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Mangosteen Fruit from Thailand

A Potent Source of Xanthones (Powerful Antioxidants)

Traditional Uses | Modern Medicinal Uses | How to get Mangosteen, Acai and Goji in one convenient juice

MANGOSTEEN (Garcinia mangostana)
One of the Super Healthy Exotic Fruits

Photo - from left to right - of Thai Mangosteen fruit rind and Himalayan Goji berries and Brazilian Acai berries.

The Mangosteen Fruit from Southwest Asia

The Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana in Latin) plant is a tropical evergreen tree, believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas. It was first discovered in Burma and Siam (now known as Thailand). The tree grows from 7 to 25 meters tall. This exotic edible Mangosteen fruit is a deep reddish purple when ripe. In Asia, the Mangosteen fruit is known as the "Queen of Fruits".

The Mangosteen tree requires a warm, very humid, equatorial climate all year round. Many people have tried to grow Garcinia mangostana in warm places such as California and Florida or in special greenhouses outside South East Asia, but they experienced little success because of the different environmental factors. The Mangosteen tree requires abundant moisture and only grows well in a tropical environment.

The Mangosteen fruit grown in Thailand is harvested in the season of optimum ripeness for maximum efficacy. The xanthone rich pericarp (the outer rind) is then separated from the pulp and freeze-dried.

The outer shell or rind of the Mangosteen fruit (called the pericarp) is rather hard, typically 4 to 6 centimeters in diameter, resembling a spherical, reddish-black, cartoon-style bomb. By cutting through the shell, one finds a very pale and fleshy fruit 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter. Depending on its size and ripeness, there may or may not be pits in the segments of the fruit. The number of fruit pods is directly related to the number of petals on the bottom of the shell. Commonly, the average Mangosteen will have 5 fruit pods.

The shell of the Mangosteen fruit looks tough and hard, but is easy to open. Care must be taken when opening the fruit, as the reddish-black husk outside produces a purplish, inky juice that stains fabric and can be almost impossible to remove (the reason why they are banned from some hotels in countries where they are available). To open a Mangosteen, the shell is usually broken apart, not cut. Holding the fruit in both hands, press it gently (thumbs on one side, the other fingers on the other) until the shell cracks. It is then very easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit without staining.

One of the most-praised of tropical fruits, and certainly the most-esteemed fruit in the family Guttiferae, the Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana in Latin) is almost universally known or heard of by this name. But there are numerous variations in nomenclature: among Spanish-speaking people the fruit is called mangostan; to the French it is mangostanier, mangoustanier, mangouste or mangostier; in Portuguese it is mangostao, mangosta or mangusta; in Dutch it is manggis or manggistan; in Vietnamese it is mang cut; in Malaya it may be referred to in any of these languages or by the local terms mesetor, semetah, or sementah; and in the Philippines it is mangis or mangostan. Throughout the Malay Archipelago of Malaysia, there are many different spellings of names for Mangosteen similar to most of those mentioned above.

Health Benefits of Mangosteen Fruit (Garcinia mangostana)

Traditional Medicinal Uses:

For hundreds of years, the people of Southeast Asia have used the Mangosteen, especially the rind (called the pericarp, to ward off and treat infections, reduce pain or control fever, and treat various other ailments.

Dried Mangosteen fruits are shipped from Singapore to Calcutta and to China for medicinal use. The sliced and dried pericarp (rind) is powdered and administered to overcome dysentery. Made into an ointment, it is applied on eczema and other skin disorders.

The rind decoction is taken to relieve diarrhea and cystitis, gonorrhea and gleet, and is applied externally as an astringent lotion. A portion of the rind is steeped in water overnight and the infusion given as a remedy for chronic diarrhea in adults and children.

Filipinos employ a decoction of the leaves and bark as a febrifuge and to treat thrush, diarrhea, dysentery and urinary disorders.

In Malaya an infusion of the Mangosteen leaves, combined with unripe banana and a little benzoin, is applied to the wound of circumcision. A root decoction is taken to regulate female menstruation. A bark extract called amibiasine has been marketed for the treatment of amoebic dysentery.

Modern Medicinal Uses and Health Benefits:

The latest in scientific research shows Mangosteen contains a class of naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds known as xanthones. Xanthones provide beneficial effects on cardiovascular diseases, including ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, hypertension, and thrombosis. Xanthones demonstrate particularly powerful antioxidant properties.

