Mango Toxicity to Hypersensitive Persons

The sap which exudes from the stalk close to the base of the fruit is somewhat milky at first, also yellowish-resinous. It becomes pale-yellow and translucent when dried. It contains mangiferen, resinous acid, mangiferic acid, and the resinol, mangiferol. It, like the sap of the trunk and branches and the skin of the unripe fruit, is a potent skin irritant, and capable of blistering the skin of the normal individual. As with poison ivy, there is typically a delayed reaction. Hypersensitive persons may react with considerable swelling of the eyelids, the face, and other parts of the body. They may not be able to handle, peel, or eat mangos or any food containing mango flesh or juice. A good precaution is to use one knife to peel the mango, and a clean knife to slice the flesh to avoid contaminating the flesh with any of the resin in the peel.

The leaves contain the glucoside, mangiferine. In India, cows were formerly fed mango leaves to obtain from their urine euxanthic acid which is rich yellow and has been used as a dye. Since continuous intake of the leaves may be fatal, the practice has been outlawed.

When mango trees are in bloom, it is not uncommon for people to suffer itching around the eyes, facial swelling and respiratory difficulty, even though there is no airborne pollen. The few pollen grains are large and they tend to adhere to each other even in dry weather. The stigma is small and not designed to catch windborne pollen. The irritant is probably the vaporized essential oil of the flowers which contains the sesquiterpene alcohol, mangiferol, and the ketone, mangiferone.

Mango wood should never be used in fireplaces or for cooking fuel, as its smoke is highly irritant.

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2 Responses to Mango Toxicity to Hypersensitive Persons

  1. Kristy July 30, 2011 at 2:47 am #

    I to react to mangoes! I love them and like you I pulled the skin through my teeth to get every bit of meat. The first time I reacted was a red scaly patch below my bottom lip that turned into impetigo! I now peel my mangos, but I’ll never stop eating them!

  2. David Davis October 14, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    I discovered the toxicity of mango skin first hand when a deep red rash broke out on the skin of my face, blisters on my eyelids, and swelling in my hands and lips. At first it was a mystery to me as I was sure I hadn’t been near any poison oak which is quite common in my area. While discussing probable causes with my wife a vivid memory -like a vision- played in my memory: not only my peeling eight mangoes and rubbing my eye-lids for the itching there, but also my putting the skin between my teeth then slowly pulling the skin out from between my teeth as they scraped away the layer of fruit that I couldn’t get with my knife. As the reaction continued to worsen I made an appointment with me doctor who assured me I was reacting to the mango skin and prescribed for me a course of Prednisone which took care of the symptoms. I’ve been able to eat mangoes, which I really do enjoy, and I peel them being careful to avoid contact with my face and then wash my hands immediately after the peeling’s done.
    I came upon this article trying to find written evidence to give to my caregiver who has been preparing and serving me mixed fruit with chunks of unpeeled mango in the mix. Before I noticed the mango-danger in my bowl I did eat a few pieces with the skin on so I’ll be very interested to see what happens over the nexxt few days.
    Thank you for the clear and comprehensive (at least for a layman like I am) aricle.

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