(NaturalNews) A tropical fruit known as mangosteen is a potent immune booster and anti-inflammatory that also appears to have significant cancer-fighting powers, research has shown.
Mangosteen is a small, slow-growing tropical evergreen tree native to southeast Asia. The fruit has a long history of use in the region as a traditional medicine for the treatment of diarrhea, skin infections and wounds.
Numerous studies have established mangosteen's potent anti-inflammatory properties. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in Nutrition Journal in 2009, found that eight weeks of supplementation with the proprietary mangosteen juice blend XanGo Juice led to a significant decrease in inflammation markers among overweight and obese participants. These decreases were only seen among participants who drank 18 ounces of juice blend per day, however, and not among participants who took lower doses.
Another study, conducted by researchers from Tohoku University in Japan, found that the mangosteen chemical gamma-mangostin significantly reduces inflammation in the structural cells of the brain, suggesting that it might have therapeutic potential in preventing or treating inflammatory brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have also found that gamma-mangostin inhibits the activity of the inflammation promoting enzyme COX-2.
The power of xanthones
Many of the powerful healing attributes of mangosteen are attributed to its high concentrations of a naturally occurring group of chemicals known as xanthones. Xanthones are found in a variety of dark red fruits and rain forest plants, and are especially abundant in the rind of the mangosteen fruit. Likely by no coincidence, it is this very portion of the fruit that has most regularly been used in traditional South Asian medicine to treat infection.
According to research published in Free Radical Research, the Journal of Pharmacology, and the Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, xanthones are powerful natural antibiotics, antivirals, anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. At least one study suggested that this antioxidant effect helps prevent the heart from oxidative damage, thereby reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Mangosteen for your health
Perhaps in part due to their high concentrations of xanthones, mangosteen and its extracts have proven highly effective at inhibiting the growth of the infectious bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus, including the drug-resistant form of the latter known as Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Mangosteen seems especially effective against bacteria that infect the skin, and therefore has also shown promise as an acne treatment.
Mangosteen also appears to strengthen weakened immune systems. Perhaps due to its immune-regulating functions, it appears to function as an allergy-fighting antihistamine. Mangosteen has even shown tentative promise at inhibiting the activity of HIV-1 protease, which plays a critical role in HIV infection.
It also fights cancer
One particularly thriving area of mangosteen research concerns the fruit's apparent cancer-fighting abilities. Studies have suggested that mangosteen not only inhibits the proliferation of cancer cells, but also induces programmed cell death (apoptosis). The strength of these effects increases with the dosage of mangosteen used.
Specifically, Taiwanese researchers found that garcinone E, a mangosteen xanthone derivative, induces death in liver, lung, and gastric cancer cells. Another Taiwanese study found that mangosteen xanthones act as powerful anti-tumor agents.
A Japanese study into the xanthone alpha-mangostin concluded that this xanthone is also a promising cancer preventive and treatment, in part due to its ability to inhibit the growth of human leukemia cells. Another Japanese study, conducted by researchers from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, found that long-term exposure to alpha-mangostin appears to suppress tumor development.
These findings were also supported by research from Thailand, which found cancer-fighting benefits to extracts derived from mangosteen rinds.