Nutritional science is notoriously tricky. After decades of research and experiments, scientists across the world still have not wrapped up the debate over the perfect diet and effective weight loss strategies. Which is why comprehensive proof about the health benefits of a particular fruit is a refreshing change of pace.
In a recent study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology journal, researchers from Mexico took a close look at a tropical plant known as Mangosteen. It sees communities in Southeast Asia have been using extracts from the plant to treat medical ailments for millennia. Closer inspection revealed surprised results that led the researchers to label Mangosteen “the Queen of Fruits.” Here's what they found:
Mangosteen is a plant native to Southeast Asia. It only grows in parts of India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Communities across this region have been using extracts from the Garcinia Mangostana Linn. (GML) plant for centuries. There are references of its use in ancient Ayurvedic texts from India.
What makes Mangosteen popular is not just its health benefits. Dark purple Mangosteen is widely considered one of the most delicious organic fruits in the region. People consume the fruit regularly, usually as mangosteen juice, and process the pericarp (peel, rind, hull or ripe) to create a range of traditional medicines. Mangosteen juice or medicine created from this extract is believed to cure everything from abdominal pain to infected wounds.
Mangosteen's benefits have been recorded and known for centuries, however, researchers have been studying the plant closely only over the past few decades. Experiments have revealed that Mangosteen juice indeed displays antioxidant, antitumoral, antiallergic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
Mangosteen juice is a source of substantial xanthones. These xanthones give the fruit juice its health benefits. Xanthones were first isolated by German scientists in 1855, who discovered the substance's impact on people suffering from dysentery. Since then, studies have established similarly positive effects on people suffering from chronic infections, cholera, tuberculosis, eczema, and abdominal pain. There is also evidence to suggest regular consumption could cut the risk of certain forms of cancer and heart disease.
These scientific conclusions offer support for the use of Mangosteen as medicine. The fruit is quickly gaining traction in other parts of the world and consumers in developed countries are gaining access to mangosteen for the first time in the form of commercially available juice. The growing popularity of mangosteen is part of a global trend towards organic remedies and healthier food choices.
It's rare that an exotic and delicious fruit has so many proven health benefits. The claims around traditional medicine often seem to be hyperbolic or anecdotal. Many of these traditional herbs and fruit extracts have not been closely studied by the scientific community.