The Merits of Mangosteen
Dr. Oz, MD has been on Oprah recently discussing the health benefits of the mangosteen fruit. Below is a short summary about the mangosteen which may be helpful to you when explaining its merits to others.
All the best in health,
Jamee, Boston Healing Tao Instructor
Dr. Oz mentioned a fruit called the mangosteen in the same segment as the purslane and his green drink, as well as the goji, etc. Mangosteen is a fruit most people in the US are unfamiliar with. This post is intended to provide information about the fruit and to enure that those who are interested in the mangosteen do not fall into any of the marketing traps and hype that are out there. So, here’s the heads up…
1) What can be factually said about the mangosteen from scientific research is this: it appears the phytonutrients in the fruit help maintain intestinal health, neutralize existing free radicals (anti-oxidant), maintain a healthy immune system, support cartilage and joint function, maintain a healthy seasonal respiratory system and relieve minor muscle pain after exercise. In addition, a recent double blind human study shows mangosteen used as a mouthwash is effective in treating halitosis (bad breath), plaque and gingivitis (gum disease).
2) Mangosteen has been used medicinally in traditional healing for over a thousand years. There are 138 documented medicinal uses for the mangosteen in Eastern Medicine. The most common uses have been as an anti-inflammatory, an anti-microbial, an analgesic, an anti-diarrheal, a gastrointestinal aid, a treatment for skin ailments and, as Dr. Oz mentioned, a sexual aid.
3) The principal biologically active phytonutrients in mangosteen are catechins, polysaccarides, proanthocyanadins, anti-oxidants, sterols and a class of compounds known as “Xanthones” which account for most of the medicinal properties of the fruit. There are 200+ known Xanthones that occur in nature, typically in lichens, mosses and tree bark — not things you probably want to eat. The family of plants related to St. John’s Wart, of which mangosteen is a member, also contain Xanthones. Of the 200 or so known Xanthones, mangosteen contains over 40.
4) If you are scientifically minded, go to PubMed (you con find that in Google since I can’t link it here) and look up the keyword “mangosteen” — you’ll get a long list of scientific studies that have been done on the fruit. You can do a general internet search for “mangosteen” though you’re going to get a plethora of listings that are only selling juice and may or may not have useful and accurate information. To be sure, all of the leading brands of mangosteen juice are sold by direct distributors and they can make some pretty outrageous and misleading claims in their enthusiasm to make a sale.
5) You cannot buy fresh mangosteen fruit in the US and most of Europe because it doesn’t keep well. Mangosteen is called “The Queen of Fruits” because Queen Elizabeth offered knighthood to anyone who could bring her the fresh fruit… no one ever did. Even if you did buy the whole fruit, the health benefits of the fruit are in the rind, not the fruit, and the rind tastes horrid. So you wouldn’t eat that and thus would miss out on the benefits of the fruit.
6) Not all mangosteen juices are created equal. As I just pointed out, the benefits of the fruit are in its rind, not the pulp, so unless the juice is a whole fruit puree you won’t get the full benefit. Just squeezing the fruit and throwing the juice in bottle will let you market it as a mangosteen juice, but that does not mean that it offers any of the benefits Dr Oz referred to or that have been the subject of the mangosteen’s uses in traditional medicine he indicated.
7) Also beware of juices that use extracts and concentrates — as already mentioned, there are over 40 known Xanthones in the mangosteen’s pericarp and fruit concentrates or extracts usually miss most, if not all, of them. Some products claim to be extra rich in Xanthones because they extract and concentrate a small subset of the Xanthones that are available in the fruit and thus undermine the synergy of the entire fruit. They often focus on the Alpha Mangostin Xanthone which is an anti-oxidant and miss all of the other Xanthones that are anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, etc. Also look for warning signs like added sugars, preservatives, added water, etc. Be very aware of what you are buying. To the best of my knowledge, there are no store bought brands that are whole fruit, not watered down, and without concentrates, extracts or additives.
The whole fruit tastes nasty without help. Try different brands to find the one that tastes best to you. There are brands out that there that are the whole fruit and tastes delicious. If you try a brand and it tastes bad, keep experimenting with other brands. If it doesn’t taste good, you won’t keep drinking it over time. Taste is a huge barrier to consumption and if you want to use the mangsoteen over the long term as a health aid, then you need to find one you enjoy drinking or you WILL quit even though it is good for you.
9) The first company to bring mangosteen juice was XanGo. You cannot buy XanGo in a store nor do I believe you can buy any unadulterated whole fruit puree mangosteen juice in a store. At least, I haven’t found one yet. Most are sold only through direct distributors. XanGo is an international business and they drop ship directly to your door, as do most all direct sales brands.
For more info about Xango please go here