Harvard Women's Health Watch

Ask the doctor: Does mangosteen have any health benefits?

Q. I've seen advertisements for mangosteen juice claiming it has lots of antioxidants and health benefits, including anticancer effects. Is there any truth to this?

A. Mangosteen is a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. The fruit as well as the juice, rind, twig, and bark contain a number of active compounds—most notably xanthones—that have antioxidant and other important properties. In laboratory experiments, mangosteen extracts have shown some promising effects, which include halting the growth of some bacteria and fungi and slowing the growth of some cancer cells.

In the marketplace, mangosteen is promoted as a way to improve the balance of bacteria in the body, boost the immune system, and relieve conditions such as diarrhea, urinary infections, tuberculosis, eczema, and menstrual disorders. These purported health benefits are unproven in humans.

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