Friday, December 7, 2007

What's Mangosteen

The mangosteen, scientific name Garcinia mangostana, is an evergreen tree which thrives in tropical climates. Nicknamed the "Queen of Fruits", the mangosteen is native to Southeast Asia, and grows most prolifically in countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam, Singapore, India, and the Philippines.

The mangosteen is a temperamental tree, requiring high atmospheric humidity, ample rainfall, and moderate temperatures. Attempts at cultivation in less than ideal circumstances have been largely unsuccessful, making the mangosteen's desirability that much greater. There is a story that Queen Victoria offered a cash reward to anyone who could deliver mangosteen to her. No one was able to fulfill her request.

The mangosteen tree can attain heights of 20 to 80 feet when mature, and bears tangerine-sized fruit. The reddish-purple rind is rather soft and easy to break apart. The edible part of the fruit is bright white and segmented, much like an orange, and may contain zero to 5 seeds. Highly revered for its exquisite taste, the fruit is said to be very sweet and tangy, with hints of strawberry, peach, and vanilla.

It is illegal to import fresh mangosteen fruit into the U.S. due to the threat of introducing the Asian fruit fly. Because of this, imported fruit can only be canned or processed. Unfortunately, it is believed that the canned fruit is not as flavorful as its fresh counterpart.

In the U.S., the fruit's juice and extract powder are steadily gaining popularity as powerful nutritional supplements due to its high antioxidant content. Mangosteen has been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, Anti-histamine and anti-tumor properties, and contains essential vitamins and minerals such as antioxidant polyphenols, calcium, iron, phosphorous, polysaccharides, potassium, stilbenes, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, and vitamin C.

The mangosteen (Garcinia Mangostana) is an exotic fruit considered to be one of the most delicious tasting fruits in the world. It is known as "the Queen of Fruits" in Southeast Asia and "the Food of the Gods" by the French.

The mangosteen fruit grows on an evergreen tree that has leathery leaves in the sub-tropical climates of Southeast Asia in countries like Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

The fruit itself comes to harvest only 2 times each year and consists of a thick hard dark rind known as the pericarp. The pericarp contains xanthones . These xanthones are what gives the mangosteen its many benefical properites.

The inside of this fruit has 4 to 8 triangular segments of snow-white, soft flesh. It is these white segments of flesh that deliver the amazing taste.

Local folklore has used the mangosteen's medicinal benefits for thousands of years to control pain, protect against disease, increase energy, as a natural anti-inflammatory, to reduce fever and for many other uses.