Significance of Mango Leaves in Indian Culture: Myth or Science?

Ever wondered why you see mango leaf decorations all around you during any kind of occasion which has auspicious and/or religious connotations?

Well, it is not only because people in our culture think that mango leaves make pretty decorations, but also because the leaves hold a special place when it comes to religious practices. Now, one would think that this whole hype in the Indian culture for mango leaves must come from some ancient myth and has zero scientific knowledge backing it. Well, these are just a few statements we will be clarifying in this article.

SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE OF MANGO LEAVES

MANGO LEAVES AND INDIAN CULTURE

Be it a wedding ceremony, Diwali puja, or a simple hawan in an Indian household, the presence of mango leaves is evergreen. Surely, they are not there only to make the Kalash look “aesthetic”.

Mango leaves are used in a variety of ways, mostly because of religious reasons. For example, they are placed in the Kalash because of a Hindu ceremony called Purnakumbham (Purna = full, Kumbha = pitcher). Not only this, mango leaves are also said to signify Goddess Lakshmi, hence the hanging of mango leaf decorations during Diwali. During weddings, mango leaves are used in the mandap decorations because they are believed to be associated with Kamadeva, or the God of Love (as mentioned in scriptures such as the Mahabharata, Ramayana), hence signifying fertility as well as good luck.

WHY MANGO LEAVES?

“But why only mango leaves?” Here are some explanations for the importance these leaves are given:

  •  It is a common belief that these leaves keep out negative energy and bring good karma.
  • The leaves are associated with popular Gods and Goddesses of Hindu mythology, such as Lord Ganesha and Lord Murugan.
  • They are hung at the entrance of a house since they signify good fortune for the house and its occupants.
green oval fruit on tree
Photo by Mohan Nannapaneni on Pexels.com

SCIENTIFIC SIGNIFICANCE OF MANGO LEAVES

Mango leaves do not only have a spiritual/religious significance but a scientific basis too. One could say that the spiritual importance of the leaves arose from a scientific basis only!

A lot of Indian households have a Toran hanging at the entrance of their house during festivals and puja, which is basically a garland made out of mango leaves. The green mango leaves do not only look aesthetically pleasing but also have purifying capacities that include more than just spiritual cleansing.

  • The leaves act as an “air purifier” and absorb carbon dioxide while simultaneously releasing oxygen, thus keeping the surrounding environment fresh.
  • The green color acts as a stress buster. Looking at it feels very soothing and refreshes our minds.
  • They are antibacterial and antiseptic.

OTHER BENEFITS OF MANGO LEAVES

There are multiple other benefits of these luscious green leaves and below mentioned are some specific health-related ones :

  • Mango leaves contain nutrients that benefit skin health by reducing wrinkles with the help of collagen production.
  • Using mango leaves for hair growth is an ancient technique to grow hair rapidly since the leaves contain Vitamin C and A.
  • They are excellent for balancing blood sugar levels in diabetic patients.
  • Mango leaves have been beneficial for treating stomach ulcers and hiccups since ancient times.
  • The leaves also tend to have healing properties when mixed with turmeric.

Although it is to be noted that most of these claims are preliminary and haven’t been established yet, they have been prevalent for quite some time.

HOW TO USE MANGO LEAVES

Now that we know the multiple benefits of mango leaves, the problem that arises is how to use them. Surely, we can’t be expected to directly chew on them!

Following are some ways in which mango leaves can be used :

  • You could finely chop the leaves and boil them in water, add honey and enjoy it as a warm drink.
  • You could also make a smooth paste out of the leaves and apply on the desired area.
  • You could make a powder out of dry mango leaves and drink it with water.
  • Additionally, you could also burn a few mango leaves and then inhale the smoke.

Thus, the importance of mango leaves is both spiritual and scientific. So, don’t just enjoy the fruit, utilize those leaves too!

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