Mangifera indica, commonly known as mango, is a species of flowering plant in the sumac and poison ivy family Anacardiaceae. It is native to the Indian subcontinent where it is indigenous. Hundreds of cultivated varieties have been introduced to other warm regions of the world. It is a large fruit-tree, capable of growing to a height and crown width of about 30 metres (100 ft) and trunk circumference of more than 3.7 metres (12 ft).
The species domestication is attributed to India around 2000 BCE. Mango was brought to East Asia around 400–500 BCE, in the 15th century to the Philippines, and in the 16th century to Africa and Brazil by Portuguese explorers. The species was assessed and first named in botanical nomenclature by Linnaeus in 1753. Mango is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines and the national tree of Bangladesh.
Mangiferin (a pharmacologically active hydroxylated xanthone C-glycoside) is extracted from mango at high concentrations from the young leaves (172 g/kg), bark (107 g/kg), and from old leaves (94 g/kg). Allergenic urushiols are present in the fruit peel and can trigger contact dermatitis in sensitised individuals. This reaction is more likely to occur in people who have been exposed to other plants from the Anacardiaceae family, such as poison oak and poison ivy, which are widespread in the United States.
In Ayurveda, it is used in a Rasayana formula sometimes with other mild sours and shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia). In traditional medicine, varied properties are attributed to different parts of the mango tree.
The tree is more known for its fruit rather than for its timber. However, mango trees can be converted to lumber once their fruit bearing lifespan has finished. The wood is susceptible to damage from fungi and insects. The wood is used for musical instruments such as ukuleles, plywood and low-cost furniture. The wood is also known to produce phenolic substances that can cause contact dermatitis.
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