Did you know: Almost half of the world’s mangos are grown in one country… India. And the people of India have found more than a few ways to use mangos in their cuisine! They actually use the mango seed in several dishes. What’s that, you say? Mango seeds are edible?
Mango seeds can indeed be eaten. In fact, they are said to have many health benefits. However, in a ripe mango, the seed has hardened and become bitter. Therefore, if you want to eat a mango seed, you should cut out the seed from an unripe, green mango.
Below, I’ll share the many supposed health benefits of mango seeds and how to use them—not just in recipes but other, more creative uses, too. I’ll also cover potential mango seed side effects, including the surprising connection between mangos and poison ivy!
Are Mango Seeds Edible?
Mango seeds are edible… but you probably don’t want to try eating one out of a ripe mango—unless you follow the special procedures to powder it or process it.
In ripe mangos, the seed or pit becomes very hard, and it’s covered by a fibrous sort of covering. I wouldn’t recommended trying to simply blend it up in a blender, either. Even if you manage to break it down, ripe mango seeds have a bitter, yucky taste.
However, in unripe, green mangos, the pit is still soft and easy to cut open.
So if you want to eat an in-tact mango seed, the best way is to cut open an unripe, green mango and eat a seed from one of those.
The seed from ripe mangos can be used, too, however. Yes, it’s hard and fibrous, but it’s not toxic or anything. In fact, it has many health benefits, which I’ll cover below! So how can these hard mango seeds be used?
Well, the fully ripe mango seed (“gutli”) contains a kernel inside it that can be used to make “kernel flour,” as well as oil/butter. Antioxidants and other compounds can be extracted from this kernel, as well.
Or you can make your ripe mango seed into a powder using a DIY process at home!
Mango Seed Recipes
So, how do you eat mango seeds? Well, there are various ways to prepare them.
Indian cuisine seems to make the most use of mango seeds. Makes sense, I suppose, with their 20 million metric tons of mango production each year.
4 More Uses for Mango Seeds
Here are four more ideas of what to do with your mango seeds, taken from the ultimate mango authority—Mango.org.
Did you know that you can plant the seed from a mango and grow a mango tree from it? It is a seed, after all!
But to grow a mango tree, you need to live in a climate where the temperature rarely goes below 40 °F. And it takes a few years before the tree with produce fruit. (source)
You can also use mango seeds in your cooking, even without eating them! For example, there is a type of traditional Mexican sauce that sometimes gets its flavor from simmering mango seeds in the sauce.
You can also use mango seeds to infuse and flavor alcoholic drinks (or even water!). Just let the seed sit in the beverage for a full 24 hours to let it infuse the drink.
Or use your mango seed as a natural “teether” for your baby! If you’ve never heard of teethers, it’s something your baby chews on that helps with teething. Many babies use rubber teether products, but you can also use fruits and veggies—including mango seeds!
Mango Seed Benefits
There are so many health benefits that have been attributed to mango seeds—but it’s not as clear how many of these benefits are real.
Here’s a list of some of the many supposed mango seed benefits:
- Decreasing dandruff
- Strengthening hair follicles for better hair health.
- Treating diarrhea
- Reducing hypertension and LDL cholesterol levels
- Preventing of heart disease.
- Treating type-2 diabetes.
- Weight loss
- Treating vaginitis and leukorrhea
- Improving digestion
- Removing acne, wrinkles, and age spots
- Reducing inflammation
- Relieving pain from bee or scorpion bites
- Treating anemia
- Treating scurvy
- Hydrating dry lips and skin
- Preventing cavities and strengthening gums
Mango seed is included in all kinds of cosmetics and personal care products. It’s added into weight loss supplements. And it’s even used as a mouth freshener for after meals in India: “Mango seed mukhwas.”
So there’s a lot of hype around these seeds and their butter, powder, and oil. But is it all just marketing hoopla?
Actually, a few scientific studies do suggest there are real mango seed benefits. This study suggested better blood-sugar control for diabetics. This study showed results for skin health and anti-acne effects.
Mango Seed Side Effects?
Some guides to mango seeds mention that mango plants contain the compound urushiol. This is the same compound from poison ivy and poison oak that gives people skin rashes.
There is some concern that people sensitive to poison ivy can sometimes experience allergies with mangos—and this could also be a concern with mango seed products. However, this is not commonly observed.
Unless you have an allergy to mangos, you’re unlikely to have an adverse effect to mango seeds or products derived from them. But as with any supplement or personal care product, you may want to consult your physician before you start any new regimen.
So, Are Mango Pits Poisonous?
Mango pits are not poisonous. They actually have many purported health benefits, some of which are backed up by research. That said, they’re also very hard and bitter when taken from ripe mangos.
If you want to reap the benefits of mango seeds, you’ll want to get them from unripe, green mangos; or you can buy a mango butter, oil, or powder product; or you can make your own with ripe mango seeds at home.
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