Asia - Purple Mangosteen
A tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia
Not only delicious to eat but also acclaimed for its antioxidants

Mangosteen is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia that is not only delicious to eat or drink when pureed, but is also acclaimed for its antioxidants, especially xanthones.

Despite the name, mangosteen is not related to the mango. It is a tropical evergreen tree, which is believed to have originated in Indonesia, but also grows in other hot, humid climates such as Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

The dark purple fruit is about five to seven centimetres (between two and three inches) in diameter - the size of a small apple.

A mangosteen is usually opened by twisting the outside until it breaks apart. At the centre is the soft opaque white fruit which tastes slightly sweet and tart.

This fruit, together with the rind and pulp, can be pureed and sold as a drink or mixed with other types of juice. Its rind may be dried and made into a powder and substances are also extracted from its bark.

Mangosteen products are also available in capsule and tablet form. Due to restrictions on imports, mangosteen has not been, and in some cases still is not, readily available in certain countries.

Much recent modern scientific research has been conducted on the mangosteen and its alleged beneficial properties, the principal one being xanthones - the antioxidants found in the rind.

While most people know about the benefits of Vitamins C and E, far fewer are aware of the incredibly potent antioxidant power of xanthones. Found in a select number of rainforest plants and dark red fruits, these natural plant chemical substances have been identified for their health benefits.

Although they come with the caveat that there may be some conflict with certain drugs, overall, scientific opinion is that they have a significant effect on cardiovascular health; are naturally antibiotic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory; and are amongst the most powerful antioxidants found in nature.