African Mango

Scientific Name(s): Irvingia gabonensis (Aubry-Lecomte ex Ororke) Baillon. Family: Irvingiaceae. Older references may list family Simarubaceae.

Common Name(s): African mango , African wild mango , irvingia , dika ( dikanut , dikabread tree ), odika , ogbono , sweet bush mango , bush mango , iba-tree

Uses

Research on African mango shows beneficial effects for diabetes and obesity, as well as analgesic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and GI activity. Ethnomedicinal treatments utilize the bark, kernels, leaves, or roots for a variety of ailments. Numerous studies exist on the potential industrial application of African mango in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products.

Dosing

Clinical studies used dosage regimens of 150 mg of African mango seed extract 30 minutes before lunch and dinner or 1,050 mg 3 times daily 30 minutes before meals with a glass of warm water. Powders, liquids, and capsules are available from commercial manufacturers, with most common dosage regimens consisting of 150 mg of African mango twice a day with food.

Contraindications

Avoid use with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to any of the components of African mango.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

Limited information is available regarding drug interactions. Because African mango delays stomach emptying, prescription medications should be coadministered with caution.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical studies enrolled a small number of patients, and mild side effects were documented. Adverse reactions included headache, dry mouth, GI complaints, sleep disturbance, and flu-like symptoms.

Toxicology

Acute toxicity studies documented no deaths within 24 hours or 7 days after administration of 1,600 mg/kg of African mango methanol extract to rats.

Botany

The African mango tree is found throughout the tropical forests of Africa and is also cultivated on farms in central and western Africa. The tree grows 10 to 40 m in height and has a flared base 3 m in height. The dark green foliage is dense and the leaves are elliptical. The yellow to white flowers occur in bundles or clusters from February to March, and the almost spherical fruit appear during the rainy season from July to September. The tree reaches maturity and begins flowering at 10 to 15 years of age, while flowering and fruiting times vary according to geographic location. The timber and wood of the tree are fine grained, hard, and durable. The ripe fruit is green while the edible mesocarp is soft, juicy, and bright orange. The mesocarp has a turpentine flavor and may taste sweet to slightly bitter. The seeds or kernels of the tree are classified as oilseeds. 1 , 2 , 3 , 4

History

Ethnomedicinal treatments utilize the bark, kernels, leaves, or roots for a variety of ailments. 1 The bark is mixed with palm oil for treating diarrhea and for reducing the breast-feeding period. The shavings of the stem bark are consumed by mouth to treat hernias, yellow fever, and dysentery, and to reduce the effects of poison in French Equatorial Africa. 5 The antibiotic properties of the bark help heal scabby skin, and the boiled bark relieves tooth pain. 1 The Mende tribe in Sierra Leone grinds the bark into a paste with water and applies the product to the skin for pain relief. 5 , 6 In certain parts of Africa, the bark extract is ingested to produce an analgesic effect. 6 The powdered kernels act as an astringent and are also applied to burns. 5 The stems of the tree have been used as chewing sticks to help clean teeth. 1

African bush mango juice produces a quality wine at 8% alcohol content after 28 days of fermentation that in 1 study was comparable in color, flavor, sweetness, and acceptability to a German reference wine. 7 , 8 Additionally, the fresh bark has been used to alter the taste of palm wine. 1

The kernels of African mango are classified as oilseeds. The seeds are ground into a paste, also known as dika bread, which is valued for its food-thickening properties. 9 The resulting product is used in soups, stews, or sauces. The fat extracted from the kernel is similar to margarine or cooking oil. Flour may also be produced from the kernels. 1 , 10 , 11

Numerous studies exist on the potential industrial application of African mango in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products. 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 Agroforestry initiatives on phenotypic variation, 12 amino acid profile, 13 soil conditions, 14 , 15 and economic potential 16 , 17 of the plant species document additional commercial interest. The oil from the kernel may act as a binder in food or pharmaceutical products 18 or as an industrial gum. 4

The pulp is used for making jam, jelly, and juice and is consumed as a dessert throughout western and central Africa. The leaves are used as food for livestock by farmers. The wood is used for making walking sticks and supports for thatched roofs. 1

Chemistry

Several studies have assessed the chemical properties of the kernels or seeds and pulp in African mango.

