Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana)

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Complementary Therapies, Herbs, and Other OTC Agents

ALSO KNOWN AS: Queen of fruits, mang cut, sementah, san zhu.

BACKGROUND:Mangosteen is an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asian countries, including India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Its reddish to dark purple fruit, with white juicy edible pulp, is considered one of the best tasting tropical fruits. Mangosteen has a long history of medicinal use to treat skin infections, wounds, and dysentery; in ayurveda, it is used for inflammation, diarrhea, and cholera.

Mangosteen has gained worldwide popularity in recent years and is available on the Internet and in health food stores. The most popular form is a juice, typically sold in a blend that also includes pear, apple, and blueberry juices. Mangosteen is available in tablet and capsule forms as well and is an ingredient in some anti-wrinkle creams.

Despite lack of supportive evidence in humans, mangosteen products are aggressively promoted to treat cancer. Patients should consult their physician before using such products.

RESEARCH: Mangosteen contains compounds known as xanthones that exhibit antibacterial,[1] antifungal,[2] anti-inflammatory,[3] anticancer,[4,5] and aromatase-inhibitory[6] properties in vitro and in animal studies. They also show protective effects against cisplatin(Drug information on cisplatin)-induced nephrotoxocity[7] and neurotoxicity caused by doxorubicin(Drug information on doxorubicin),[8] inhibit HIV-1 protease,[9] and block histamine and serotonin receptors.[10] An extract from the pericarp of mangosteen demonstrated antioxidant[11] and anticancer effects.[12] Small studies in humans suggest that the extract has benefits as an adjunct to periodontal treatment[13] and for control of halitosis.[14] Clinical trials are needed to determine the health benefits and anticancer potential of mangosteen.

ADVERSE REACTIONS: Long term use of mangosteen juice has been associated with lactic acidosis.[15]

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Diabetic patients should use mangosteen juice with caution due to its sugar content.


Mangosteen products have antioxidant effects[13] and may interfere with the action of some chemotherapy agents and with radiotherapy.


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