Health benefits of mangosteen include reduced risk of cancer, inflammation, allergies and diabetes. It has antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial properties which help in protecting the body against various health ailments and also boosts immune system. Mangosteen is beneficial in maintaining healthy skin, weight management and providing relief from diarrhea and dysentery.
The fruit is reddish or dark purple in color. Due to its good taste mangosteen is also known as queen of fruits.
The place of origin is not known but it mangosteen is said to have been first domesticated in Southeast Asian countries. Thailand, Burma, India and Vietnam are some of the countries where it was cultivated since many years. Apart from these countries it is now grown in other Asian countries and some African countries.
Mangosteen does not have many varieties except for the one which is found in Sulu Islands. It is an ultra-tropical plant which needs humidity, rainfall and cannot survive in long periods of drought. And it cannot be grown at very high altitude regions. Harvesting seasons vary on the basis of location and altitude. In India there are two seasons for harvest, monsoon period and between April and June. In Ceylon, the fruit season is from May to Jul for low altitude regions and for higher altitude regions the fruit ripens from July to August or August to September.
It seems that the people of Southeast Asia realized the medicinal value that this fruit had long time ago. Relying on it as a form of treatment to different medical conditions is the reason why scientists have continuously carried out studies and researches to confirm these healing allegations. So far the benefits of this fruit have been proved scientifically over the past 3 decades to be true.
Nutritional Value of Mangosteen
Mangosteen is a healthy fruit which is rich in water, energy, protein, carbohydrate and fiber. Essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper and manganese are found in this fruit. It contains vitamin C, B6, B12 and A which are required for maintaining good health. Other vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, folic acid, carotene and cryptoxanthin are also found in mangosteen.
Health Benefits of Mangosteen
Anti-cancer properties: Health benefits of mangosteen include anti-cancer properties. The pericarps of mangosteen contain xanthones which exhibit anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects. The xanthones inhibit the cell growth in human colon cancer and as per a research study conducted by Akao Y et al. they exhibit the potential to be developed as agents to prevent cancer or can be used in combination with anti-cancer drugs for beneficial effects.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Mangosteen has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent since many years in Southeast Asian countries. Scientific research study also showed that the extracts of mangosteen have anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties and they inhibit the release of histamine and prostaglandin which are associated with inflammation in the human body.
Healthy skin: Mangosteen helps in maintaining healthy skin. The anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-allergy and anti-oxidant properties help in reducing risk of various conditions such as skin inflammation, skin aging, eczema, allergies and bacterial infections. Research studies have been carried out to ascertain the various benefits of mangosteen for skin and one such study suggests that mangosteen has anti-skin cancer properties and has the potential of being an anti-skin cancer agent.
Healthy immune system: Mangosteen is rich in various nutrients, minerals, vitamins and xanthone which help in boosting the immune system. These nutrients protect the body from various health ailments that weaken the immune system.
Antioxidant properties: Mangosteen is among the fruits that are known to contain powerful antioxidants that are useful to the immune system and the entire body. These antioxidants contain cell boosters that are referred to as xanthones which contain various properties that have medicinal value. This is why mangosteen is termed as a healing fruit which can be used to reverse to the effects of diseases that are associated with common man.
Medicinal use: Mangosteen with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties is beneficial as a medicinal drink and for quick healing of wounds. The leaves and bark of the tree can be mixed with other medicinal herbs and applied to the wounds for a faster recovery. The medicinal drink can be prepared by boiling the leaves and the bark of the tree.
Diarrhea and dysentery: Use of mangosteen is beneficial in stomach disorders as well. The mangosteen pericarp and peel are effective in providing relief from stomach disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.
Menstrual problems: The roots of mangosteen also provide health benefits. Mangosteen root helps in regulating menstrual cycle in women.
Astringent properties: The bark and leaves of the mangosteen tree exhibit astringent properties and are beneficial in curing thrush or aphtha.
Cardioprotective effect: Mangosteen may also be helpful in reducing risk of stroke or myocardial infarction. Findings of a study indicate the cardio protective effect of mangosteen on antioxidant tissue defense system and lipid peroxidation during stroke.
Diabetes: Diabetes is a medical condition that is also common in the modern society. Though it is manageable using prescribed medication it can be a health risk especially if adequate precautions are not taken. Mangosteen one natural remedy which is effective in managing and maintaining blood sugar levels in the body
Other uses of mangosteen
Apart from the various health benefits mangosteen is useful for other commercial purposes. In china it is used for tanning leather and in Ghana the tree twigs are used as chewsticks. The wood is also used for making rice pounders, handles and is also used in constructing furniture.
How to prepare and consume mangosteen?
Fresh mangosteen fruit is eaten as a dessert. Juice made from mangosteen flesh is can be prepared at home and is also available as a health drink “xango juice”.
It is also made into jams and thus can be stored for longer duration and can be consumed any time of the year. Mangosteen products are available in tablet or capsule form. Apart from the fruit the seeds are also edible. They can be consumed after roasting or boiling.
How to select and store?
Due to ease of transportation in all parts of the world this fruit is stocked in different stores even in countries where it is not grown. This is an advantage because one does not have to be a farmer of mangosteen in order to enjoy all its health benefits.
While buying the mangosteen fruit select those which have less seed and more fleshy segments. Choose the fruits which have highest number of stigma lobes at the apex.
Mangosteens generally do not have a long shelf life. They can maintain their freshness up to a period of two weeks of which they tend to lose flavor and nutritional value. Placing this fruit in a cool place that has adequate supply of fresh air is the best way to ensure that this fruit maintains its freshness and nutrition content .Following these simple guidelines makes it simple for a person to select the best fruits without any assistance.