Native to Southeast Asia, mangosteen plants are used in traditional herbal medicine for the properties in their fruits. Mangosteen fruits are sometimes used for treating infections, healing wounds and relieving diarrhea. No conclusive scientific evidence supports mangosteen's use in treating any medical condition, so talk with your physician before taking mangosteen.
Mangosteen may have anti-inflammatory effects that could potentially help in treating arthritis and healing wounds. The fruit hulls of mangosteen contain xanthones, compounds that may provide the anti-inflammatory actions, says the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. A 2002 test tube study published in the journal "Biochemical Pharmacology" found that xanthone derivatives of mangosteen helped to inhibit certain chemical synthesis in cells that causes inflammation. Although studies have found these anti-inflammatory effects in test tubes and animals, no human clinical trials have been conducted to prove that mangosteen or its constituents can help to relieve inflammation, the Mayo Clinic says.
Mangosteen may have antibacterial effects that can help to fight certain diseases. A laboratory study conducted in Japan and published in a 2003 edition of the "Chemical & Pharmaceutical Bulletin" found that the xanthones contained in mangosteen had antibacterial actions, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. This study also found that mangosteen's xanthones inhibited tuberculosis bacterium in vitro. Despite mangosteen's possible antibacterial actions, a study that used the herbal remedy in a mouthwash preparation found that mangosteen failed to fight the oral bacteria that cause the gum disease gingivitis, says the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Published in 2007 in the "Journal of International Academic Periodontology" looked at the mangosteen mouthwash's effects on bad breath, dental plaque and gum bleeding. Because all supporting medical evidence of mangosteen's antibacterial effects are highly preliminary, you shouldn't use mangosteen as an antibacterial treatment without first talking with a healthcare professional.
In addition to its antibacterial actions, mangosteen has also shown some effects in treating viruses. These actions may indicate mangosteen's potential use in fighting infection. A test tube study published in 1997 in the "Journal of Natural Products" found that xanthones had antifungal activities, according to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Mangosteen's infection-fighting potential hasn't been studied in humans, however, so consult your doctor before taking mangosteen products for this use.