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African Mango*

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Irvingia gabonensis

Botanical Family:


* Despite the similar common name, this species is not related to the tree that produces the mango fruit (Mangifera indica-Anacardiaceae)

Common names in English:

Bush mango, dika bread tree, dika nut, dika nut tree, rainy season bush mango, sweet bush mango, wild mango

Common names in Spanish:

Árbol chocolate, Mango salvaje

Other common names:

Abeje, Agbono, Andoc, Andog, Andoo, Biba, Bofalanga, Boborou, Borbor, Dika, Ditoke, Ebi, Iba, Lubigniati, Magongo, Meba, Musosomba, Muiba, Peke, Weke, Wipa

Where is it found?

This tall tree is native to various countries in tropical West-Central Africa, including the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Cameroun. It is currently grown in various tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

African Mango Tree
Photo: Wikipedia
African Mango Tree

Parts of the plant used:

Leaves, bark, fruits, seed kernels, and root.

How is it used?

  • The kernel of the fruit is ingested as food, and also as an extract or powder mainly to treat Type 2 Diabetes and obesity.
  • Externally, the powdered bark is rubbed onto the body to decrease pain, applied to wounds or sores.
  • The bark is boiled in water and taken as a tea against diarrhea, and yellow fever.
  •  The bark is boiled in water and used as a mouthwash to treat toothaches.
  • As an antidote against poisons.
  • The active ingredients contained in the bark have antibiotic and analgesic properties
  • The bark is also used to treat skin aliments.
  • The leaves can be boiled in water to make a tea or taken as an extract to reduce fever.

What is it used for?

  • The seed and fruit are edible, “Dika nut”, mashed kernels are used to make “bread”, “butter” (similar to cocoa butter), and "Gaboon chocolate".
  • In Eastern Nigeria, the leaves are boiled in water and taken as a tea for the treatment of intestinal worm infestation in humans in rural areas.
  • The bark of the tree contains important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory ingredients which could be of use in treating various neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Some reports mention that the African mango seed kernel and certain products made from it could be a potential alternative herbal option for weight loss and Type 2 Diabetes.
  • To treat spleen infections, the leaves of the tree are combined with the stem bark of other plants and boiled in water and taken as a tea.
  • A clinical trial mentioned that African mango extract ( IGOB131) showed favorable effects on body weight and possessed low toxicity.
  • Only a few clinical trials exist to recommend this plant for weight loss.
  • Adulteration or improper processing techniques for certain commercially available dietary supplements may result in toxicity to various organs.

African Mango Seeds
Photo: Traders of Africa / Google images
African Mango Seeds


Safety / Precautions


  • More good quality clinical research is needed to adequately ascertain if herbal supplements containing African mango are safe and efficient for weight loss and Type 2 Diabetes
  • The safety of products made from the African mango have not been adequately evaluated during pregnancy
  • Avoid taking products made from this plant during pregnancy and lactation
  • Theoretically, an interaction could occur when taking this plant along with certain medications to treat Type 2 Diabetes; check with your healthcare provider first before taking supplements made from this plant
  • Adulteration of herbal products, including certain supplements purportedly containing African mango, may occur and could be responsible for varying types of hepatic and renal toxicities (Kilinçalp et al., 2014; Stikel, 2015).

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with your health care professional first. Avoid self-diagnosis and self-medication: Always be on the safe side!

For further information about this plant, please go to the Scientific Monographs section of this website.


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