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Mangosteen juice has health-boosting potential

Since you mentioned the benefits of acai juice in your previous article, I've tried it - and found it utterly delicious! Can you suggest any other unusual or exotic fruit juice that's great tasting, as well as good for my health?

Another up-and-coming star on the healthy juice horizon is mangosteen juice. The quintessential exotic beverage, it has a deep reddish-purple color and a tangy, sweet taste that has been described as a blend of strawberry and pear juice. Loaded with health-boosting potential, mangosteen fruit contains antioxidants known as xanthones, as well as polysaccharides, both of which have beneficial effects on the immune system.

Widely grown in Asia, the mangosteen (Latin name: Garcinia mangostana) is sometimes referred to as the "Queen of Fruits." When ripe, the fragrant flesh of the fruit is creamy, with a touch of citrus flavor. Despite its name, the mangosteen should not be confused with the mango. People often mistakenly assume that the mangosteen is a member of the mango family, but the two have little in common - other than the fact that they're both delicious, and both tropical fruits.

There's plenty of research regarding mangosteen's health benefits. A study that appeared in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2004 found that mangosteen has cancer-prevention potential on account of its noteworthy antioxidant properties and its ability to kill cancer cells. In another study, published in the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2003, it was shown that the active constituents in mangosteen have a strong inhibitory effect against mycobacterium tuberculosis - which means that mangosteen may have potential benefits as a tuberculosis-fighting agent.

According to a study published in the Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin in 2002, mangosteen has anti-inflammatory effects, as well as powerful antihistamine actions that may be of use in the treatment of allergic conditions. And in a study published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand in 1997, the polysaccharides in mangosteen were shown to stimulate immune cells to kill bacteria.

A recommended daily dosage for mangosteen has not been officially established, and it appears that no adverse side-effects have been found with either the whole fruit or the juice.

Regarding the health benefits of drinking mangosteen juice, one important caveat needs to be mentioned here: most, if not all, of the research has been done on the rind of the fruit, so mangosteen juice products may or may not contain all of the active compounds that are found in the rind. Despite the claims of some manufacturers, there has not been enough research to say with certainty whether the juice and the rind contain the same quantities of the medicinal compounds.

Dr.. Laurie Steelsmith is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist in Honolulu, as well as author of the new #1 best-selling book Natural Choices for Women's Health, published by Random House. You can reach her and read her past columns at www.drsteelsmith.com. This column is for information only. Consult your health provider for medical advice.

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