An amino acid profile of fresh African mango seeds indicated the presence of 18 amino acids. 13 Although phenotypic variations exist, physiochemical analysis documented that the seeds contain 3% moisture, 8% crude protein, 66% crude fat, 2% mineral ash, 10% crude fiber, and 11% carbohydrates. The oil content of the seed provided evidence for its use in industry, and the fiber content may provide bulk, improving bowel function. 2 , 3 , 19 Analysis of the pulp documented 80% moisture, 1% crude protein, 1% crude fat, 1% mineral ash, 0.5% crude fiber, and 11% carbohydrate. 2 , 3 , 20 The high moisture content of the edible pulp provides evidence for its use in the production of juice, while the low ash content indicates a low mineral content. 2 , 3 , 19

The seeds are a good source of nutrients, containing vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and iron. 19 , 20 The pulp is also an excellent source of calcium (262 mg per 100 g) and vitamin C (66.7 mg per 100 mL). 3

Aroma extract dilution analysis revealed 32 odor active volatile compounds that contribute to the overall nutty aroma of roasted seeds or kernels. 21 Myristic, lauric, and palmitic acids compose nearly 95% of the total fatty acids in African mango seeds. 2 Margarine-based African mango oil may provide an alternative to trans-fatty acids obtained during hydrogenation used in oil technological applications. 2 Studies also evaluate the most efficient methods for dika nut cracking and whole kernel recovery. 22 , 23

Dika fat may serve a role in pharmaceutical drug-release systems. Dika fat out-performed magnesium stearate, stearic acid, and hydrogenated vegetable oil when tested in tablet equipment and imparted no adverse effect on the creation and integrity of hydrochlorothiazide tablets. 24 Microencapsulation of aspirin with dika fat offered better protection against hydrolysis when compared with bee and carnauba wax. 25 , 26 At 5% and 10% weight/weight wax concentrations, dika wax and paraffin wax were comparable in ability to delay drug release from microcapsules. 27 Dika fat has also been evaluated as a film coating for drug release in polymeric systems. 28 Suppositories containing dika fat blends satisfied pharmaceutical requirements of drug release and stability. 29

Studies document that mucilage extracted from African mango seeds performed better than acacia and tragacanth in emulsion and suspension formulations. 30 Dika nut mucilage may improve tablet strength and drug-release properties in tablet formulations. 31

Uses and Pharmacology

Research on African mango revealed beneficial effects on diabetes and obesity as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and GI activity.

Diabetes
Animal data

Dikanut fiber and cellulose were fed to diabetic rats over 4 weeks. The dikanut fiber supplement was more effective than cellulose at altering digestive and membrane-bound enzymes of the intestine and hepatic glycolytic enzymes, leading to reduced absorption of glucose. 32 A similar study in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats fed dikanut fiber resulted in reduced glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in plasma. 33 Dikanut fiber supplementation also affected liver phospholipid distributions that may alter transport of lipids in the liver.

Oral administration of an African mango methanol extract at a dose of 150 and 250 mg/kg significantly ( P < 0.001) lowered plasma glucose levels in diabetic rats within 2 hours after treatment. The mechanism of action may involve extract stimulation of pancreatic beta-cell function or hypoglycemic activity via an extra-pancreatic mechanism. 34 Postprandial and fasting glucose levels were reduced in normoglycemic rats administered African mango seed fractions prior to an oral glucose test. 35

Clinical data

Although the study is limited, dikanut supplementation in diabetic patients over 4 weeks lowered blood glucose levels and normalized erythrocyte membrane ATPase activity. The ratio among the enzymes studied in diabetic patients was comparable to that of nondiabetic patients. 36 A very similar study documents reduced plasma lipids in diabetic patients due to decreased low-density lipoprotein (LDL) plus very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL)-cholesterol and triglycerides levels. ATPase activity normalized and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was increased. 37

Obesity

Several potential mechanisms against obesity with African mango supplementation include:

