Psoriasis is an autoimmune condition characterized by inflammation, scales, and plaques on the skin. It affects at least 3% of U.S. adults.

While there’s no cure for this chronic skin condition, symptom management often involves multiple treatment approaches with varying results.

Aside from conventional therapies for psoriasis treatment, there is often curiosity about the potential of alternative treatments. Mangosteen, a tropical fruit, has been touted as possibly being able to help treat psoriasis.

While some research underscores mangosteen’s potential as an anti-inflammatory, its ability to help treat psoriasis isn’t yet clear.

This article will take a closer look at what’s known about mangosteen’s effectiveness as an alternative treatment for psoriasis — and what to discuss with your doctor if you want to try this therapy.

Mangosteen is a fruit derived from the Garcinia mangostana L. tree, which is native to Southeast Asia.

Also sometimes called “purple mangosteen,” this fruit is not only an integral part of traditional medicine in the region, but supplemental forms have also become popular worldwide. You may see mangosteen supplements in the form of capsules, tablets, and premade beverages.

A key active ingredient in this fruit is a compound called xanthone. According to one review, it’s thought that xanthones may have the following biological effects in humans:

While related clinical studies and reviews are ongoing, it’s important to note that, to date, mangosteen has not been proven to treat any health condition.

Psoriasis causes inflammation that not only impacts the skin’s normal rate of skin cell turnover and subsequent symptoms, but may impact other tissues and organs as well.

The reason mangosteen has garnered so much interest is due to its anti-inflammatory effects on the body. While older research points to mangosteen as possibly disrupting inflammatory pathways in the body, the research involving xanthones and inflammatory skin conditions is relatively new.

According to a more recent review, the anti-inflammatory effects of xanthones have the potential to possibly support psoriasis treatment. Researchers also note that xanthones may be beneficial in the treatment of acne, atopic dermatitis (eczema), and skin cancer.

Still, the current literature on mangosteen and psoriasis primarily includes rodent subjects, highlighting a lack of human studies.

One human study does suggest that mangosteen could reduce general inflammation in the body, but this particular study wasn’t psoriasis-specific.

What researchers did find was that participants who drank a mangosteen beverage for 30 days showed decreased levels of inflammation in their blood. This included a 46% decrease in C-reactive protein levels — a substance produced by the liver in response to inflammation.

While xanthones in mangosteen may potentially reduce general inflammation in autoimmune diseases like psoriasis, there’s no current evidence that it can reduce the immune system activity that causes the underlying inflammation.

Like other herbal supplements, it’s not clear whether mangosteen is entirely safe for everyone. It’s important to discuss the use of mangosteen with a doctor before you try it, especially if you’re already taking other vitamins, supplements, or medications.

Currently, there’s not enough information available to determine whether mangosteen interacts with medications for psoriasis. However, experts caution against taking mangosteen if you take:

Experts also warn against taking mangosteen if you’re undergoing radiation therapy.

Your doctor can advise you of potential interactions, and whether it’s safe to try mangosteen despite the lack of evidence supporting it as a psoriasis treatment.

The authors of the study that investigated the effects of drinking mangosteen suggest that mangosteen is safe for long-term use. They noted that study participants didn’t show any signs of liver or kidney side effects.

However, additional human studies are needed to determine whether mangosteen supplements are generally safe.

Psoriasis is typically treated with a combination of prescription medications, such as:

A doctor may also recommend certain over-the-counter medications or home remedies to complement prescription psoriasis drugs. Examples include:

  • hydrocortisone creams to help reduce inflammation and itchiness
  • heavy moisturizers or ointments to help keep your skin hydrated and less scaly
  • salicylic acid or lactic acid-containing products to help loosen scales
  • coal tar products to reduce inflammation, scaling, and itching

Although the exact cause of psoriasis is unknown, avoiding common triggers may help reduce flare-ups. Some common triggers include:

  • stress
  • skin injuries
  • infections
  • some medications
  • alcohol consumption
  • cold weather
  • sunburn

The mangosteen fruit has a long history as a possible anti-inflammatory treatment, with supplements available in a variety of forms in health food stores and online.

Although some users may claim mangosteen is helpful in reducing inflammation, much more research needs to be done to determine whether it can provide any real relief for psoriasis. The long-term safety of mangosteen use is also unknown.

If you’re interested in adding mangosteen to your current psoriasis treatment plan, talk with a doctor first. They can help address any safety issues, including possible interactions with medications you’re currently taking.