African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a indigenous fruit tree of West and Central Africa, which has been identified locally as the most important tree for domestication. Interest on the fruits of this tree, the so-called African mango, has recently raised in western developed countries as a new dietary supplement able to fight obesity and control weight. Many are the claims made for those manufacturing and producing African mango extract to control weight, but are those claims founded or are we in front of another hoax? Scientific research and clinical trials suggest that indeed, African mango is able to help you loose weight, as well as to significantly reduce waist circumference and hip circumference. In one double blind placebo trial to which we refer later on, an average weight loss of 12.8 Kg was observed after 10 weeks [12,15].
The Irvingia tree, commonly known as bush mango, dikanut or simply and most commonly African mango [7,8], is indigenous to West Africa. Although the flesh of the African mango fruit is widely consumed, its most important part is the kernel which (in its fresh or dried form) is used to add flavoring and consistency to many dishes [8,9], being widely marketed domestically, nationally and between some African countries . In Cameroon, for example, African mango kernels are used as condiment and are highly valued for their food thickening properties to prepare "ndo'o" or "draw soup" as well as groundnut or njansang (Ricinodendron heudelotii ) . African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) has also been used to treat hypercholesterolemia [12,13].
However, as we said, its most common use of African mango nowadays refers to its dietary properties something on which we will enter in detail in the second part of this article. Image left: Mango watch update by John Asselin under Creative Commons license (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: African mango, Wild mango, Bush mango.