Scientific Name(s): Irvingia gabonensis (Aubry-Lecomte ex Ororke) Baillon
Common Name(s): African mango, African wild mango, Bush mango, Dika, Dikabread tree, Dikanut, Iba-tree, Irvingia, Odika, Ogbono, Sweet bush mango
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.Ainge 2001, Joseph 1995, Matos 2009, Onimawo 2003
Ethnomedicinal treatments utilize the bark, kernels, leaves, or roots for a variety of ailments.Ainge 2001 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.George 2007 The antibiotic properties of the bark help heal scabby skin, and the boiled bark relieves tooth pain.Ainge 2001 The Mende tribe in Sierra Leone grinds the bark into a paste with water and applies the product to the skin for pain relief.George 2007, Okolo 1995 In certain parts of Africa, the bark extract is ingested to produce an analgesic effect.Okolo 1995 The powdered kernels act as an astringent and are also applied to burns.George 2007 The stems of the tree have been used as chewing sticks to help clean teeth.Ainge 2001
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.Akubor 1996, Leakey 1999 Additionally, the fresh bark has been used to alter the taste of palm wine.Ainge 2001
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.Onyeike 1995 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.Ainge 2001, Leakey 2005, Ndjouenkeu 1996
Numerous studies exist on the potential industrial application of African mango in food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical products.Agbogidi 2007, Anegbeh 2003, Ayuk 1999, Ekpe 2007, Joseph 1992, Musa 2009, Udeala 1980 Agroforestry initiatives on phenotypic variationAnegbeh 2003 amino acid profileEkpe 2007 soil conditionsAgbogidi 2007, Musa 2009 and economic potentialAyuk 1999, Joseph 1992 of the plant species document additional commercial interest. The oil from the kernel may act as a binder in food or pharmaceutical productsUdeala 1980 or as an industrial gum.Joseph 1995
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.Ainge 2001
A study analyzing the chemical constituents of African mango seed extract products from China and commercially available African mango-based dietary supplements from US internet distributors found no detectable amount of African mango in any of the products. These data emphasize the importance of quality control of raw materials and standardization of herbal preparations.Sun 2012
Several studies have assessed the chemical properties of the kernels or seeds and pulp in African mango. The chemical constituents of African mango seeds are very different than regular mango seeds; major components of African mango are ellagic acids, ellagitannins and flavonol glycosides.Sun 2012
An amino acid profile of fresh African mango seeds indicated the presence of 18 amino acids.Ekpe 2007 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.Matos 2009, Oboh 2004, Onimawo 2003 Analysis of the pulp documented 80% moisture, 1% crude protein, 1% crude fat, 1% mineral ash, 0.5% crude fiber, and 11% carbohydrate.Matos 2009, Onimawo 2003, Onyeike 2002 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.Matos 2009, Oboh 2004, Onimawo 2003
The seeds are a good source of nutrients, containing vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and iron.Oboh 2004, Onyeike 2002 The pulp is also an excellent source of calcium (262 mg per 100 g) and vitamin C (66.7 mg per 100 mL).Onimawo 2003
Aroma extract dilution analysis revealed 32 odor active volatile compounds that contribute to the overall nutty aroma of roasted seeds or kernels.Tairu 2000 Myristic, lauric, and palmitic acids compose nearly 95% of the total fatty acids in African mango seeds.Matos 2009 Margarine-based African mango oil may provide an alternative to trans-fatty acids obtained during hydrogenation used in oil technological applications.Matos 2009 Studies also evaluate the most efficient methods for dika nut cracking and whole kernel recovery.Ogunsina 2008, Ogunsina 2008
Dika fat may serve a role in pharmaceutical drug-release systems. Dika fat out-performed magnesium sterate, stearic acid, and hydrogenated vegetable oil when tested in tablet equipment and imparted no adverse effect on the creation and integrity of hydrochlorothiazide tablets.Onyechi 1990 Microencapsulation of aspirin with dika fat offered better protection against hydrolysis when compared with bee and carnauba wax.Udeala 1986, Udeala 1980 At 5% and 10% weight/weight wax concentrations, dika wax and paraffin wax were comparable in ability to delay drug release from microcapsules.Chukwu 1991 Dika fat has also been evaluated as a film coating for drug release in polymeric systems.Okore 2000 Suppositories containing dika fat blends satisfied pharmaceutical requirements of drug release and stability.Megwa 1987
Studies document that mucilage extracted from African mango seeds performed better than acacia and tragacanth in emulsion and suspension formulations.Isimi 2000 Dika nut mucilage may improve tablet strength and drug-release properties in tablet formulations.Odeku 2005
Uses and Pharmacology
Research on African mango revealed beneficial effects on diabetes and obesity as well as antimicrobial, antioxidant, and GI activity.
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.Okolo 1995
One study documents antioxidant activity in African mango seeds.Agbor 2005
African mango leaf and root extracts have documented inhibitory activity against several bacteria and fungi.Fadare 2008, Kuete 2007 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.Kuete 2007
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.Omoruyi 1993 A similar study in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats fed dikanut fiber resulted in reduced glucose, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in plasma.Omoruyi 1994 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.Ngondi 2006 Postprandial and fasting glucose levels were reduced in normoglycemic rats administered African mango seed fractions prior to an oral glucose test.Ngondi 2006
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.Adamson 1986 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.Adamson 1990
A methanol extract of African mango exhibited dose-dependent inhibition of indomethacin-induced gastric ulceration in mice.Raji 2001 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.Abdulrahman 2004
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;
Beneficial effect on the enzyme peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma involved in adipogenesis and insulin sensitivity;
Upregulation of the protein hormone adiponectin which enhances insulin sensitivity and endothelial function; and
Decreased leptin expression or enhanced leptin sensitivity (inhibits food intake and stimulates thermogenesis).
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.Ngondi 2005
In a murine adipocyte model for adipose cell biology research, an African mango seed extract inhibited adipogenesis in adipocytes.Oben 2008 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.
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.Ngondi 2009 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.Ngondi 2005 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.Oben 2008
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.
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.
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, flatulence, sleep disturbance, and flu-like symptoms.Ngondi 2009, Ngondi 2005, Oben 2008
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.Raji 2001 One report detected fungi and aflatoxins in bush mango seeds sold in eastern Nigeria, which are unacceptable for human consumption.Adebayo-Tayo 2006
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