Scientific Name(s): Garcinia mangostana Family: Guttiferae

Common Name(s): Mangosteen , mangostan , “queen of the tropical fruits.”


Mangosteen possesses possible antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antihistamine properties, but clinical trials data are lacking.


Mangosteen is available in capsule, tablet, beverage, and cream forms. The typical dose is 500 mg by mouth twice a day. The beverages are dosed as 30 mL per day.


Avoid use with coexisting hypersensitivity.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

One case report documents a 58-year-old man ingesting mangosteen juice daily for 12 months as a dietary supplement who developed severe lactic acidosis.


No toxicity studies have been reported in humans.


The genus Garcinia comprises nearly 400 species of evergreen trees and shrubs. Mangosteen is a slow-growing and shallow-rooted evergreen tree reaching up to 25 m in height. The leaves are thick and leathery, while the flowers are fleshy and 4 to 5 cm in diameter. The flowers are often green on the outside and yellow to red on the inside, with 4 sepals and 4 petals. Many of the species of the Guittiferae family bear edible fruit; however, mangosteen is the most valued tropical fruit. 1 , 2 , 3

The fruit is round, 2.5 to 7.5 cm in diameter, and weighs about 75 to 150 g. The rind is smooth and 0.6 to 1 cm thick. The exterior is pale green when immature and dark purple when fully ripe. The inner pulp contains 4 to 8 juicy white segments that are sweet and faintly aromatic. The fruits may or may not contain seeds. 1 , 2 , 3

Mangosteen is thought to be native to Southeast Asia or Indonesia and remains largely indigenous to the Malay Peninsula, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and the Moluccas. During the past 2 centuries, mangosteen has been cultivated in tropical areas such as India, Honduras, Brazil, and Australia. The species thrives in warm and humid or tropical climates and has a narrow range of adaptability. 1 , 2 , 3

Mangosteen species are of economic and commercial interest, with tremendous demand for the fruit in domestic and export markets. Thailand is responsible for approximately 85% of the total production of 150,000 tons per year. Malaysia and Indonesia are also major commercial producing countries. In the United States alone, mangosteen juice sales for 2007 were estimated at $98 million. Depending on the growth cycle, a single tree may produce 500 to 800 fruits in one year. Other commercial uses include landscape material (the crown) and natural dye for cotton and silk yarn. 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5


The rind, leaves, fruit, and bark of mangosteen have been used in folk medicine for thousands of years. The rind has been used medicinally to treat thick mucus, cystitis, diarrhea, dysentery, fever, as well as intestinal and skin ailments, such as eczema and pruritus. 2 , 3 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10

The leaves are used in traditional medicine in teas for treating diarrhea, dysentery, fever, and thrush. 2 , 3

Concentrates of mangosteen bark have been used medicinally to treat genitourinary disorders, including gonorrhea and stomatosis. 2 , 3 , 10


Numerous studies 9 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 have found high concentrations of xanthones, a class of polyphenolic compounds, in mangosteen. Xanthones have antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, antiplatelet aggregation, antithrombotic, and vasorelaxant activities, prevent oxidative damage of low-density lipoprotein, histamine, and serotonin receptor blocker activity, and inhibit HIV. 9 The xanthones and tannins of the mangosteen pericarp protect against insects, fungi, plant viruses, bacteria, and animals while the fruit is still immature. Of the 200 known xanthones, nearly 50 are found in mangosteen. 2 The major xanthones are alpha-mangostin, beta-mangostin, gamma-mangostin, and methoxy-beta-mangostin, 2 and the most abundant is alpha-mangostin. 3 , 9 Calcium, phosphorus, iron, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid are found in mangosteen.

Uses and Pharmacology

In vitro data

The phenolic compounds from the hull of mangosteen have strong antioxidant activity in 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical scavenging activity assays. 10 One study documents neuroprotective activity of extracts of the fruit hull. 15 Similar studies document the antioxidant and ferric-reducing activity of mangosteen compared with various fruits. 16 , 17

Animal data

A study in rats fed high cholesterol diets notes the positive effects on plasma lipid levels and plasma antioxidant activity for mangosteen. 18

Clinical data

A 60-day study with 20 healthy women found improvement of age-related changes in skin smoothness with cream containing 3 antioxidants, including mangosteen, compared with placebo cream. 19

In vitro data

Several studies found potent inhibitory activity on both histamine release and prostaglandin E 2 synthesis by mangosteen fruit extract. The xanthones alpha-mangostin and gamma-mangostin are histaminergic and serotonergic receptor blocking agents. 20 , 21 Alpha-mangostin is a selective and competitive H 1 receptor antagonist, while gamma-mangostin is a selective and competitive 5-HT 2A receptor antagonist. 22 , 23 Alpha-, beta-, and gamma-mangostin suppressed the upstream degranulation (release of allergic mediators) process in rat basophilic leukemia cells. 24

In vitro data

The xanthone, gamma-mangostin, potently inhibited prostaglandin E 2 (PGE 2 ) release and competitively inhibited the activities of both COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes in C6 rat glioma cells. These enzymes are major mediators in regulating inflammation. 25 Gamma-mangostin also inhibited IkappaB kinase activity associated with expression of the COX-2 enzyme. 26 In addition, alpha-mangosteen has potent inhibitory activity against prostaglandin PGE 2 release. 27 Alpha- and gamma-mangostins both inhibited nitrite production of lipopolysaccharide activated macrophage cells. 28

