A study, published in the Journal of Complementary and Integrative Medicine, showed that mangoes are potent at treating depressive-anxiety disorders. The researchers from the University of Lagos in Nigeria conducted the study. They showed that the extracts from the bark of a mango tree considerably improves depression.
The mango tree or Mangifera indica is common in tropical countries. These trees produce sweet and juicy fruits called mangoes i.e. are not only popular for their taste but also for their potential health benefits. However, the scientists reveal that not only the fruit but the bark of this respective tree is equally important. It offers many health benefits especially with respect to an individual’s mental health.
The bark of mango tree is widely used in Ayurvedic and African medicines. It commonly treats hypertension, insomnia, tumor growth, rheumatism, and depression. Research shows that mango bark possesses bio-active compounds in abundance. These compounds include alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, phenols, ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamine. All of these phytochemicals regulate different biological activities in plants.
Depression is a mental illness, where the patient experiences a persistent feeling of sadness or grief. It has affected more than 16.2 million Americans, at present. Depression has become extremely prevalent for the past few years. The victims of the disorder experience low energy, loss of appetite, and disinterest in, even enjoyable, things. Depression and anxiety have reportedly increased the risk of suicide, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity, and chronic pain.
In such a case, most of the people usually opt for antidepressants such as selective serotonin re-uptake, intake inhibitors (SSRIs). However, these drugs offer a variety of side effects including sleep problems, headaches, weight gain, and increased risk of suicide. This is the reason the researchers continue to strive for natural alternatives that are not only effective but also a safer option.
The researchers of the study employed mice for experimentation. They fed the mice with the extracts from mango tree bark. In order to observe the mice for depression- and anxiety-like behavior, the researchers went for,
- The forced swim test
- Tail suspension test
- Elevated plus maze test
Moreover, the team also co-administered the inhibitors of known neurotransmitter pathways used by antidepressant medications. The sole purpose for this was to determine the possible mechanisms of action of the mango bark extract in reducing depression. The scientists used the serotonin antagonists e.g.
These antagonists block the adrenaline and dopamine pathways.
The results of the study confirmed the potent antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of the extract. The researchers proposed that the results were possibly due to interactions with the receptors of serotonin, adrenaline, and dopamine. Moreover, the co-administration of the antagonists prevented the improvements in the depression- and anxiety-like behavior of mice.
The results of the study suggest that mango tree extract can potentially serve as an alternative remedy for depression. Plus, it can reduce the dependence on harmful antidepressant medications.
Apart from treating depression, the mango tree is linked to many more health benefits. Some of them are as follow,
Mangoes have high sugar content and are consequently not good for diabetic patients. However, the leaves of the mango tree are good for improving diabetes. They possess anti-diabetic properties. To serve the purpose, the leaves must be, first, left out to dry and then pulverized into a powder. The patients are advised to take half a teaspoon of the powder twice a day. On the other hand, the juice from mango leaves has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve insect bites.
Owing to high water content, mangoes keep the body hydrated. A glass of mango juice or shake in the summer keeps the sunstroke at bay.
Mango seeds are great for nosebleeds. Putting two to three drops of mango seed kernel juice to your nostrils can immediately stop blood running through your nose.