Mangosteen

MangosteenImage by Rigmarole via Flickr

Botanical Name : Garcinia mangostanaKingdom: Plantae
Family: Clusiaceae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Garcinia
Species: G. mangostana
Alternate names: Garcinia mangostana L., mangostan, manggis, mangis, mang cut
Brand Names: XanGo, Thai-Go, Mangosteen Plus, Mango-xan
Habitat: originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas.Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that is grown primarily in hot, humid climates of southeast Asia such as Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

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Description:
Mangostina is a tropical evergreen tree,
The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20-80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture. Mangosteen is closely related to other edible tropical fruits such as button mangosteen and lemondrop mangosteen. Botanically, it bears no relation to the mango.

Maturation of the exocarp and edible aril:
The juvenile mangosteen fruit, which does not require fertilization to form , first appears as pale green or almost white in the shade of the canopy. As the fruit enlarges over the next two to three months, the exocarp color deepens to darker green. During this period, the fruit increases in size until its exocarp is 6–8 centimeters in outside diameter, remaining hard until a final, abrupt ripening stage.

The subsurface chemistry of the mangosteen exocarp comprises an array of polyphenolic acids including xanthones and tannins that assure astringency to discourage infestation by insects, fungi, plant viruses, bacteria and animal predation while the fruit is immature. Color changes and softening of the exocarp are natural processes of ripening that indicates the fruit can be eaten and the seeds are finished developing.

Mangosteen produces a recalcitrant seed and must be kept moist to remain viable until germination. Mangosteen seeds are nucellar in origin and not the result of fertilization; they germinate as soon as they are removed from the fruit and die quickly if allowed to dry.

Once the developing mangosteen fruit has stopped expanding, chlorophyll synthesis slows as the next color phase begins. Initially streaked with red, the exocarp pigmentation transitions from green to red to dark purple, indicating a final ripening stage. This entire process takes place over a period of ten days as the edible quality of the fruit peaks.

The edible endocarp of the mangosteen is botanically defined as an aril with the same shape and size as a tangerine 4–6 centimeters in diameter, but is white. The circle of wedge-shaped arils contains 4–8 segments, the larger ones harboring apomictic seeds that are unpalatable unless roasted.

Often described as a subtle delicacy, the arils bear an exceptionally mild aroma, quantitatively having about 400 times fewer chemical constituents than fragrant fruits, explaining its relative mildness. Main volatile components having caramel, grass and butter notes as part of the mangosteen fragrance are hexyl acetate, hexenol and ?-copaene.

On the bottom of the exocarp, raised ridges (remnants of the stigma), arranged like spokes of a wheel, correspond to the number of aril sections. Mangosteens reach fruit-bearing in as little as 5–6 years, but more typically require 8–10 years

Nutrient content and antioxidant strength:
Mangosteen is typically advertised and marketed as part of an emerging category of novel functional foods sometimes called “superfruits” presumed to have a combination of 1) appealing subjective characteristics, such as taste, fragrance and visual qualities, 2) nutrient richness, 3) antioxidant strength and 4) potential impact for lowering risk against human diseases. Among six exotic fruits, the unpigmented, white fruit of the mangosteen was ranked lowest overall for these qualities.

The aril is the flavorful part of the fruit but, when analyzed specifically for its nutrient content, the mangosteen aril only meets the first criterion above, as its overall nutrient profile is absent of important content, it contains no pigmentation (correspondingly, no antioxidant phytochemicals in significant concentration) and there is no scientific evidence of aril constituents having any health properties.

Some mangosteen juice products contain whole fruit purée or polyphenols extracted from the inedible exocarp (rind) as a formulation strategy to add phytochemical value. The resulting juice has purple color and astringency derived from exocarp pigments, including xanthones under study for potential anti-disease effects. However, as xanthone research is at an early stage of basic laboratory research and only preliminary evidence has been found for anti-disease activity, no conclusions about possible health benefits for humans are warranted presently.

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Furthermore, a possible adverse effect may occur from chronic consumption of mangosteen juice containing xanthones. A 2008 medical case report described a patient with severe acidosis possibly attributable to a year of daily use (to lose weight, dose not described) of mangosteen juice infused with xanthones. The authors proposed that chronic exposure to alpha-mangostin, a xanthone, could be toxic to mitochondrial function, leading to impairment of cellular respiration and production of lactic acidosis.

Uses:
People eat mangosteen as they would any other tropical fruit.

In southeast Asia, the rind—or pericarp—has been used for medicinal purposes for generations. According to folklore, the rind was used to make a tea for conditions such as diarrhea, bladder infections, and gonorrhea. An ointment made from the rind was applied to skin rashes.

Today, the rind has been found to contain the compounds alpha-mangostin, beta-mangostin, garcinone B, and garcinone E, which are collectively called xanthones.

Laboratory studies suggest xanthones have anti-cancer effects when they are studied in test tubes. Mangosteen has also been found to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties in test tube studies.

The excitement about mangosteen beverages may be premature. There are no clinical trials showing that oral mangosteen extracts have any benefit in humans. What happens in a test tube may not occur when mangosteen is taken orally.

Although the “superfruit” properties are often attributed to the xanthone content, some of mangosteen’s medicinal properties may be attributed to compounds called tannins in the rind. Tannins have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and astringent properties, and are used for such conditions as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and skin conditions.

Tannins are ubiquitous in the plant world and are found in common, less expensive foods such as black tea, green tea, cranberries.

We also don’t know about the side effects of mangosteen and whether mangosteen extracts will interact with certain medications. This is a concern because of research on the xanthones in other plants.

Medicinal Uses: Dried fruits are shipped from Singapore to Calcutta and to China for medicinal use. The sliced and dried rind is powdered and administered to overcome dysentery. Made into an ointment, it is applied on eczema and other skin disorders. The rind decoction is taken to relieve diarrhea and cystitis, gonorrhea and gleet and is applied externally as an astringent lotion. A portion of the rind is steeped in water overnight and the infusion given as a remedy for chronic diarrhea in adults and children. Filipinos employ a decoction of the leaves and bark as a febrifuge and to treat thrush, diarrhea, dysentery and urinary disorders. In Malaya, an infusion of the leaves, combined with unripe banana and a little benzoin is applied to the wound of circumcision. A root decoction is taken to regulate menstruation. A bark extract called “amibiasine”, has been marketed for the treatment of amoebic dysentery.

The rind of partially ripe fruits yields a polyhydroxy-xanthone derivative termed mangostin, also ß-mangostin. That of fully ripe fruits contains the xanthones, gartanin, 8-disoxygartanin, and normangostin. A derivative of mangostin, mangostin-e, 6-di-O-glucoside, is a central nervous system depressant and causes a rise in blood pressure.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangosteen
http://altmedicine.about.com/od/completeazindex/a/mangosteen1.htm
http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mangosteen.html

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3 thoughts on “Mangosteen”

  1. It is good that there are a lot of posts like this one here displays detailed information about mangosteen. The more the people are aware of the fruit, the more they will indulge with it.

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