Flora

Mangosteen: description and medicinal properties

The mangosteen tree (Garcinia mangostana) is a tree native to Southeast Asia that produces one of the best fruits in the world: the mangosteen, considered the queen of fruits in Asia, the king being the durian.


Thai name: mang kout
The tree (tone): tone mang kout
The fruit (louk): louk mang kout (or just mang kout


There are many unknown fruits in the Thai markets, but if there is one that you must taste, it is this one.

Description of the Mangosteen tree

It grows in tropical areas with heavy rains, in Thailand, it is mainly the province of Chantaburi that produces fruit, but there are also some in the neighboring provinces of Sa Kaew, Trat, Rayong, and Chonburi.

The mangosteen tree is a very slow-growing tree that can reach a height of 15 m.

The inner bark contains a large amount of yellow and gummy latex.

Its leaves are persistent, opposite, oblong, tough, dark green and bright on top, and matt on the bottom.

They can measure up to 25 cm in length, and have pale green veins.

The flowers of the mangosteen tree are yellow-green and red; they are about 5 cm wide.

It is between its 7th and 10th year that the mangosteen tree begins to bear fruit.

Mangosteen tree in Chantaburi
Mangosteen tree in Chantaburi

Knowing about Mangosteen (mang kout)

Mangosteen is rounded, purplish tangerine-sized, with a thick (very bitter) skin, called a pericarp and containing a white flesh divided into 5 to 6 quarters

Usually, only white quarters are consumed (see final photo in the gallery below), but since researchers have found more than 40 xanthones (powerful antioxidants) in the pericarp of the fruit, many companies have started to offer a very vitamin-rich juice containing all the parts.

Mangosteens prices in Thailand

The price is usually between 40 and 50 baht per kilo.

Before the price was high at the beginning of the season and went down at the end, but producers have found a way to preserve the fruit that is now on the country’s markets throughout the year.

How to choose mangosteen in a Thai market

When you buy mangosteens at a market, squeeze them lightly, the skin should be a little soft; if the fruit is hard, it is because it is inedible, too ripe.

If you let the seller choose, he may put one or two inedible hard fruits in the bag, so you might as well do it yourself.

How to open a mangosteen

To open the fruit, you can:

Use a knife and slide the blade around the base, insert on 5 cm to cut the pericarp (skin), and then open it in half,

or Insert your fingers into the fruit around the base. And open it in half.

Anecdote

Queen Victoria of England would have made the mangosteen her favorite fruit, even offering the title of knight to anyone who could ensure her a regular supply.

Mangosteen medicinal properties

Several parts of the mangosteen tree are used for medicinal purposes in traditional Asian pharmacopeias (China, Thailand, India, in particular).

The skin of the fruit, the leaves of the tree, and the heart of its wood are, for example, used to relieve abdominal pain, treat diarrhea, infections, inflammation, allergies, depression, and skin disorders.

Herbalists in these countries also use it to prevent cardiovascular disorders and cancer.

I was able to test the medicinal properties of the Mangosteens in Madagascar; I had caught a terrible Traveler’s diarrhea with severe stomach pain, and the infusion of pieces of dried skin quickly got me back on my feet.

Unfortunately, I advise you not to consume the skin of mangosteen bought on a Thai market; the fruit undergoes many chemical treatments.

Photos: the birth of a mangosteen


Source: wikipedia.org; Photos: Pierre

Pierreto

Settled in Thailand since a few years (with trips to Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia), I love this country and its inhabitants, the real country of Smiles! Sorry for any translation errors that may occur. Feel free to mention them in the comments, I will correct them. Thank you.

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