Mango-ginger is a perennial herb cultivated as an annual with rhizomes having characteristic odour of raw mangoes and apperence of turmeric. Mango-ginger is botanically related to neither mango nor ginger, but to turmeric (Curcuma longa). Its rhizomes are morphologically resemblant to ginger (Zingiber officinale) but endowed with raw mango flavor. The rhizomes are pale yellow inside with lighter colour outside, have sweet smell of unripe mango when crushed. The crop comes up well in open conditions, but tolerates low levels of shade and therefore partially shaded situations can also be utilized for its cultivation. It can be well accommodated as an intercrop in coconut gardens and in rotation with other short duration crops like vegetables and also as a crop component in homesteads. The bio-active ingredients include volatile oils, non-volatile ether extracts, starch and fiber. This herb is noted for its volatile (essential) oil curcumene. The rhizome also comprises volatile oils like ocimene, linalool, linalyl acetate and safrol. It also includes difurocumenonol, a bioactive terpenoid compound and phenolics.
The rhizome has excellent medicinal properties and finds extensive use in the indigenous system of medicine. It is appetizer, antipyretic, aphrodisiac and laxative. It is useful in biliousness, itching, skin diseases, bronchitis, asthma, hiccough and inflammation due to injuries. The rhizomes and roots are carminative and stomachic and in crushed pulp form they are applied over contusions, sprains and bruises for rapid healing. Currently there are much more research activities on this plant. One such finding is its cholesterol lowering properties. The herb is used as a tonic in folk medicine. The herb is popular all over India, Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka.
The rhizomes of mango-ginger are used for preparing pickles, chutney, preserve, candy, sauce and salad, sausages and in meat and other culinary preparations. , they are also used in the preparation of special foods, beverages and pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.