Xanthones are found in a limited number of rain forest plants, but nowhere are they found in greater abundance than in the rind of the Mangosteen fruit.

The medicinal properties of the Mangosteen fruit are derived mainly from its outer rind or peel, not from the fleshy inner part of the fruit. The rind, called the pericarp, is where powerful antioxidants are highly concentrated. The Mangosteen pericarp is about a half-centimeter thick and is green when unripe, then dark purple when ripe.

These unique antioxidants, known as Xanthones, have properties which help to heal cells damaged by free radicals, slow aging, and ward off degenerative diseases and physical and mental deterioration.

The rind of partially ripe Mangosteen fruit yields a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative termed mangostin, also beta-mangostin. That of fully ripe fruits contains the xanthones gartanin, beta-disoxygartanin, and normangostin.

According to research reported in professional journals such as Free Radical Research and the Journal of Pharmacology, these amazing Xanthones have a remarkablly beneficial effect on cardiovascular health. They are also naturally antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory. Xanthones are among the most powerful antioxidants to be found in nature.

Many of the other health benefits of Xanthones from Mangosteen pericarp can be expressed in terms of how they act against or are "anti" various serious ailments...
anti-fatigue, anti-obesity, anti-depression, anti-anxiety, anti-vertigo (dizziness), anti-Alzheimer’s, anti-Parkinsonism (Parkinson's Disease), anti-allergenic, anti-seborrheic (skin disease), anti-glaucoma (eye disease), anti-pyretic (anti-fever), anti-diarrhea, anti-periodontic (gum disease), anti-pain (such as dental pain), anti-neuralgia (nerve pain), anti-arthritis, anti-inflammatory (act as cox-2 inhibitors like the pharmaceutical drugs Vioxx(tm) and Celebrex(tm), but without the deadly side-effects), and anti-ulcer (such as ulcers of the stomach, mouth, small bowel, or large bowel).

Some of the Xanthones in the Mangosteen pericarp have powerful anti-inflammatory properties which may be of interest to those who suffer the pain of sciatica and peripheray neuropathy, which cannot be effectively controlled by drug treatments. The amount of Mangosteen consumed per day may need to be increased by two or three times to support pain relief through its anti-inflammatory and cox-2 inhibitor effects.

Mangosteen fruit also shows vasorelaxant properties (causing dilation of blood vessels and increased blood flow).

With Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) and Staphylococcus aureus (Staph. A) bacteria, Mangosteen has shown inhibitory action against these harmful bacteria organisms. In addition to its antibacterial properties, Mangosteen fruit also demonstrates strong antifungal properties. It is highly effective in boosting weak immune systems.

There are several compounds found in the Mangosteen that appear to make this fruit so active as a nutritional component for the body.

Research and References

NOTES: In the following citations of research studies, the medical term apoptosis refers to "cell death" after a cell has reproduced a certain number of times, then dies naturally (here, it refers to the death of cancer cells). Induction of apoptosis means "initiating apoptosis" of the cancer cells. HIV-1 refers to the AIDS virus. Low density lipoptrotein refers to "LDL cholesterol", the "bad cholesterol" that can form plaque in the arteries and increase the risk of heart disease or death by stroke or heart attack.

Jiang, D.J. e. al. Pharmacological effects of xanthones as cardiovascular protective agents. Cardiovascular Drug Reviews, 2004, 22(2):91-102

Antiproliferation, antioxidation and induction of apoptosis by Garcinia mangostana on SKBR3 human breast cancer cell line. J. Ethnopharmacol, 2004 Jan:90(1):161-6

Induction of apoptosis by xanthones from mangosteen in human leukemia cell lines. J. Nat Prod. 2003 Aug;55(8):1124-7

Evaluation of the antifungal activity of natural xanthones from Garcinia mangostana and their synthetic derivatives. J. Nat Prod 1997 May; 60 (5):519-24

Active constituents against HIV-1 protease from Mangosteen. Planta Med 1996 Aug;62(4):381-2

Mangostin inhibits the oxidative modification of human low density lipoprotein. Free radical Research. 1995 Aug.:23(2):175-84

Photo - from left to right, of Mangosteen fruit, Goji berries and Acai berries.

This page is ©2006 by Michael Star Co. and others. All rights reserved. E&OE.

The content of this page is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be considered as medical advice. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.

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