12 Powerful Benefits of Mangosteen

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Mangosteen is rich in antioxidants and xanthones, and the powerful health benefits of the tropical fruit include its ability to help fight cancer and boost heart health. It has potent anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which help in providing GI relief from issues such as diarrhea, dysentery, thrush, and urinary tract infections. Mangosteen also helps regulate the menstrual cycle, and improve skin health.

What is Mangosteen?

Mangosteen is a reddish (or dark purple) fruit with white, juicy flesh that is popular in Thailand. It is known as the queen of fruits because of its exquisite taste, which has notes of ripe strawberry, fragrant peach, and creamy vanilla ice cream. The plant of the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) may have originated in Thailand or Myanmar (formerly Burma). Over the years, it has been cultivated in other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and India. The fruit has cancer-fighting properties and in many of the Southeast Asian countries, the bark and the leaves of the plant and the pectin-rich fruit rind are also used for their medicinal benefits.

A closeup view of mangosteen fruits

Nutrition Facts

Mangosteen, canned, syrup pack
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]80.94
Energy [kcal]73
Protein [g]0.41
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.58
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]17.91
Fiber, total dietary [g]1.8
Calcium, Ca [mg]12
Iron, Fe [mg]0.3
Magnesium, Mg [mg]13
Phosphorus, P [mg]8
Potassium, K [mg]48
Sodium, Na [mg]7
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.21
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]2.9
Thiamin [mg]0.05
Riboflavin [mg]0.05
Niacin [mg]0.29
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.02
Folate, DFE [µg]31
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]2
Vitamin A, IU [IU]35
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Mangosteen Nutrition Facts

Mangosteen is an antioxidant-rich fruit, particularly known for the presence of xanthones in its white pulp. Xanthones are polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties, according to research published in the journal Nutrients. The fruit is also rich in vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A, B-vitamins (vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, folate), vitamin C, potassium, and zinc as per the USDA National Nutrient Database. Other minerals such as calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, carotene, and cryptoxanthin, are also found in mangosteen. Mangosteen juice is a rich source of antioxidants, and is often utilized in folk medicine as an “anti-aging” drink.

Health Benefits of Mangosteen

This queen of fruits has many health benefits, the best of which are mentioned below.

Anticancer 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, according to some clinical trials. As per research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 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.

Relief from Diarrhea & Dysentery

The mangosteen fruit and rind can be effective in providing relief from stomach disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery. A traditional remedy for diarrhea is steeping the fruit rind in water overnight. This decoction is given to adults and children who have chronic diarrhea. For relief from dysentery, the dried fruit and rind is powdered and taken.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

It has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent for many years in Southeast Asian countries. 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. While one can certainly use it for these benefits, a study analyzing the limited scientific data, concluded that, despite the numerous health claims of mangosteen, there is insufficient evidence at this time to support the use of mangosteen-containing supplements to enhance health and for treatment of various pathophysiological illnesses.

Skin Care

The touted anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-allergy, and anti-oxidant properties of mangosteen may help in reducing the risk of various conditions such as skin inflammation, skin aging, eczema, allergies, and bacterial infections. Research has been carried out to ascertain the various benefits of this fruit on the skin. A study cited in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal suggests that mangosteen has properties which can prevent skin cancer.

Boosts Immunity

Mangosteen is rich in nutrients, minerals, vitamins, and xanthones which help in boosting the immune system. These nutrients protect the body from ailments that weaken the immune system.

Antioxidant Properties

Mangosteens are known to contain powerful antioxidants, which are useful to the immune system and the entire body. These antioxidants contain cell boosters, the aforementioned xanthones, which contain various properties that have medicinal value. This is the reason why it is deemed a healing fruit and can be used to reverse the effects of diseases. One study published in Foods Science and Nutrition hows the daily consumption of mangosteen drink improved antioxidant levels in the body.

Speeds up Healing

Mangosteen, with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, is beneficial to expedite the 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.

Alleviates Menstrual Problems

Mangosteen root is traditionally thought to help in regulating the menstrual cycle in women. It also eases the uncomfortable symptoms that often occur before menstruation, and therefore make it easier for women to carry out their normal daily routine.

Astringent Properties

The bark and leaves of the mangosteen tree exhibit astringent properties and are beneficial in curing thrush or aphtha, which is a small, shallow sore at the base of the gums.

Protects Heart Health

Mangosteens are helpful in reducing the risk of stroke or myocardial infarction. Findings of a study published in the Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology indicate that mangosteen may have a cardioprotective effect on antioxidant tissue defense system and lipid peroxidation during a stroke. However, the study focused on rodents, so more scientific research focusing on a human population is required to further these claims.

Controls Diabetes

Dr. Dónal O’Mathuna of The Ohio State University, US, in his book “Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook”, writes about the use of mangosteen to help with diabetes, as it is effective in managing and maintaining blood sugar levels in the body.

Weight Loss

Incorporating mangosteen in the diet is thought to be effective in weight loss in many cultures. The various nutrients found in this tropical fruit also ensure good health and well-being.

Uses

Apart from health benefits, mangosteen is useful for 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 in constructing furniture.

Health benefits of mangosteen - infographic

How to Prepare & Eat Mangosteen?

Preparations: Fresh mangosteen fruit is eaten as a dessert. Juice from the fruit’s 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 at any time of the year. Mangosteen products are available in tablet or capsule form. Mangosteen powder can be added to smoothies and juices for a nutrition boost.

Eating: The rind of the fruit is thick, so you would need a knife to cut it open though traditionally people also just lightly crush the ripe fruit with their hands. Here are the steps to cut open mangosteen:

  • Step 1: Hold the fruit with the stem-end down.
  • Step 2: Take a sharp knife and cut cleanly through the rind around the middle of the fruit.
  • Step 3: Lift the top half and you will see the white, delicious segments of the fruit.
  • Step 4: You can use a fork to lift the segments.
  • Step 5: You can choose to remove the seeds; however, they are edible. Enjoy your mangosteen!

Note: The tropical fruit is best had fresh. It tends to lose its delicate flavor when kept open for a while or when canned. Also, the seeds can also be consumed after roasting or boiling. In Thailand, the pectin-rich rind is treated and made into a purplish jelly.

How to Select and Store

  • 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
  • The fruits generally do not have a long shelf life. They can maintain their freshness for 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.
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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