Mangosteen offers many health benefits, but can it help with arthritis?
Arthritis is a very painful, debilitating condition resulting from inflammation of the joints in the body, and is linked directly to the effects of the COX-2 enzyme.
All types of arthritis --- osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and juvenile arthritis, gout and pseudogout, ankylosing spondylitis, and Still's disease --- have inflammation linking them to the COX-2 enzyme.
Scientific research studies have shown Garcinia Mangostana L. to be a strong COX-2 inhibitor.
Mangosteen contains natural chemical compounds called Xanthones which have been widely studied for their numerous health benefits.
Studies have shown that gamma-mangostin, one of the Xanthones in Mangosteens, dramatically slows down the production of the COX-2 enzyme that precedes and gives rise to inflammation.
One of these studies, in fact, demonstrated that gamma-mangostin was a more potent anti-inflammatory agent than several anti-inflammatory medications currently prescribed for arthritis and gout.
Inflammation has been linked to many types of diseases and was found to be a major factor in arthritis and other diseases. As an article in Time magazine stated:
"As scientists delve deeper into the fundamental causes of illnesses, they are starting to see links to an age-old immunological defense mechanism called inflammation... Hardly a week goes by without the publication of yet another study uncovering a new way that chronic inflammation does harm to the body." - Time Magazine, February 23, 2004
Opioid pain relievers and so-called NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) that are often used to help control inflammation are often intolerable and may cause serious side effects such as stomach ulcers and bleeding.
Antimetabolite drugs that block the metabolism of cells and are used to attack the causes of arthritis can produce wide-ranging adverse effects such as liver disease.
And while anti-inflammatory drugs used for chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis have been developed to block the COX-2 enzyme and inhibit swelling and pain, they also can cause long-term liver damage.
When the first commercial COX-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx and Celebrex were introduced, health care practitioners thought they had found the holy grail for arthritis pain sufferers. Initial studies performed on these drugs indicated that they only inhibited the COX-2 enzyme and would not lead to gastrointestinal problems.
But this did not turn out to be the case. Even more serious and sometimes fatal side effects occurred in patients taking these drugs.
Scientists soon realized that there is no such thing as a synthetic, pure COX-2 inhibitor. Drugs for arthritis and inflammation thought to be only COX-2 inhibitors did, in fact, inhibit the COX-1 enzyme as well and caused all sorts of serious health problems that led to some of these drugs being taken off the market.
While the scientific community and pharmaceutical industry have come up with products that seek to address inflammation, practically all of them present the possibility of serious side effects.
Many natural remedies can effectively inhibit the inflammatory process and offer safe alternatives to synthetic drugs.
Mangosteen is one of these safe remedies.
Mangosteen has long been known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The Xanthones in this Asian fruit are able to block the inflammatory process. They are powerful, selective COX-2 inhibitors and do not cause side effects that often result from the use of anti-inflammatory synthetic drugs.
The Xanthones in this fruit can stop and reduce inflammation by both attacking the infection and selectively regulating the COX-2 enzyme without the serious side effects often associated with drugs.
Researchers from India used Xanthone extracts from the pericarp or skin of the fruit to study its effects on various types of inflammation. Their experiments with laboratory animals showed that the Xanthones inhibited arthritis, suppressed acute and chronic inflammation, and inhibited fatal inflammatory reactions.
In another study on the fruit's effect on inflammation, researchers found that the Xanthones did not interfere with the blood's clotting mechanism and did not damage the stomach lining or produce stomach ulcers.
In fact, the scientists found that the Xanthones even helped heal stomach ulcers.
In another study using glioma (brain) cells in rats, a group of scientists demonstrated that gamma-mangostin, a Mangosteen Xanthone, directly inhibited COX-2 enzymes to help interrupt the chain of events that lead to inflammation.
Gamma-mangostin, found in the pericarp of the fruit, acts as a selective COX-2 inhibitor. In the rat brain cell preparation containing glioma cells, Japanese researchers demonstrated that when gamma-mangostin blocked the production of prostaglandin E2, a compound that plays a part in causing inflammation.
This occurred because gamma-mangostin prevented the COX-2 gene in the glioma cells from being "turned on", effectively blocking the chain of events that leads to inflammation.
These Xanthones reduce inflammation in every cell in the body. Each of the trillions of cells in the body can be positively affected in a powerful way by these natural compounds.
Chronic diseases such as arthritis slowly and often silently evolve over relatively long periods of time. By the time physical symptoms or signs are felt or seen, serious and sometimes irreparable tissue and organ damage may already have occurred.
Practical clinical experience showed that immediate or short-term benefits will rarely be seen in such long-term chronic conditions as arthritis when Mangosteen is used. But relief from pain and swelling can occur in a few days.
Also, based on clinical experience using Mangosteen supplements, a good number of patients with chronic arthritis were even able to get off their prescription medications.
Two to three months of Mangosteen extract intake may be needed before significant results occur. The majority of users, however, may experience its healing benefits in as little as two to three weeks.
Mangosteen and Health: Cancer
Scientific studies demonstrated that the Xanthones in Mangosteen help stop or prevent cancer. Here are the details.
Mangosteen and Health: Inflammation and Pain
Mangosteen has been known by pharmacological researchers and scientists for its beneficial effects on inflammation and pain. What has inflammation got to do with chronic diseases. Here's the link.
(1) "A Doctor's Challenge: A Mangosteen Solution", J. Frederic Templeman, M.D., Sounds Concepts, 2003; www.mangosteentools.com.