The Purple Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), colloquially known simply as "the mangosteen", is a tropical evergreen tree believed to have originated in the Sunda Islands and the Moluccas of Indonesia. The tree grows from 7 to 25 m (20–80 ft) tall. The rind (exocarp) of the edible fruit is deep reddish purple when ripe. Botanically an aril, the fragrant edible flesh can be described as sweet and tangy, citrusy with peach flavor and texture. The purple mangosteen belongs to the same genus as the other, less widely known, mangosteens, such as the button mangosteen (G. prainiana) or the Garcinia madruno (G. madruno).
Mangosteen, despite its name, is not related to mango - another well-known and loved tropical fruit. Mangosteen is native to the most tropical countries of Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia. It has been called the “Queen of Fruits” by many.
The edible endocarp of the mangosteen is botanically defined as an aril with the same shape and size as a tangerine 4–6 centimeters in diameter, but is white. The circle of wedge-shaped arils contains 4–8 segments, the larger ones harboring apomictic seeds that are unpalatable unless roasted.
Often described as a subtle delicacy, the arils bear an exceptionally mild aroma, quantitatively having about 400 times fewer chemical constituents than fragrant fruits, explaining its relative mildness. Main volatile components having caramel, grass and butter notes as part of the mangosteen fragrance are hexyl acetate, hexenol and α-copaene.
On the bottom of the exocarp, raised ridges (remnants of the stigma), arranged like spokes of a wheel, correspond to the number of aril sections. Mangosteens reach fruit-bearing in as little as 5–6 years, but more typically require 8–10 years. An ultra-tropical tree, the mangosteen must be grown in consistently warm conditions, as exposure to temperatures below 0°C (32°F) for prolonged periods will generally kill a mature plant. They are known to recover from brief cold spells rather well, often with damage only to young growth. Experienced horticulturists have grown this species outdoors, and brought them to fruit in extreme Southern Florida.
Due to ongoing restrictions on imports, mangosteen is not readily available in certain countries. Although available in Australia, for example, they are still rare in the produce sections of grocery stores in North America and Europe. Following export from its natural growing regions in Southeast Asia, the fresh fruit may be available seasonally in some local markets like those of Chinatowns.
Mangosteen and its related products, such as juices and nutritional supplements, are legally imported into the United States, which had an import ban until 2007. Mangosteens are readily available canned and frozen in Western countries.
Since 2006, private small volume orders for fruits grown on Puerto Rico were sold to American gourmet restaurants who serve the aril pieces as a delicacy dessert. Beginning in 2007 for the first time, fresh mangosteens were sold from specialty produce stores in New York City with high prices, but, during 2009-10, wider availability and lower prices have become common in the United States and Canada.
Before ripening, the mangosteen shell is fibrous and firm, but becomes soft and easy to pry open when the fruit ripens. To open a mangosteen, the shell is usually scored first with a knife; one holds the fruit in both hands, prying gently along the score with the thumbs until the rind cracks. It is then easy to pull the halves apart along the crack and remove the fruit. Rarely in ripe fruits, the purple exocarp juice may stain skin or fabric.
Nutrient and phytochemical content
The aril is the flavorful part of the fruit but, when analyzed specifically for its nutrient content, the mangosteen aril only meets the first criterion above, as its overall nutrient profile is absent of important content.
Some mangosteen juice products contain whole fruit purée or polyphenols extracted from the inedible exocarp (rind) as a formulation strategy to add phytochemical value. The resulting juice has purple color and astringency derived from exocarp pigments, including xanthones under study for potential anti-disease effects. The potential health benefits of xanthones were debated in a four-part series in 2009. Other authors proposed that alpha-mangostin, a xanthone, could stimulate apoptosis in leukemia cells in vitro.
Furthermore, a possible adverse effect may occur from chronic consumption of mangosteen juice containing xanthones. A 2008 medical case report described a patient with severe acidosis possibly attributable to a year of daily use (to lose weight, dose not described) of mangosteen juice infused with tannins.
Also known as the queen fruit, Mangosteen contains xanthones, an incredibly potent antioxidant with many incredible health benefits ranging from immune system protection to positive mental support. The Mangosteen fruit contains the incredibly potent antioxidant power of xanthones. It is common knowledge that Vitamin C andVitamin Econtain antioxidants, many individuals do not know that is that Xanthones are a natural chemical substance within the mangosteen fruit. Xanthones have even won praise from numerous researcher specialist for their medical potential.
Mangosteen has been used traditionally for centuries in Southeast Asia in some of their medicinal practices relating to headaches, pain and swelling, fever, and various other issues. For centuries, mangosteen has also been used by some countries for its potential anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic support.