Irvingia Gabonensis (bush mango)

What Is It?
Health Benefits

Dosage Information
Guidelines for Use
General Interaction
Possible Side Effects

Evidence-Based Rating Scale

What Is It?

Irvingia gabonensis is the official name of the fleshy West African fruit tree commonly known as bush mango, dikanut, or African mango. Although the flesh of the fruit is frequently consumed, it is the seeds (fresh or dried) that are used in traditional Nigerian and Cameroonian cuisine to add flavoring and consistency.

The seeds of bush mango contain water-soluble dietary fiber that delays stomach emptying and allows for a more gradual absorption of dietary sugar. Initial studies suggested the high fiber content of bush mango accounted for its beneficial metabolic effects but recent animal studies suggest other factors as well. Researchers are studying bush mango for its potential use in treating diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and obesity. (1-3)

Health Benefits

Researchers at the University of Yaounde, Cameroon observed low incidences of obesity, diabetes, and related diseases in a particular region of Africa. Further research revealed the people of this region used Irvingia as a soup thickener an average of ten times per week. Eventually, this lead to the development of a bush mango extract.

Specifically, bush mango may help to:

  • Assist with weight loss. In a study of 40 obese Cameroonian patients done in 2005, significant decreases in body weight, total cholesterol, LDL, or "bad" cholesterol, and triglycerides were observed by the end of the 10-week study. A 2008 study indicated similar results with lower dosages of bush mango. (1,3-4)

  • Improve serum cholesterol levels. In addition to weight loss, the 2008 study indicates levels of LDL fell 27% after 10 weeks. An earlier study showed a 45% reduction of LDL and a 46% increase in HDL, or "good" cholesterol. In addition, studies indicate reduced total cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (1-3)

  • Reduce plasma glucose level. In a 1990 study, eleven Type II diabetics were given four grams per day of bush mango supplement for four weeks. The patients showed an increase in enzyme activity and a decrease in plasma glucose levels. (4-5)

  • Treat bacterial and fungal infections. Six species of bacteria and three species of Candida fungus were treated with an alcohol extract from the bark of the bush mango tree.  The extract prevented the growth of microorganisms and suggested bush mango may be used to treat bacterial and fungal infections; however, human studies are needed. (6)

  • Relieve pain. Water and alcohol extracts from bush mango bark were used to test analgesic, or pain-relieving effects in an animal study. The study provided a pharmacological basis for the use of bush mango as an analgesic; human studies are needed. (7)

  • Enhance tablet strength and drug-release properties. When mucilage (the sticky substance found in bush mango seeds) was used as a binding agent in tablets, the tablets exhibited decreased tensile strength and increased brittleness compared to gelatin tablets. The tablets also had higher dissolution and disintegration times suggesting that bush mango mucilage may be a useful binding agent in achieving tablet drug release properties. (8,9)


  • extract
  • capsule
  • liquid

Dosage Information

Be sure to check out our Dosage Recommendations Chart for bush mango, which lists therapeutic dosages for specific ailments at a glance.

Guidelines for Use

  • The therapeutic range of bush mango intake is 300-3,150mg daily.
  • To enhance absorption, take bush mango 30 to 60 minutes before meals with an 8- to 10-ounce glass of water.

General Interaction

Taking bush mango along with diabetes medication could excessively lower blood glucose levels. Do this only under the supervision of your physician.

Note: For information on interactions with specific drugs, see our WholeHealthMD Drug/Nutrient Interactions Chart.

Possible Side Effects

In studies, the side effects reported were headaches, intestinal flatulence, and sleep difficulties. However, both placebo and bush mango groups reported the same side effects indicating bush mango is well tolerated. 


Currently, no cautions have been reported with bush mango.


1. Ngondi JL, Etoundi BC, Nyangono CB, Mbofung CM, Oben JE. IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation. Lipids Health Dis. 2009 Mar 2;8:7.
2. Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Momo CN, Agbor GA, Sobgui CS. The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study. Lipids Health Dis. 2008 Mar 31;7:12.
3. Ngondi JL, Oben JE, Minka SR. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids Health Dis. 2005 May 25;4:12.
4. Adamson I, Okafor C, Abu-Bakare A. A supplement of Dikanut (Irvingia gabonesis) improves treatment of type II diabetics. West Afr J Med. 1990 Apr-Jun;9(2):108-15.
5.NowPublic website. Available at  Accessed June 4, 2009.
6. Kuete V, Wabo GF, Ngameni B, Mbaveng AT, Metuno R, Etoa FX, Ngadjui BT, Beng VP, Meyer JJ, Lall N. Antimicrobial activity of the methanolic extract, fractions and compounds from the stem bark of Irvingia gabonensis (Ixonanthaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Oct 8;114(1):54-60.
7. Okolo CO, Johnson PB, Abdurahman EM, Abdu-Aguye I, Hussaini IM. Analgesic effect of Irvingia gabonensis stem bark extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995 Feb;45(2):125-9.
8. Odeku OA, Patani BO. Evaluation of dika nut mucilage (Irvingia gabonensis) as binding agent in metronidazole tablet formulations. Pharm Dev Technol. 2005;10(3):439-46.
9. Udeala OK, Onyechi JO, Agu SI. Preliminary evaluation of dika fat, a new tablet lubricant. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1980 Jan;32(1):6-9.

Evidence Based Rating Scale

The Evidence Based Rating Scale is a tool that helps consumers translate the findings of medical research studies with what our clinical advisors have found to be efficacious in their personal practice. This tool is meant to simplify which supplements and therapies demonstrate promise in the treatment of certain conditions. This scale does not take into account any possible interactions with any medication/ condition/ or therapy which you may be currently undertaking. It is therefore advisable to ask your doctor before starting any new treatment regimen.








Numerous studies indicate bush mango lowers fasting blood glucose levels. (1-3,7)

High Cholesterol  
Studies indicate decreased LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides; large-scale studies needed. (1-3)
 Weight Management  
Studies indicate significant reductions in body weight, body fat, and waist size; large-scale studies needed. (1-3)

Date Published: 06/08/2009
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