Mangosteen Fruit

Mangosteen Fruit

"We found that antiproliferative effect of CME [crude methanolic extract] was associated with apoptosis on breast cancer cell line by determinations of morphological changes and oligonucleosomal DNA fragments. In addition, CME at various concentrations and incubation times were also found to inhibit ROS production. These investigations suggested that the methanolic extract from the pericarp [skin] of Garcinia mangostana had strong antiproliferation, potent antioxidation and induction of apoptosis. Thus, it indicates that this substance can show different activities and has potential for cancer chemoprevention which were dose dependent as well as exposure time dependent."

mangosteen: the magical fruit?

After all the noni, goji and pomegranate we've consumed in the past few years, you'd think we'd have had our all of exotic fruits promising cures for everything from arthritis 10 zits. Now mangosteen, the newest contender in the tropical elixir category, is taking the health beverage market by storm. But is mangosteen a true healing tonic — or a pricey fruit drink? Probably a little of both: it's not a panacea, but some interesting research suggests it may pack a nutritional punch.
Mangosteen, or Garcinia mangostana, was reportedly named for the 16th-century French priest and explorer Laurentiers Garcin, who was the first to write about it. The fruit is about the size of a tangerine and is a deep, purplish red color, with a hard rind. The pulp's flavor is something like that of a pineapple or peach. Mangosteen grows wild and in abundance in the tropical dimes of Southeast Asia, and has been used for centuries in Chinese, Ayurvedic and folk medicine as a treatment for dysentery, diarrhea, inflammation, skin disorders and other ailments.

Xanthones for Healing

Xanthones, mangosieen's main healing compounds, are potent antioxidants that are structurally similar to flavonoids.

Mangosteen is thought to be nature's richest source of xanthones, Dozens of papers have been published on the beneficial properties of these substances. Some highlights:

Cancer. A few trials have suggested that xanthones may have cancer-protective possibilities. Several in vitro (lest tube) studies have found that an extract of mangosteen may help prevent the proliferation of breast cancer cells. In other tests, xanthones from mangosteen inhibited the growth of leukemia cells and precancerous colon lesions.
Heart disease. Mangosteen appears to hinder the oxidation of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and thus may help deter atherosclerosis and reduce the risk of heart disease. Research has suggested other cardiovascular benefits of xanthones, including lowering the risk of high blood pressure.

Brain function. Xanthones may have neuroprotective effects, safeguarding brain cells against free radical and other kinds of damage.

Immune function. In a couple of studies, mangosteen appeared to have immune-stimulating activities. Other trials have posited that xanthones could help inhibit HIV-1, the retrovirus that causes AIDS.

Anti-inflammatory. Xanthones have shown potential for reducing inflammation and relieving pain in several studies.
Antibacterial and antifungal. One mangosteen xanthone was found to be active against certain kinds of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and to possibly have a synergistic effect with some antibiotics. The fruit's xanthones also seem to possess some antifungal properties.

Where to Find It

Mangosieen hit the US market in 2002, but you won't find it in your produce aisle. Mangosteen is mostly sold as a purée that's combined with fruit juices to soften its sharp flavor and add other health benefits. Capsules with the whole fruit extract and powdered juice mixes are also available.

A Dollop a Day

Though intriguing, the research on mangosteen is based on animal and in vitro studies, and none as yet on the use of xanthones in nonlaboratory treatment of human disease. Some critics say mangosteen is an expensive way to get antioxidants and we may get similar benefits from prune juice (which, by the way, is extraordinarily rich in antioxidants). Maybe the best advice is to treat mangosteen like a supplement — don't quaff it like OJ, but rather drink it in regular and measured doses. And while I'm waiting for the final analysis, I'll relax with my new favorite cocktail: a mixed-fruit smoothie fortified with a healthy dollop of mangosteen juice.

QUICK TIP: Pick the Peel

The highest concentration of xanthones found in mangosteen's thick outer peel, so look for products that contain the whole fruit, not just the pulp.

PHOTO (COLOR): HEALTH SUPPORT REJUVENADE JUICES TO GO combine organic mangosteen, green tea and other juices in a convenient packet that can be easily added to bottled water.
PHOTO (COLOR): XANGO JUICE blends whole mangosteen fruit with other whole fruit juices; a portion of the proceeds goes to charity.
PHOTO (COLOR): GENESIS TODAY MANGOSTEEN 100 contains 100% wild-grown, wild-harvested Garcinia mangostana.
PHOTO (COLOR): PURE FRUIT TECHNOLOGIES MANGO-XAN is an optimized blend of whole-fruit purees and juices.
PHOTO (COLOR): LIFETIME MANGOSTEEN JUICE is a mix of whole mangosteen. cherry, cranberry and other fruits.
By Lisa Turner

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