Mangosteen Studies - Review of Research on Mangosteen

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The researchers from all over the world have conducted manystudies to investigate the effect of xanthones, given the fact that mangosteen has been used widely by traditional folks to treat certain health problems with positive results. The studies were completed either in vitro or in vivo environment. What are in vitro and vivo? Below outlines the differences:

  • In Vitro: Latin for “in glass”. The study is made under standard controlled condition environment. The advantage of this study is it is helpful in indentifying the effect of certain medicine on particular bacteria without disturbance of other outside factors. For instance, a researcher can culture the bacteria in a petri dish and expose the bacteria to penicillin within controlled environment. This controlled setting eliminates other factors such as temperature, chemicals, other contamination from other bacteria. The disadvantage of this study is it is extrapolating the results obtained to the effects on the human body. In actual environment, other factors such as saliva, temperature, pH may impact the result in a positive or negative way.
  • In Vivo: Latin for "within the living". The study is done using animals instead of using the partial or dead organism in a controlled condition. A common example is using the rat to investigate certain drug effects.
  • None of the mangosteen studies were completed on human so far. What does this mean for mangosteen? Does it mean it is a poor scientific evidence? No, it is just mean that the science of mangosteen is still at its early stage. The mangosteen studies have validated the application of this traditional folk medicine under in vitro or vivo conditions. Without the proof of human cllinical trials does not mean the mangosteen is lack of these properties.


Reference of Mangosteen Studies

Below is the tabulated summary of a few selected mangosteen studies from various independant scientific groups or researchers:

Type of Study Results of Mangosteen Studies Reference
in vitro The investigators studied the effect of gamma-mangostin, a xanthone contained in the mangosteen fruit on C6 rat glioma cells. This research has demonstrated that gamma-mangostin is one of the candidates of the drugs for treatment of brain diseases accompanied with inflammation. Biochem Pharmacol. 2002 Jan 1;63(1):73-9.

See here for original abstract

in vivo Researchers used rats to study the anti-inflammatory effect of the mangosteen fruit. They concluded that “mangostin produces significant anti-ulcer activity in experimental animals.” Pharmacological Logical Profile of mangostin and is derivatives. Arch Int Pahrmacodyn Ther. 1979; 239(2): 257-269.
in vitro The investigators found that an extract from the pericarp of the mangosteen fruit killed SKBR3 breast cancer cell and showed that the extract had potent antioxidant and cancer killing properties. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jan;90(1):161-6.

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in vitro Mangosteen's xanthones: alpha- and beta-mangostins and garcinone B exhibited strong inhibitory effect against Mycobacterium Tuberculosis (TB) Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2003 Jul;51(7):857-9.

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in vitro Mangosteen’s alpha-mangostin possesses strong antibacterial properties against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). J Pharm Pharmacol 1996; 48(8):861-865

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in vitro The researchers investigated the effects of alpha-mangostin on the oxidation of human LDL (bad cholestrol) which is a risk factor for atherosclerosis. They concluded that mangosteen can protect the LDL from oxidative damage. In other words, it is a potent antioxidant. Free Radic Res. 1995 Aug;23(2):175-84.

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in vitro In this experiment, Polysaccharides from the pericarp of mangosteen, were extracted from the fruit. The results showed that with this extract, the S.enteritidis (bacteria) in cultured monocyte was killed. In other words,mangosteen posseses anti-bacteria property in this study. J Med Assoc Thai. 1997 Sep;80 Suppl 1:S149-54.

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in vitro The xanthone mangostin,derived from mangosteen fruit, was shown to inhibit the replication cycle of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Planta Med. 1998 Mar;64(2):97-109.

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in vitro These researchers examined the effects of six xanthones extracted from the pericarp of the mangosteen fruit on the human leukemia cell line HL60. All xanthones displayed the ability to kill the cancer cells. Among them, alpha-mangostin (a xanthone) showed the most potent ability. J Nat Prod. 2003 Aug;66(8):1124-7.

See here for original abstract

If you are researching for other particular topic regarding mangosteen studies, here is a good resource to browse through: Pubmed , and type in “xanthones”or “mangosteen” in the search tab to retrieve the original abstract with details.



David A. Morton, Ph.D., The Xanthone Effect, Orem, Utah, USA, Sound Concepts, 2005.

Mangosteen, Available from (Assessed May 15th 2009)

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