The Southeast Asian fruit, the mangosteen (pronounced "mang-oh-steen") has been prized for its healing properties and delectable flavor for centuries--but is illegal to import as a fresh fruit in the United States.
The pericarp, or rind, is where most of the powerful antioxidants and nutrients are found. While the rind is bitter, the fruit is sweet and tart.
Ancient societies from China to India would boil the rind and drink it to treat ailments from arthritis to cancer.
Today, to make the fruit easy to use and better tasting, the rind and the fruit or pulp are mixed together with other fruit juices to form a delicious drink, so health seekers can get the benefit of the rind in an easily absorbable form.
Currently the mangosteen fruit is not USDA approved for importation in its fresh form so it's illegal to sell or buy--yet it's coveted the world over for its dramatic healing properties.
NOTE: As the fruit is not a drug it does not get assessed or approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). It is available--and legal--in dried and in juice form, but your body can't assimilate the dried form either in capsules or in powder, so the juice is the effective way to go.
The nutritional elements in the fruit aren't harmed by freezing so you can get the full efficacy as it's highly absorbable as liquid.
138 healing properties have been identified in mangosteen, also known by its Latin name, Garcinia Mangostana L., that have successfully treated an array of diseases for centuries.
Xanthones, an antioxidant more powerful than any vitamin-5 times more powerful than vitamins C and E, have won praise from numerous research specialists for their medical potential.
While virtually unheard of in the United States and Europe, mangosteen has been used for thousands of years in Chinese, Ayurvedic, and folk medicine throughout Asia.
The mangosteen originated deep in the tropical rain forests of Southeast Asia in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand, and also in areas of South America and Puerto Rico.
Today, the pulp, its dried rind, leaves, and bark are used throughout Asia and India in a variety of products ranging from ointments to poultices.
It can be applied externally as well as taken internally. (One friend's daughter used it for acne, another for scrapes and cuts.
Another friend applies it to cancerous growths on his face). There are no findings to indicate that drinking too much juice has any negative effects, since it's all natural and there are no known side-effects.
Mangosteen is similar to other exotic fruits in that it has been traditionally used as a health supplement. But the benefits of the mangosteen fruit also help control pain, reduce fever, increase energy and stave off bacterial and viral infections as well as to help protect against disease.
Mangosteen is used to treat skin disorders, eczema, diabetes, diarrhea, urinary disorders, joint pain, obesity and more.
In the United States and Europe, mangosteen is thought to alleviate everything from depression to Parkinson's (it is believed that the actor Michael J. Fox has benefited from it), cancer to heart disease.
Currently, several leading drug companies are experimenting with extracting and isolating certain Xanthones believed to treat cancer so they can turn them into patented synthetic drugs. It's not known at this point whether it is possible, as its thought that it's the combination of these powerful Xanthones working together that create such dramatic healing effects.
While the list of mangosteen benefits is extensive, many people drink it just for its delicious taste.
Descriptions of what the mangosteen fruit tastes like vary.
Perhaps the most enticing and racy description is by New York Times' food critic R.W. "Johnny" Apple who says it's "moist, fragrant, snow-white segments of ambrosial flesh tasting, so delicate that it melts in the mouth like ice cream."
Gourmet magazine's David Karp, only slightly less prosaic says, it's "exquisite sweet-tart."
As I drink the juice daily, I'd call it both full-bodied (like a fine wine) with hints of sweet and tart raspberry flavor.
The juice I drink has no added sugars, but is blended with other fruit juices so the nutrients of the rind are preserved without sacrificing flavor for health.
It's the only juice that includes all of the rind, the pulp and the entire fruit so as to harvest the full healing benefits.