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What are the Health Benefits of Mangosteen?

Cathy Rogers
Cathy Rogers

Mangosteen is a superfruit that contains a rich nutrient base along with the potential impact for lowering risk against various diseases. Long used in Southeast Asia for its health benefits, the tropical fruit is native to areas of Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

It is similar in size to a tangerine or mandarin orange, with a dark purple/reddish rind and white flesh. Like other tropical fruits, it is multi-segmented. The taste of the fruit is sweet, similar to a plum.

Whole and cut mangosteen.
Whole and cut mangosteen.

However, instead of peeling the fruit like a tangerine, you should twist or press the fruit until it breaks apart. Uses of the fruit in folk medicine include cures from skin disorders to dysentery. The rind is also used for several health conditions including diarrhea, bladder infections, gonorrhea and skin rashes. It is thought to have cooling properties, or yin.


A unique fact about mangosteens is that each contains a type of scar at one end, representative of the flower. Not only will this scar indicate how many segments the fruit contains, but also indicates the amount of seeds. Those with the most segments have fewer seeds.

Because the rind of mangosteen contains various compounds, it is considered to be an antioxidant. In laboratory studies, the fruit has been fount to contain xanthones, which, when studied in test tubes, have anti-cancer effects. Other health benefits may include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties in test tube studies. However, there is no proof that these xanthones have the same effect when taken orally as when tested in a laboratory setting.

The potential side effects include the possibility that it may interfere with normal blood-clotting. It’s also possible that higher does of xanthones may cause sedation, especially when combined with other herbs or medication.

Unripe fruit growing on a mangosteen tree.
Unripe fruit growing on a mangosteen tree.

Because mangosteens have not been allowed to be imported legally into North America, except for Canada and Hawaii, the sale of mangosteen in the U.S. is restricted to juices which contain the fruit’s extract. The ban was due to the possibility of fruit fly infiltration. However, as of 2007, the United States Food and Drug Administration lifted the ban to allow imports of irradiated mangosteens.

When choosing a mangosteen, look for those that are dark purple or reddish purple, but not blue or black in color. Once purchased, store the fruit at room temperature and eat within a few days. Do not freeze the fruit.

Discussion Comments


Good site with lot of info. I have loved Mangosteen fram a young age. It is available only rarely where I live in Thrissur, Kerala, South India.

So seven years back, I decided to start a Mangosteen farm and planted more than 1,000 plants.

Last year, only a few plants had fruits. This year more than 300 plants had fruit and I will be able to sell them this year.


People didn't get the point. It is not the juice but the rind which can help you. I have taken mangosteen rind for more than a year and what really surprises me I haven't got a cold or flu this year. I used to have a cold few times a year. My age is 73 years. I am hooked on this mangosteen rind.


@cloudel – I believe that the scam involved companies trying to exaggerate mangosteen's benefits and selling the juice as a cure for cancer, among other things. While the juice was still beneficial, the companies made a lot of money promoting unfounded hopes that it would cure fatal illnesses.

Since research could not prove this, it wasn't honest for them to market mangosteen products in this way. I'm sure that the people who bought it did see some sort of health benefits, but I do not believe that their cancer got cured as a result of drinking it.

These companies would charge high prices for the juice. So, they made a profit off of people with cancer who were grasping at straws.


Wasn't there some sort of mangosteen scam going around at one time? What was that all about?


@OeKc05 – I tried a mangosteen while I was on vacation overseas, and it really has an indescribable flavor. I tried to get someone there to tell me what it tasted like before trying it, but they said it was just something I would have to experience.

It definitely has a tropical flavor, and it's something I would expect in paradise. In other words, yes, you will enjoy eating it. However, once you have tried it, you may find yourself experiencing mangosteen cravings, so be sure that you will have access to more.


Can anyone tell me what a mangosteen tastes like? Usually, something with that many health benefits tastes a little bitter or sour. Is it something you actually enjoy eating, or do you just grin and bear it for the nutrition?


@lovelife-- The mangosteen and acai berry are different fruits. They have similar benefits and are both being researched at the Mayo clinic and Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I think a great way to incorporate the benefits would be to mix the acai berry with mangosteen for the best of both fruits. Sounds yummy to me!


Can anyone tell me if there is a difference between the mangosteen fruit and the acai friut? I have read conflicting reports. I would like to include it in my diet, but want to make sure which one is best.


@anon17597--There have been many reports of pregnant women drinking mangosteen juice with no side effects. However, as with any dietary changes you should not start taking this during pregnancy without consulting your doctor.


is this safe to drink if you're pregnant?

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    • Whole and cut mangosteen.
      Whole and cut mangosteen.
    • Mangosteens.
    • Unripe fruit growing on a mangosteen tree.
      Unripe fruit growing on a mangosteen tree.
    • The sale of mangosteen in the United States is restricted to juices.
      By: tashka2000
      The sale of mangosteen in the United States is restricted to juices.
    • Mangosteen has been used to treat gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.
      By: Ivan Montero
      Mangosteen has been used to treat gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.
    • Higher doses of xanthones may cause sedation.
      By: Eléonore H
      Higher doses of xanthones may cause sedation.