The mangosteen is a tropical tree known scientifically as Garcinia mangostana. It probably originates from the Indonesian islands, although it now grows throughout Southeast Asia. Mangosteen trees have also been introduced to other tropical regions, including South America and India.
Mangosteen trees can grow to a height of 80 feet. The primary source of their commercial value is the fruit, which has a sweet, tangy flavor. The flesh is slightly fibrous, and the juice is contained in vesicles like citrus fruits. The exocarp, or rind, of the fruit becomes a deep purple or red when it is fully ripe.
The cultivation of mangosteen trees is thousands of years old. One of the earliest written references to mangosteen is from the 15th century, which describes mangosteen as having white flesh and a delectable taste. The Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus formally described this plant in 1753, and it was being artificially cultivated in England by 1855.
The exocarp of the mangosteen fruit is inedible, although it does have value as a health supplement. It contains various xanthonoids, which are natural phenols derived from xanthone. The most significant xanthonoid in the mangosteen tree is mangostin, which may have antioxidant properties. Animal studies show that mangostin may also depress the central nervous system.
The antioxidant activity of mangosteen extract is one of its most important uses in health supplements. It is also commonly used to support the digestive and immune system.
Mangosteen may have significant antioxidant activity, which supports cells from damage by free radicals. Oxidative stress can cause many types of chronic conditions, especially of the skin.
Mangosteen may support the normal function of the digestive system. It may also help to maintain a healthy weight.
Some research shows that mangosteen extract may help to maintain a healthy immune system, including the management of seasonal conditions.
A study of alpha-mangosteen shows that it may help manage a healthy balance of gut flora and ‘good’ bacteria in the intestines, especially for Gram-positive bacteria.
Chronic conditions are generally the most significant indication that you may need mangosteen extract, especially those that affect the skin, eyes and cardiovascular system. Other systemic signs that these supplements may help you include an unhealthy weight or a compromised immune system. Digestive problems such as intestinal infections and diarrhea can also mean that you may benefit from mangosteen. Additional signs that you may want to take mangosteen include urinary tract infections, menstrual cramps and joint discomfort.
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