Mangosteen Xanthones help with allergies and inflammation

October 21, 2005

Xanthones are a powerful class of polyphenol antioxidants with emerging research, a great deal of which has to do with anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and chemopreventive activity. A major source of a wide variety of Xanthones is the Mangosteen fruit (Garcinia Mangostana). The fruit grows in Southeast Asia and it is a part of traditional Thai medicine. In Southeast Asia Mangosteen is used commonly for skin infections, wounds, and diarrhea. The most common version is a tangerine-sized deep purple fruit. In parts of the Caribbean Mangosteen is used for fatigue and malaise.

Modern research indicates that Mangosteen Xanthones and other polyphenolics inhibit a broad range of bacteria (Staph, Acne bacteria, the TB bacterium, and various strains of Enterococci), fungi, yeast, and the HIV virus. Mangosteen seems to assuage allergic reactions, and may be very beneficial for diarrhea. The fruit inhibited precancerous colon cells, breast cancer cells, and leukemia cells in various studies. It also packs a punch against liver and lung cancer cells. Besides having powerful antioxidant activity, Mangosteen also has the ability to modulate the immune system.

In this study the ability of Mangosteen fruit to inhibit histamine release (the noxious chemical released in allergic reactions that causes sneezing, itching, and narrowing of the airways in the lungs) and a build up of PGE2 (a hormonal type substance known as prostaglandin E2 that triggers the inflammatory pathway. PGE2 stimulates the type of inflammation seen in arthritis and other types of inflammation throughout the body. A Mangosteen extract inhibited the release of histamine from immune cells and inhibited the allergic response caused by immunoglobulin E. Mangosteen extract also inhibited the production of PGE2 in rat brain tissue cells. The study appears in the September 2002 issue of the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin.

Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.

Do not just depend on medication to lower your cholesterol, focus on diet and nutrition and include plant sterol containing foods or plant sterol containing supplements as part of your daily healthy lifestyle.

Goji Berry

Lycium barbarum, also known as Goji Berry has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as far back as 1,000 AD. It is a plant native to Tibet, brought to China and rechristened as the Chinese Wolfberry. A significant amount of modern scientific research has been published on Lycium barbarum, and traditionally it has been used to treat aches and pains, and skin irritations. In China it is used for poor vision, anemia, and coughs. It has anti-tumorgenesis and immune enhancing properties. A human trial suggests that Lycium berry is useful as an adjuvant for some cancers. Goji also has liver protecting effects. It even blocks the absorption of cholesterol from food to some degree and may protect the brain from Alzheimer's related beta-amyloid protein.

In this study mice were injected with the chemotherapeutic drug carboplatin or were exposed to sublethal doses of X-rays to produce severe myelosuppression (the condition where bone marrow is suppressed creating fewer white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets). Myelosuppression is a frequent side effect of cancer chemotherapy. Four to six hours later the mice were treated with a polysaccharide from the Lycium berry. Compared to nonsupplemented mice, those given the Lycium Berry polysaccharide had significantly less of a decrease of white blood cells after radiation exposure. The decrease in red blood cells and platelets was also significantly lessened. The decrease in white blood cells caused by chemotherapy was modestly inhibited by the Lycium extract. However the decrease in red blood cells and platelets caused by chemotherapy was significantly decreased by the Lycium extract. The study was published in the April 2005 issue of the journal Cancer Biotherapy and Radiopharmaceuticals.