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The Mango tree features dense foliage, with its leaves being reddish-purple when young. The leaves mature into a dark green color and are shiny. Each leaf is oblong in shape with light green veins, and is pointed at both ends. They grow to around 25 centimeters in length, and 8 centimeters in width. The leaves are slightly tough and leathery. When crushed, the leaf emits a turpentine-like odor and taste.
Mango leaves are available year-round.
Mango leaves are botanically classified as Mangifera indica. Although they are often discarded, they have been used in herbal medicines. They may be used raw or cooked, but are most often found dried as a powder, to be used as a tea for general health benefits.
Mango leaves contain tannins, antioxidants, flavanoids and vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. They contain phenolic compounds that may help to regulate diabetes and lower blood pressure. They have been shown to have strong anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
Mango leaves are most often used in teas. They may be boiled in water, left to steep overnight, and drunk the following day. Mango leaves are also dried, then used to make tea. In Burma, the leaves may be used in curries along with onions and chiles. They are also eaten raw with rice in Indonesia. To store fresh mango leaves, place them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator, where they will be good for several days.
Mango leaves have been used for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. The leaves may be burnt, and fumes inhaled to cure hiccups and sore throats. The ash collected from the burnt leaves is used to cover wounds. The Mango tree is considered to be sacred in India, and its leaves are also hung above doorways in India, as they are a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
Mangoes have been cultivated for thousands of years. Although their exact origins are unknown, fossils dating back millions of years have been found in the Meghalaya region in India. Mangoes are said to have been brought by Buddist monks to South East Asia. From there, they spread to China, Persia and East Africa. Mangoes are now found throughout the world.