Meet the Mangosteen

The Mangosteen is a tropical fruit that is native to Southeast Asia and is known for its sweet and tangy flavor. It has been surrounded by folklore and legends in many cultures, including those in Southeast Asia, where it is considered a sacred fruit.

In Thailand, the Mangosteen is called the “queen of fruits,” and legend has it that Queen Victoria offered a reward to anyone who could bring her a fresh mangosteen. The fruit was believed to have healing properties and was often used in traditional medicine to treat various ailments.

In Malaysia, the Mangosteen is known as “manggis” and is believed to have mystical powers. According to folklore, the fruit is associated with the supernatural and can ward off evil spirits. It is also believed that consuming the fruit can bring good luck and fortune.

In Indonesia, the Mangosteen is called “manggis” or “mangostin,” and it is believed to have a cooling effect on the body, making it an ideal fruit to eat during the hot and humid months. The fruit is also believed to have anti-inflammatory properties and is often used to treat skin conditions.

Overall, the Mangosteen has been revered in many cultures for its health benefits and mystical properties, and it continues to be a popular fruit in many parts of the world.

Queen Victoria & the Mangosteen

If you’ve never tasted a mangosteen, then you’ve never tasted the most exquisite fruit of the tropics. And that’s not just one opinion, it’s the consensus of farmers, explorers, and royalty going back centuries.

European colonists stumbled upon the small purple tree fruit in Southeast Asia, where they found it to be a delicious mix of lychee, peach, strawberry, and pineapple flavors. The fruit spoiled so fast that someone started the rumor around 1890 that Queen Victoria would grant knighthood to anyone who brought her one. It was, whether true or not, enough to earn the mangosteen the widely-accepted title as “the queen of fruits.”

The mangosteen has a rather illustrious history for a fruit that most Americans have

Mangosteen History

Garcinia mangostana, more commonly called the mangosteen belongs to the Guttiferae family. It grows primarily in South East Asia in countries such as Thailand, India, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines. It also grows in areas of Australia and Hawaii.

The fruit is renown in folklore medicine for its properties used for inflammatory diseases of the bowel, such as diarrhea and dysentery. It was also used for treatment of skin infections, wounds and pathogens (bacteria and fungi).

The mangosteen is tropical and cannot tolerate extreme temperatures. The trees must be in deep, rich soil with good drainage and sheltered from strong winds. Their fruiting schedule can be irregular and its yields varies between trees and even seasons. Although a tree might take seven to ten years to yield fruit, some have been known to fruit at over one hundred years of age.


The mangosteen fruit consists of the following parts:

  • Pericarp (rind or peel): the half-centimeter pericarp is green unripe and dark purple when ripe. It contains the highest concentrations of xanthones in the entire fruit
  • Pulp (fruit) – the fleshy interior that is responsible for its reputation as the best tasting fruit in the world
  • Seeds – usually one to two in number within the pulp

The mangosteen fruit has been used for centuries as a folk-lore medicine. Research laboratories around the world have now been helping us understand how the mangosteen fruit works. Modern science is just catching up with what centuries of herbal doctors have already known.

Medicinal Uses

  • Anti-diarrheal
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Pain control
  • Treatment of infections
  • Fever control
  • Gastro-intestinal problems
  • Skin rashes and burns
  • Headaches
  • Anti-parasitic

Medical practitioners are using the mangosteen for patients with the following problems; musculo-skeletal and joint problems, skin conditions, infections, allergies, dementia, cancer, anxiety and depression.

Fun Facts

The skin (a thick, stringy rind) of the Mangosteen is so bitter, mostly due to tannic acid, that it suffers no insect or animal damage.

The Mangosteen wood is dark, dense and hard and is used in carving.

The tree is one of the slowest growing, taking 10 to 20 years to bear.

Its flower is ‘perfect’, needing no pollination. It cannot be crossed: it has no clonal varieties. Its seedlings are true to form.

The tree does not require pruning. The leaves and bark yield a commercial yellow dye.


The rind is charred, pulverized and mixed with camphor to make kampong toothpaste.

The bark and rind are used medicinally for stomach ailments. Extracts of the rind are used in treating some forms of skin rash. Fruit eaten in large quantities activates the sweat glands.

The rind of the fruit does not collapse with shelf life, rather it hardens.

The rind yields a purple dye.

The purple Mangosteen‘s evolutionary development appears to be almost complete, being highly resistant to all pests and diseases, is reproduced by parthenogenesis (needing no flower pollination), and its flavour is unsurpassable. In fact, it could easily be described as the perfect fruit tree.