In vitro data

Alpha-mangostin, mangostanol, and garcinone D extracts from the stem and root bark of G. mangostana were cytotoxic against the CEM-SS cell line. 29 , 30

The efficacy and potency of garcinone E, a xanthone from mangosteen, was compared with 6 chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat 4 hepatoma cell lines. Garcinone E is equal to or more potent than mitoxantrone in cytotoxicity against the hepatoma cell lines and may be more effective than methothrexate, vincristine, 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), and cisplatin. 31

Six xanthones were extracted from the pericarps of mangosteen and examined for cell growth inhibition of the human leukemia cell line HL60. All xanthones had documented growth inhibitory effects, but alpha-mangostin showed the most potent inhibitory activity. 32 The mechanism of action is associated with alpha-mangostin activating caspase-9 and -3 but not -8, and mediating the mitochondrial pathway in the apoptosis. 33 , 34

Alpha-mangostin induced growth inhibition in DLD-1 human colon cancer cells with potency similar to 5-FU. The mechanism of action of xanthones from mangosteen is associated with cell-cycle arrest by affecting expression of cyclins, cdc2, and p27; G1 cell cycle arrest by alpha-mangostin and beta-mangostin, and S cycle arrest by gamma-mangostin. Alpha-mangostin also induces apoptosis that is mediated by the intrinsic pathway through mitochondria and modulates growth-related signal transduction pathways. 2 Another study noted a synergistic growth reduction in human colon cancer DLD-1 cells with combined treatment of alpha-mangostin and 5-FU. 35

In one study, an extract from the pericarp of mangosteen inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells through apoptosis. 36 In another experiment, alpha-mangostin exhibited the most potent effects among the isolates studied. 37

Animal data

A rat study on putative preneoplastic lesions in rat colon carcinogenesis found that dietary administration of alpha-mangostin inhibited the development of aberrant crypt foci ( P < 0.05 for 0.02% crude alpha-mangostin, P < 0.01 for 0.05% crude alpha-mangostin). Rats treated with 0.05% crude alpha-mangostin had decreased dysplastic foci ( P < 0.05) and beta-catenin accumulated crypts ( P < 0.05). 38

In vitro data

Several xanthones isolated from the fruit hulls of mangosteen have antifungal activity against 3 phytopathogenic fungi, Fusarium oxysporum vasinfectum , Alternaria tenuis , and Dreschlera oryzae . 6 Mangosteen also has activity against the dermatophytes Trichophyton mentagrophytes , Microsporum gypseum , and Epidermophyton floccosum . 39 , 40

Mangosteen has strong antibacterial activity against methicillin-resistant and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus . 41 Alpha-mangostin, from the stem bark of mangosteen, was active against vancomycin-resistant Enterococci and methicillin-resistant S. aureus , with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 6.25 to 12.5 mcg/mL. 42 Activity against acne-inducing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis is also documented. 8 , 43

The xanthones, alpha- and beta-mangostins and garcinone B, isolated from the fruit hulls and the edible arils and seeds of mangosteen exhibited strong inhibitory activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a MIC value of 6.25 mcg/mL. 7

Prenylated xanthones from mangosteen exhibited potent antiplasmodial activity against Plasmodium falciparum . 44

Clinical data

One study of 60 participants found that an herbal mouthwash containing the pericarp extract of mangosteen may be used, in addition to other treatment, for improving oral malodor. 45

Other pharmacologic activity
GI disorders

The xanthones from mangosteen may be useful in treating Helicobacter pylori digestive tract disorders such as peptic ulcer, gastritis, and gastric cancer. 46

Heart disease

A study in rats documents the efficacy of alpha-mangostin against cardiotoxicity and beta-adrenergic catecholamine-induced myocardial toxicity and oxidative stress. 47 Mangosteen also inhibits oxidative changes in human LDL by acting as a free radical scavenger to protect LDL. 48 , 49


Noncompetitive inhibition is documented for mangostin and gamma-mangostin against HIV-1 protease. 50


Mangosteen is available in capsule, tablet, beverage, and cream forms. The typical dose is 500 mg by mouth twice a day. Beverages are dosed as 30 mL per day. Numerous patents exist on mangosteen nutraceutical applications in beverages, 51 , 52 animal products, 53 and cosmetic and dermatological preparations. 54 , 55


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Mangosteen products have antioxidant activity and may interact with chemotherapeutic drugs such anthracyclines, platinum compounds, and alkylating agents. Patients taking antihistamines may note an additive affect with mangosteen.

Adverse Reactions

Use should be avoided with hypersensitivity to any of the constituents in mangosteen. People with diabetes should be aware of the high sugar content in mangosteen juice. Theoretically, mangosteen may interfere with the action of certain chemotherapeutic drugs and radiation therapy.

Severe lactic acidosis was reported in a 58-year-old man ingesting mangosteen juice daily for 12 months, possibly resulting from alpha-mangostin associated mitochondrial dysfunction. 56


No toxicity studies have been reported in humans. In one experiment, the seed oil was not found to be toxic to the liver, heart, or spleen when fed to rats. Kidney lesions observed in some rats were mild and not limited to the test rats. 57


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