A little known tropical fruit could be a way of treating schizophrenia

A fruit vendor with mangosteens in Bangkok. AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Australian researchers are trialing an extract of a tropical fruit, mangosteens, found in SE Asia, as a treatment for schizophrenia.

Sometimes known as the “Queen of Tropical Fruits”, the mangosteen has a sweet and juicy white flesh.

Previous research has indicated antioxidants in the fruit’s purple rind might provide a safe treatment for psychosis.

“This is a gentle and safe intervention which evidence so far suggests could improve symptoms, and it’s important we investigate its potential as a matter of urgency,” says the Queensland Brain Institute’s Professor John McGrath.

“We aren’t suggesting this is a wonder drug, but we must investigate potential new treatments which are safe, effective and don’t have the current medication’s side-effects like weight gain, which can lead to other major health problems.”

The research will include a trial with 150 people with schizophrenia over the next two years in Brisbane at the University of Queensland and in Geelong with Deakin University.

Antioxidants are thought to work because they restrict potentially damaging free radicals.

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