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Deep in the heart of Southeast Asia, there grows a fruit so delicious, that it is called the Queen of Fruits. This fruit is the national fruit of Thailand and is called Mangosteen or Garcinia mangostana in the scientific world. Even though it has a similar sounding name, it is not related to the mango. Mangosteen has been used for its therapeutic properties in traditional medicines of China, Thailand, the Philippines, India and many other Asian countries for hundreds of years. There are traditional Chinese medicine records describing its use since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) and other writings from Southeast Asia as early as 600 A.D.

Until recently we have not heard about Mangosteen in America due to the fresh fruit not being imported because of an insect that could accompany it and affect some of our fruit crops. Fortunately the world’s leading functional beverage company has been able to make a proprietary drink with the whole fruit puree in it. The importance of the whole fruit puree is that the bioactive substances of mangosteen are primarily in the rind, called the pericarp of the fruit. Research is showing that extract versions of the fruit do not have as much or all of the health related properties. There are many botanicals (plants) in the world that have medicinal and health related benefits, but the Mangosteen is proving to have a much wider array of health related substances than any other botanical source discovered so far.

If someone was to ask me “If you could only use one nutritional supplement, what would it be?” Well, based on my personal experience using it, the feedback from patients and the extensive research data that I have seen, then my response, without a doubt, would have to be the top of the line Mangosteen whole fruit liquid. For me, this substance has reduced the inflammation and improved the recovery time from my training for International and World Martial Arts championships. I have put it through the test by putting in three 20-hour days of work, traveling and attending doctors’ educational seminars on 3 to 5 hours sleep and have experienced good energy and pretty good mental capacity. This was a very noticeable difference from when I have had to go through that kind of physical and mental challenge previously without the Mangosteen. I have observed people with chronic pains; allergies and digestive system complaints noticeably improve with using Mangosteen.

At this point, an important concept to understand will need to be explained, and that’s antioxidant. An antioxidant is a substance that helps lessen the damage that oxygen can create when it is used in chemical reactions and / or to help neutralize free radicals in the body. Simply put, a free radical is an atom, a molecule or a chemical that enters our body or is created within our body and it lacks an electron (a negative electrically charged particle that goes around the center of an atom). Because it is lacking an electron it is not chemically stable and therefore, the word radical. A free radical will steal an electron from parts of your body’s cells and when this happens often enough, damage to the area occurs. Imagine a brick wall that we start pulling bricks from. Well, eventually the wall will buckle or distort. This is sort of what can happen on a microscopic level in the body. But remember that when enough of this occurs significant damage can accumulate. A free radical can also cause changes to such things in our body as cholesterol and set up an inflammation in the arteries in the heart or brain. Radiation along with the pollution in our food, water, air and from pharmaceuticals can create a free radical overload to areas of our body. If not neutralized, free radicals can cause DNA and cellular damage. A number of chronic diseases, including arteriosclerosis (hardening of arteries), heart disease, cancer, diabetes, dementia (a form of diminished mental / intellectual abilities), forms of lung disease and accelerated aging, have been associated with free radical damage.

Antioxidants are substances that have the ability to give an electron to a free radical and make it stable, but without damaging itself. A new class of antioxidant called xanthones is the most important of these natural chemicals found in abundance in Mangosteen. Because the first xanthone that was isolated appeared yellow, the German scientist, Schmidt, named it after “xanthos”, the Greek word for yellow. Thus the name for all the chemicals found in this class. Of these, 46 xanthones have been discovered so far in mangosteen and they are believed to cause the majority of the beneficial effects of this fruit. If one were to go to the National Library of Medicine’s website, www.pubmed.gov , you should find at least 1500 independent medical research articles on xanthones and at least 41 on mangosteen. Dr. James W. Duke has one of the world’s largest botanical databases and it lists at least 202 health benefits associated with xanthones. Research is showing that Mangosteen has the greatest number and highest concentration of xanthones than any other plant

So what do these xanthones have to do with you and me? These unique substances have various benefits within the human body. Laboratory and clinical research along with consumer and physician reports are showing that Mangosteen and its related xanthones are helping to create powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, antihistamine, immune modulation (balance), stimulation of red blood cell production (don’t use Mangosteen if you have too many red blood cells), gastrointestinal normalization and vasorelaxation (expansion of blood vessel) effects. We usually do not encounter a substance whether from nature or developed in a laboratory that can do so many things in our body, but due to the extensive variety of phyto-chemicals present in the Mangosteen, this probably accounts for the wide range of benefits that have been and continue to be reported. In addition to the wide number of xanthones, Mangosteen also contains the health related ingredients of aloe vera, green tea and grape seeds / skins and in higher concentrations and potencies than these other plants.

The next factor to understand is inflammation. This is a process of cellular and chemical reactions that take place in blood vessels and adjacent tissues in response to an abnormal stimulation or injury caused by chemical, physical, free radical and / or biological substances. When properly controlled, it will help the body with healing a wound, however, when this process continues too long it causes harm to the tissues or the system involved. Inflammation can cause chronic pain or it can be silent, producing harm quietly deep inside our bodies. The silent versions can be associated with the likes of diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis and conditions leading up to some forms of dementia or stroke. The not so quiet disorders connected with inflammation are arthritis, neuralgia (nerve pain) such as, sciatica (nerve pain down the back of the leg), allergies, irritable bowel and ulcers, just to name a few. Chronic bronchitis, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are also associated with chronic inflammation.

Claudio Franceschi, the Scientific Director at the Italian National Research Center for Aging stated, “Inflammation is probably the background and driving force behind all major age-related disease.”

Everyone has a unique body chemistry and potentially may respond differently to medicines, foods and nutritional supplements, therefore, this article is not meant to imply that Mangosteen is a cure for anything, but it is to provide educational data about the possible benefits of it as a food. If you are interested in trying Mangosteen to assist the body in functioning more optimally, then I recommend that you do a 90-day trial of it. Potency tests show that, at this time, there is only one Mangosteen product that has the most (over 40) xanthones and related antioxidants. So just make sure that you use a true whole fruit puree that is organic and tested regularly for the potency of all of the xanthones and other previously mentioned health related phyto-chemicals that are suppose to be in it and it is not simply an extract version. Also, beware of products that are inferior quality and just add an extra of one xanthone and promote that they have more of that xanthone. Yes, they may have more of that one, but less of all the other additional and important ones. A whole fruit puree has the broad spectrum of all the beneficial xanthones and other antioxidants that work synergistically. Don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to long term health and quality of your life.

Dr. Alf Garbutt is an internationally known author, lecturer, USA martial arts team doctor and chiropractor with advanced certification in clinical nutrition, neuromuscular rehabilitation, sports medicine and pain management. www.4your-wellness.com


Copyright © 2002 Alfred W. Garbutt, III, D.C., Inc.