Health benefits of mangosteen include a reduced risk of cancer, inflammation, allergies, and diabetes. It has antioxidant, antifungal, and antibacterial properties which help in protecting the body against various ailments and also boosts the immune system. Mangosteen is also beneficial in maintaining healthy skin, weight management, and providing relief from diarrhea and dysentery.
What is Mangosteen?
The fruit is reddish or dark purple in color. Due to its good taste, mangosteen is also known as the queen of fruits. The place of origin is not known but it is said to have domesticated in Southeast Asian countries. Thailand, Burma, India, and Vietnam are some of the countries where it was cultivated for 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 long periods of drought. Moreover, it cannot be grown at very high altitudes. Harvesting seasons vary on the basis of location and altitude. In India, there are two seasons for harvesting, monsoon and between April and June. In Ceylon, the fruit season is from May to July for low altitudes and for higher altitudes the fruit ripens from July to September.
It seems that the people of Southeast Asia realized the medicinal value that this fruit had a long time ago. Relying on it as a form of treatment for different medical conditions is the reason why scientists have continuously carried out studies and research to confirm these healing allegations. So far the benefits of this fruit have been proven scientifically over the past 3 decades.
Nutritional Value of Mangosteen
Mangosteen is a healthy fruit, which is rich in water, energy, protein, carbohydrates, 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, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and vitamin 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 it.
Health Benefits of Mangosteen
This queen of fruits has many health benefits, the best of which are mentioned below.
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 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.
It has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent for many years in Southeast Asian countries. Scientific research 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 body.
Research has been carried out to ascertain the various benefits of this fruit on skin and study suggests that mangosteen has properties which can prevent skin cancer. The anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-allergy, and anti-oxidant properties help in reducing the risk of various conditions such as skin inflammation, skin aging, eczema, allergies, and bacterial infections.
Mangosteen is among the fruits that are known to contain powerful antioxidants, which 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 and can be used to reverse the effects of diseases.
Speeds up Healing
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.
Cures Diarrhea & Dysentery
The mangosteen pericarp and peel are effective in providing relief from stomach disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.
Treats Menstrual Problems
Mangosteen root helps in regulating menstrual cycle in women. It also eases the symptoms that often occur before menstruation and make it tough for women to carry out their routine.
The bark and leaves of the mangosteen tree exhibit astringent properties and are beneficial in curing thrush or aphtha.
Protects Heart Health
It is helpful in reducing the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction. Findings of a study indicate the cardioprotective effect of mangosteen on antioxidant tissue defense system and lipid peroxidation during a stroke.
Diabetes is a medical condition 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 is one natural remedy, which is effective in managing and maintaining blood sugar levels in the body.
Apart from the health benefits, mangosteen is useful for commercial purposes a well. 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 & eat Mangosteen?
Fresh mangosteen fruit is eaten as a dessert. Juice from mangosteen flesh 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 a 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 Mangosteen?
While buying mangosteen select those which have fewer seeds and more fleshy segments. Choose the fruits which have the highest number of stigma lobes at the apex.
Mangosteens generally do not have a long shelf life. They can maintain their freshness up to two weeks, after which they tend to lose their flavor and nutritional value. Placing these fruits in a cool place that has an adequate supply of fresh air is the best way to ensure that they stay fresh.