.
d) There is a description in Aain-e-Akbari by Abulfazal that king Akbar was so fond of mangoes that he built an orchard in which various varieties of mangoes were planted in Darbhanga and was known as “Laakhi Baag”.
Ayurveda has described elaborately the properties and uses of various parts of the Mango tree as a food and medicine. These can be divided into two categories:
– Culinary Uses
– Medicinal Uses
CULINARY USES :
- Dried Mango Fruit (Amchoor) : After removing the peels of raw mango , it is sun-dried and powdered . It is called Amchoor. It is sour and astringent in taste, laxative, alleviates vata and kapha and increases taste.
- Raw fruit (Amiya): It is astringent and sour in taste, increases vata and pitta. It is used in making pickles, sweet and sour chutney.
- Dugdha Aamra (Ripe mango with milk): It is cold, heavy to digest, anabolic , aphrodisiac, improves complexion, alleviates vata and pitta, increases taste.
- Pieces of ripe mango : These are cold, sweet in taste, heavy to digest, anabolic, alleviates vata , promotes strength .
- Dried mango pulp (Amaavat): Also called Aampapad, Mango leather – Pulp of ripe mango is spread and sundried. On this dried layer, another layer of mango pulp is spread and dried. When a thick layer is formed, it is called Amaavat. It alleviates thirst, vomiting, vata and pitta, is laxative, light to digest, increases taste.
- Juice of mango pulp : Also called Aamras, it is heavy, alleviates vata, increases kapha, anabolic, provides strength, laxative, good for heart.
PROPERTIES OF VARIOUS PARTS OF THE TREE :
- Boor(Flowers): It is cold, increases taste, vata, is anti dysentery Used in diarrhea, diabetes, blood disorders, alleviates kapha and pitta.
- Tarun(Fruit which is not fully ripe ): It is very sour in taste and dry. Increases tridosha and blood disorders .
- Pakwa ( Ripe fruit ): Sweet in beginning and astringent in the end , is aphrodisiac , unctuous , gives strength and health , increases pitta ( mildly ), kapha, digestive fire, shukra ( spermatogenic ).
- Fruit Ripened On Tree : Sweet and sour in taste , heavy, alleviates vata and increases pitta ( mildly ) .
- Artificial Ripening Of Mango : It alleviates pitta as only sweet taste remains .
- Sucking : It is light , cold , easily digested , laxative , increases taste , strength , alleviates vata , pitta , is aphrodisiac .
MEDICINAL USES :
- Diarrhea : Decoction of seed kernel and bilva ( Aegle marmalos ) mixed with honey and sugar checks vomiting and diarrhea. Tender leaves of mango and kapittha fruit ( wood apple ) are pounded together and taken with rice water in diarrhea.
- Intrinsic Hemorrhage : Cold infusion of mango , jamun (java plum) and arjuna ( Terminalia arjun ) with honey is given. In epistaxis, juice of mango seed is instilled in nostrils .
- Vomiting : Linctus made of mango seed kernel , parched paddy and rock salt with honey helps in controlling vomiting .
- Thirst : Decoction of mango and jamun ( java plum ) added with honey is given.
- Spleen enlargement : Juice of ripe mango with honey is helpful.
- Dandruff : Equal powder of mango seed and haritaki ( Terminalia chebula ) are pounded together with milk and applied on the scalp .
- Indigestion : If caused by eating fish and meat , unripe fruit and seed of mango are useful respectively .
- Oedema : Ghee cooked with decoction of punarnava leaves ( Boerhavia diffusa ) and root of mango alleviates all types of oedema .
DOSE : Juice : 10 – 20 ml ; Decoction : 50 – 100 ml ; Powder : 3 – 6 gm
Complication of eating raw mango in excess : It slows digestion, causes blood disorders, severe constipation, eye disorders .
Treatment : Dried ginger powder with water or black salt with cumin is helpful .
CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE : Mango tree is present in various facets of Indian culture e.g
- Literature : Prominent among all the literary works on spring season is ‘Rutusamhara’ ( Seasonal cycle) by great poet Kalidas. In this, he has written about the six seasons. Spring season is one of them. The relation of mango flowers and spring season is depicted beautifully .
- Folk lore : Every Indian state has folk songs in which mango tree is described .
Proverbs related to mango tree are used in conversation e.g. “aam ke aam, guthaliyon ke daam”.
- Musical Instruments: Dhol( Drum) – the shell of this instrument is made of either mango tree or sheesham tree.
- Textiles: The motif of mango fruit is used is myriad forms e.g. embroidery , block printing, tie and dye, weaving etc. It is called Paisley design and is extensively used in Kashmiri embroidery and Kanjivaram sarees .
- Ornaments: In Tamil culture, Mankolam or Mango mala is worn. Every Indian woman has a piece of jewelery with mango motif on it be it earrings or anklets etc .
- Miscellaneous: The mango wood is used in making doors, windows, furniture etc .
Mango tree is an integral part of Indian home – from kitchen to ceremonies, from ornaments to fabrics .
The presence of mango in various forms in our day to day life reminds us of Spring season – the season inspiring us to live life in full bloom and that every day is a spring .