Mangosteen Fruit, Fresh or Powdered, Offers Tons of Health Benefits
Mangosteen fruit powder, which is typically made by grinding freeze-dried mangosteen pericarp and pulp, frequently pops up on 'superfood' and 'superfruit' charts listing the world's most nutrient-dense foods. But did you know that also fresh mangosteens – whether eaten whole or consumed in the form of fresh mangosteen juice – can provide tons of health benefits?
In this article, we take an in-depth look at the vast range of potential health benefits of mangosteen products, including their potential cancer-combating qualities, acne-fighting properties, and anti-wrinkle effects.
Antioxidant Value of the Mangosteen Fruit
Ounce for ounce, dried fruit contains much more antioxidants than its fresh counterpart simply because most of the original water content has been removed, and thus the nutrients and other components that remain are more concentrated. But in case of the mangosteen fruit, the dried powder has an added health benefit. You see, the mangosteen powder you find in health food stores and online shops, is usually made using the entire fruit, including its purple pericarp (the outer layer), which contains a range of xanthones such as mangostin. According to a study published in the Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan in 1994, the antioxidant properties of mangostin are even stronger than those of vitamin E.
Mangosteen Pericarp Has a Long History of Medicinal Use in Asia
In Southeast Asia, the pericarp of the mangosteen fruit has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It has been used to make healing fruit tea to treat everything from diarrhea, menstrual disorders, catarrh, and dysentery (an inflammatory disorder of the intestine) to gonorrhea, thrush, and urinary tract infections. An ointment made from the pericarp has also been used as a treatment for skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis, and wounds that have trouble healing.
Potential Anti-Cancer Effects of Xanthones in Mangosteen Powder
Early laboratory and animal studies suggest that the xanthones found in mangosteen powder that contains mangosteen pericarp and pulp may have anti-cancer effects. However, it is not known whether mangosteen powder would have the same beneficial effects in humans. Consequently, experts emphasize the need for further research before any health claims related to mangosteen's anti-cancer effects in humans can be made.
Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Acne Properties
In 2005, a group of researchers from Thailand published an interesting study on the antimicrobial effects of Thai medicinal plants against Propionibacterium acnes, the main acne-causing bacterium. This study, which was published in the October 2005 issue of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, showed that 13 of the tested medicinal plants could inhibit the growth of P. acnes. Along with three other exotic plants, the mangosteen fruit was shown to exert particularly strong inhibitory effects against P. acnes. These anti-acne effects were attributed to the presence of xanthones in mangosteen pericarp.
After the 2005 study revealing the potential health benefits of mangosteen powder for acne-prone skin, several other science projects have been conducted to further investigate the anti-microbial effects of mangosteen extracts. One study examined whether mangosteen pericarp extracts from some parts of Thailand had more anti-acneproperties than extracts derived from fruits grown in other parts of the country. Published in the January/February 2009 edition of the Songklanakarin Journal of Science and Technology, this study found that the mangosteens collected in the Southern provinces of the country had stronger anti-bacterial properties against P. acnes as well as higher levels of Α-mangostin.
In addition to fighting P. acnes, mangosteen powder has also been shown to fight Staphylococcus epidermidis (S. epidermidis). As pointed out in HealWithFood.org's in-depth article on the acne-fighting properties of manuka honey, the skin damage and inflammation caused by P. acnes can make your skin more susceptible to colonization by S. epidermidis. However, it is not yet clear whether S. epidermidis can actually make acne worse or whether its presence is just a harmless side effect.
Other Mangosteen Benefits for the Skin
In addition to its potential anti-acne effects, mangosteen may also offer other benefits for the skin by protecting the skin from the premature aging of the skin caused by the sun's UV rays. When your skin is exposed to the sun, it starts to produce metalloproteinases, enzymes that help your body repair sun-injured connective tissue. However, not all metalloproteinases are beneficial. Some of them break down collagen and elastin, which can eventually cause wrinkles. Free radicals, unstable molecules generated by things like air pollution and cigarette smoke, are known to boost the production of the harmful metalloproteinases.
The good news: Antioxidant-rich foods can neutralize free radicals, thereby reducing the production of the metalloproteinases that break down collagen and elastin. And when it comes to antioxidant-rich foods, mangosteens are right there on top of the list. According to Sunburst Superfoods – one of the most established online stores selling organic, non-GMO superfoods – the mangosteen fruit has an ORAC value of 1,780. The ORAC method, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity method, is a standardized technique used by scientists to measure the total antioxidant potency of foods, drinks, and supplements in an in-vitro setting. For the sake of comparison, the superfood kale has an ORAC rating of 1,770, and spinach has an ORAC value of 1,515. Dark-colored edible berries – such as the immune-boosting black elderberry – typically have even higher ORAC values.
Shopping TipCan't find dried mangosteen powder in the health food stores in your area? The online retailer Amazon has a wide range of mangosteen products available here ( for US customers) and here ( for UK customers).
Mangosteen Side effects, Plus Other Things Worth Noting
Although adverse effects and allergic reactions seem to be uncommon in people who have tried fresh mangosteens, mangosteen fruit powder, or mangosteen juice, the potential long-term toxicity and side effects of products containing mangosteen extracts (especially those containing the pericarp) have not been well researched. Furthermore, the vast majority of recent studies examining the potential health benefits of mangosteen fruits have been conducted in test tubes and animals, and thus further research is needed to determine mangosteen's health effects in humans.
Unless you're buying fresh mangosteens, you should also pay careful attention to the labels to be sure the product you intend to buy actually contains a significant amount of mangosteen. While mangosteen powder is typically 100% dried mangosteen, some juices that are marketed as mangosteen juice may contain significant amounts of other fruit juices as well.
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