By: Georgina Berbari
Photography by: Aimée Auguin
Its ripe flesh is soft and juicy, its pulp sticky; a glistening pale orange in color. The flesh tastes sweet and rich, its texture sometimes creamy, the consistency of butter.
The mango is not only a delicious fruit, it’s also referred to as the “king of fruits” in some cultures. Mangoes are candy-sweet in flavor and emit a honeyed fragrance — and still, the fruit’s nutritional value is vast.
In this H2R installment, health writer Georgina Berbari explores the scientific and spiritual properties of mango and suggests ways to turn the habitual consumption of the sacred stone fruit into a more ritualistic endeavor.
Mangoes’ health benefits are extensive. There are multiple studies linking the nutrient-dense mango to health benefits such as reduced risk of certain cancers, and improved immunity and eyesight. The mango’s high amount of vitamin C boosts immunity along with iron absorption, growth and repair. The fruit also contains polyphenols which function as powerful antioxidants in the body.
Mango consumption supports the vitality of being. This includes healthy heart function due to the stone fruit’s potassium, magnesium, and mangiferin. Moreover, mango contains lutein, zeaxanthin and vitamin A which all support optical health. In terms of reducing risk of certain cancers, research points to mangoes’ polyphenol’s ability to fight oxidative stress, which is linked to colon, prostate, breast, lung and bone cancers.
Photography by Aimée Auguin
In the Hindu religion, mango is regarded as the “king of fruit” — a symbol of happiness and prosperity. In Hinduism, amongst other religions, reverence toward the mango is flaunted. This is reflected through natural abundance: Hundreds upon thousands of mangoes were grown in northern India by the 16th century — to this day, India provides about 40% of the world’s mango crop.
Fittingly, India’s national fruit is the mango. It is said that Buddha himself meditated under a mango tree which eventually led to monks’ veneration of the fruit. The mango tree is imperative in the portrayal of various gods, goddesses and spirits including Vriksha, Lakshmi, Govardhan and the fertility god. All of these deities reside in the mango tree.
In India, rituals involving mango range from using the fruit’s leaves for certain holy fires/celebrations, to tying mango leaves in the main entrance of a home in order to absorb negative energy from guests.
How to Incorporate Mango into your own Ritual Practice
There are so many ways to intentionally bring mangoes in your own ritual practice. These can range from something as simple as making fresh mango juice which you mindfully consume, to something as auspicious as planting your own mango tree, tending to it, watching its quiet, measured growth. Remember, what turns a habit into a ritual is the intention and energy surrounding it. You have full autonomy surrounding your ritual — in other words, the power is yours.
Photography by Aimée Auguin