Inhibitory effect on the enzyme glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase involved in converting glucose to stored fat 38 ; Beneficial effect on the enzyme peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma involved in adipogenesis and insulin sensitivity 38 , 39 ; Upregulation of the protein hormone adiponectin, 38 which enhances insulin sensitivity and endothelial function; and Decreased leptin expression or enhanced leptin sensitivity (inhibits food intake and stimulates thermogenesis). 38

Animal and in vitro data

Rats were fed a normal diet and 1 mL of African mango oil or water over 4 weeks. Abdominal fat was lower, plasma HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels were higher, and LDL:HDL and total cholesterol:HDL ratios were lower in rats administered the oil. Blood glucose levels were also lower in rats administered the oil. 40

In a murine adipocyte model for adipose cell biology research, an African mango seed extract inhibited adipogenesis in adipocytes. 38 The mechanism appears to be associated with (1) downregulated expression of adipogenic transcription factors or PPAR-gamma and adipocyte-specific proteins, such as leptin, and (2) upregulated expression of adiponectin. Adiponectin has antiatherogenic, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic activity.

Clinical data

A 10-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 102 overweight patients evaluated the effects of African mango seed extract on body weight and associated metabolic parameters. 39 Patients received either 150 mg of African mango seed extract or placebo 30 minutes before lunch and dinner. Patients receiving the extract improved both weight reduction (body weight, body fat, waist circumference) and metabolic parameters (plasma total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and leptin levels).

A 1-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study examined the effects of African mango seed extract in 40 obese patients. 41 Patients were administered 3 capsules containing 350 mg of African mango seed extract (active formulation) or oat bran (placebo) 3 times daily 30 minutes before meals with a glass of warm water. Patients were on a normocaloric diet and were evaluated every week, as well as instructed to keep a record of food consumed. At the end of the study, patients treated with the seed extract had reduced body weight, waist and hip circumference, and metabolic parameters (eg, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides), and increased HDL cholesterol. Patients treated with the extract also reported reduced systolic blood pressure. Another 10-week clinical study treating patients with a formulation of 2 plant materials, African mango and Cissus quadrangularis , resulted in reductions in body weight and improved metabolic parameters. 42

Other pharmacologic activity
Analgesic

In a mouse study, the analgesic activity of a water extract from African mango stem bark was comparable with the narcotic analgesic morphine, while the ethanol extract was comparable with the nonnarcotic analgesic methimazole sodium. 6

Antioxidant

One study documents antioxidant activity in African mango seeds. 43

Antimicrobial

African mango leaf and root extracts have documented inhibitory activity against several bacteria and fungi. 44 , 45 Potential mechanisms of action include membrane disruption by terpenoids and inactivation of microbial adhesion, enzymes, and cell envelope transport proteins by ellagic acid-like compounds. 44

Gastrointestinal

A methanol extract of African mango exhibited dose-dependent inhibition of indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice. 46 The antiulcer activity of several doses of the extract was comparable to that of cimetidine (50 mg/kg), and the extract also reduced gastric acid secretion and increased mucous secretion. Another animal study in mice administered African mango aqueous leaf extract reported decreased GI motility and GI protection against castor oil-induced diarrhea. 47

Dosage

Clinical studies used dosage regimens of 150 mg of African mango seed extract 30 minutes before lunch and dinner or 1,050 mg 3 times daily 30 minutes before meals with a glass of warm water. Powders, liquids, and capsules are available from commercial manufacturers, with most common dosage regimens consisting of 150 mg of African mango twice a day with food.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

Limited information is available on drug interactions. Theoretically, African mango may enhance the side effects of medications used in diabetes and high cholesterol. Additive side effects may also be seen in patients treated with medications for obesity. Because African mango delays stomach emptying, prescription medications should be coadministered with caution.

Adverse Reactions

Avoid use with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to any of the components of African mango. Clinical studies enrolled a small number of patients, and mild side effects were documented. Adverse reactions included headache, dry mouth, GI complaints, sleep disturbance, and flu-like symptoms. 39 , 41 , 42

Toxicology

Acute toxicity studies document no deaths within 24 hours or 7 days after administration of 1,600 mg/kg of African mango methanol extract in rats. 46 One report detected fungi and aflatoxins in bush mango seeds sold in eastern Nigeria, which are unacceptable for human consumption. 48

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