A Delicious moment with mangosteens | Daily News

A Delicious moment with mangosteens

Mangosteen is a delicious fruit known as the ‘Queen of Tropical Fruit.’ It is a fruit that has great value medicinally and nutritionally. Garden Talk spoke to Director Institute of Indigenous Medicine, Swarna Hapuarachchi on this highly edible fruit which is mouthwatering and regarded as one of the tastiest fruits in the world.

“The Mangosteen fruit is not indigenous to Sri Lanka. It is from the South East Asian region. Historically it is known as the ‘Queen of Tropical Fruit.’ It is a native plant to Indonesia, and is cultivated in South East Asia in countries such as the Philippines and Thailand,” said Hapuarachchi.

Hapuarachchi recounted a legend about the fruit where Queen Victoria offered a reward of 100 pound sterling to anyone who could deliver her the fresh fruit. However this is not substantiated by any historical document.

“There are many varieties of Mangosteen. There is the Purple Mangosteen known as Garcinia Mangostana, Garcinia Prainiana (Malaysia) and there is the Lemon drop Mangosteen (Garcinia Madruno) and the African Mangosteen (Garcinia Livingstonei) native to West Africa. The Varieties differ to each other according to characteristics such as size,” stated Hapuarachchi.

The Pericarp, which is the outer-covering of the fruit is a very valuable. It is dark purple and can be used for external wound healing. It has some anti-septic and anti-bacterial qualities.

“It has Vitamin A & C. It contains Calcium and Minerals. It has antioxidant qualities. It has a moderate source of Vitamin B Complex. It has minerals and can be used as a delicious energy drink. In some countries the fruit is dried and powdered and used for tea. Mangosteen can also be used with Corn Flower and Coconut Milk as a desert,” added Hapuarachchi.

Mangosteen has many health benefits such as treatment for Diarrhea and Urinary Tract infection. It can also be used for sexually transmitted diseases such as Gonorrhea.

“The Pericarp has medicinal properties - it has anti- cancer properties and anti- inflammatory properties. It is also good for Colon Cancer. Pericarp is very valuable, but not many people know about this. People know only about the fruit. The fruit has nutritional values while the pericarp has medicinal values. The Pericarp contains an abundant amount of Xanthones which is a chemical compound. It also has Polyphenols, Tannins and Xanthones,” pointed out Hapuarachchi.

The Mangosteen fruit is rich in water, energy, protein, Carbohydrate and fiber. In Sri Lanka we export Mangosteen. One is the non- organic which is US Dollars 4 - 5 per 1Kg and the Organic which is US Dollars 12 - 18 per 1Kg.

“There are some growers who supply only the natural fertilizer. These fruits are called Organic. Other growers use synthetic fertilizers which is non organic. Organic is more costly,” added Hapuarachchi.

The Mangosteen fruit can be used as drinks, Jams and other desserts in addition to being eaten raw. On a hot day it is the ideal drink to quench ones thirst!

“It is propagated usually as seedlings. Seed germination is between 14 - 20 days. Mangosteen trees have a weak root system and prefer well drained soil with high moisture content. It needs a well distributed rainfall over the year. The trees are sensitive to water availability. Application of fertilizer increases with age of trees. Maturation of Mangosteen fruit takes five to six months,” he said.

It takes 5 - 10 years for the fruits to appear. It takes five to six months for the fruit to mature.

“One tree produces nearly 200 - 300 fruits. When it is well matured it is plucked. At age 30 - 40 years, each tree will have yielded as many as 3000 fruits. That is why the trees have such a great density. Some trees are old as 100 years,” elucidated Hapuarachchi.

Leaf Blight, Leaf Eater and Leaf Miner affect the plants by eating the leaves and rotting the fruits.

“Fungicides can be used for fungal diseases. So it is important to also prune and remove the branches and leaves attacked. Chemical are also applied to the tree stumps to control root diseases. Biological pest control is used in the form of biological insecticides,” he noted finally.

Health benefits of Mangosteens

* Anti-cancer property: Health benefits of mangosteen include anti-cancer properties. The pericarps of mangosteen contain Xanthones which exhibit anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects.

*Anti-inflammatory properties: Mangosteen has been used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Extracts of mangosteen have anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory properties and they inhibit the release of histamine and prostaglandin which are associated with inflammation in the human body.

*Healthy skin: Mangosteen helps in maintaining healthy skin.

*Antioxidant properties: Mangosteen is among the fruits that are known to contain powerful antioxidants that are useful to the immune system and the entire body.

* Medicinal use: Mangosteen is beneficial as a medicinal drink and for quick healing of wounds. The leaves and bark of the tree can be mixed with other medicinal herbs and applied to the wounds for a faster recovery. The medicinal drink can be prepared by boiling the leaves and the bark of the tree.

* Diarrhea and dysentery: Use of mangosteen is beneficial in stomach disorders as well. The mangosteen pericarp and peel are effective in providing relief from stomach disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.

* Menstrual problems: The roots of mangosteen helps in regulating menstrual cycle in women. 

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