Vol: 68   No: 19

May 15, 2022

The King of Fruits

K. R. K. Moorthy


Contrary to popular belief, the fruit which is most consumed worldwide is not the banana or the apple, but the mango. Mangoes are consumed the world over by a ratio of three to one over bananas, and ten to one over apples. Mangoes as a ‘comfort food’ are becoming increasingly popular in all continents, thanks to increased globalisation and better marketing and distribution systems.
The earliest name given to the mango was ‘Amra-phal’. The American Heritage Dictionary traces the etymology of ‘mango’ to manga in Portuguese and Malay, and to mankay in Tamil. This sweet juicy fruit belongs to

the same botanical family as the poison ivy, which explains why the rind of fresh mangoes contains allergens similar to the ones found in poison ivy. A few people may develop a rash on consuming the skin of mangoes.
Mangoes were known as the ‘Food of Gods’ in ancient India. In the Vedas, the mango is praised as a ‘heavenly fruit’ and the Ayurvedic classics describe it as ‘Phalashreshta’ (king of fruits). Mangoes have been cultivated in India for more than 4000 years and have been an integral part of Indian heritage and culture. It was popular with earlier Indian royal dynasties, especially the Mauryas. Alexander, the powerful Macedonian ruler, took some

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