Mangosteen Tropical Tea

Garcinia mangostana or the mangosteen is indigenous to Southeast Asia and is still cultivated mainly in this region. The tree is an evergreen, usually 20-80 feet in height. The fruit looks somewhat like a small persimmon but its thick rind is totally different in color-green, light red and a deep purple or magenta. Inside this thick and spongy rind are white segments or aril whose juicy, uniquely flavorful and sweet flesh and pleasing aroma has earned the mangosteen the title, Queen of Fruits.

It is not easy to raise and care for the mangosteen tree. It needs heat and humidity, a short dry season to stimulate flowering, and generous rainfall or another source of water the rest of the time. It does not tolerate temperatures lower than 40F or higher than 100F. It also undergoes a long "juvenile" stage lasting from 10-20 years. In some cases this can be reduced to 6 or 7 years by good management. Only after this juvenile period does the mangosteen bear fruit, with each healthy and mature tree averaging 400-500 pieces of mangosteen yearly. There are exceptional cases where a tree produces 2,000-3,000 or even 5,000 fruits and can be productive up to a century.

Mangosteen is green when immature, picked when it is light red but is only fully ripe only when its rind turns dark purple or magenta. This usually takes an additional 4-6 days. Picking should be done every other day to make sure that the mangosteen does not become over ripe. The fruit is quite delicate and bruises easily when dropped, so it is hand picked and carefully packed so it reaches the market in its prime. Its shelf life lasts only about a week.

The principal mangosteen producing countries are Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines (particularly in Mindanao-Sulu where mangosteen trees are usually found near durian trees.) The "hot" durian and "cool" mangosteen are eaten together, based on the principle of yin-yang. Mangosteen fruit is sourced from backyard plantings or from mixed-fruit orchards. Only a very small part of production comes from large and single fruit commercial orchards. Although the mangosteen is really a delectable fruit, its real nutritive value is found in its thick rind, and this is the raw material for mangosteen tea. Neuleaf Mangosteen Tea is made from the xanthone-rich rind of this gorgeous and delicious fruit, wildcrafted and naturally processed.