When Frank Sharrott of Hartselle was diagnosed with leukemia, he opted to try to heal himself naturally. And he found a way that worked for him — XanGo.
Glass is half full for XanGo supporters
Some locals say the fruit drink has ‘cured’ ailments from acne to arthritis, including a Hartselle man who used it to survive leukemia
By Danielle Komis
anGo is just a bottle of juice.
But for its fans, it’s not “just” a juice. They call it a “miracle” or “God’s juice.”
A number of people in North Alabama have turned away from mainstream medicine and have instead turned to this bottled supplement. Many of them religiously take the natural remedy for various ailments, often after frustrating bouts with modern medicine that brought no relief.
Mangosteen juice has helped 74-year-old Frank Sharrott of Hartselle thrive despite leukemia, his sister Gail Puckett find relief from arthritis and heartburn, and their friend Shelby Powell get her voice back, they say. And dozens of other locals also can share their own stories with the juice.
“If I was Bill Gates, I would give everybody bottles of this juice and see what it does for them,” Puckett said. “It’s just really miraculous.”
Mangosteen juice — the coveted ingredient in XanGo brand fruit drink, which also contains juices from other fruits — comes from a fruit found in Eastern Asia packed with powerful antioxidants called xanthones. Users claim these xanthones improved a number of ailments, from acne to digestive problems to cancer. The mangosteen fruit is not related to the mango.
Did mangosteen possibly play a role in curing these ailments?
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
A plastic replica of the mangosteen fruit that is an ingredient in XanGo. The fruit is not related to the mango.
Dave Grotto, an American Dietetic Association spokesman, says the answer could be yes. But, he said, “we don’t have research that shows it.” Most of the findings have been anecdotal, he said.
“To depend on a drink as the be-all end-all ... to those who have leukemia or any other kind of cancer ... there’s not really literature to support that,” Grotto said.
“The list is as long as my arm for (food and drink products) offering hope and varying trusting claims,” he said. “There’s no doubt about it that food has been used as medicine ... Unfortunately, we don’t see a lot of consistency with a particular food or drink.”
When Sharrott was diagnosed with leukemia in 1994, doctors recommended chemotherapy and radiation. He refused.
“I told them “I can’t do that,’ ” he said. “I’m not going to die that way.”
A friend of Sharrott’s recently had not lived through the treatments.
Instead, Sharrott opted to try to heal himself naturally. He adopted a strict vegetarian diet known as “The Hallelujah Diet,” in which he ate almost nothing but fresh, green, uncooked vegetables. It succeeded in lowering his white blood cell count drastically — a good sign for the type of leukemia Sharrott has.
But when Sharrott’s wife was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease a few years ago, he wasn’t able to devote the necessary time to the strict diet anymore. He slowly slipped off it and became weak. He closed his cabinetry business because he no longer had the energy to keep up with it.
Then, a friend told him about mangosteen juice.
The company XanGo was offering a 21-day challenge. If he drank a bottle a day for 21 days and didn’t feel better, the company guaranteed his money back. Each bottle is not cheap — they cost about $40 each, or $30 at the discounted wholesale price.
“I was just like everyone else — skeptical,” Sharrott said.
But for 21 days, he drank a bottle of the juice and a gallon of purified water. When he went to his doctor, the news was good. His elevated white blood cell count had dropped by 1,100 cells — or about 7 percent. He felt like “a new man.”
Daily photo by Jonathan Palmer|
Shelby Powell of Hartselle used a few ounces of XanGo per day to bring back her voice, which had disappeared mysteriously for months. Doctors had told her the only thing that would help her at that point was surgery.
Spreading the word
Ever since, Sharrott has been on his feet and on the move.
He continues to run a cabinetry business and take care of his ailing wife (whose condition also improved somewhat, thanks to the juice, he says) and has managed to spread the word about mangosteen juice to a number of his family and friends and hundreds of others since he began distributing it. (It can be purchased in health food stores, ordered online, or ordered through individuals who sign up to distribute it, such as Sharrott.)
For his friend Shelby Powell of Hartselle, just a few ounces of XanGo per day (the 21-day, bottle-a-day treatment is recommended only for extreme cases) brought back her voice, which had disappeared mysteriously for months. Doctors had told her the only thing that would help her at that point was surgery.
“If it had come from anyone but Frank, I wouldn’t have invested the money in it,” she said. “We knew he wouldn’t lie to us.”
Along with Sharrott, Powell also is a XanGo distributor now, which enables her to purchase it cheaper. The makers of the juice use a network marketing strategy to sell the juice in which distributors such as Powell make money off their own sales. The seller also gets a percentage of the sales of his or her entire “downline.”
However, Powell and Sharrott insist they do not distribute XanGo for their own profit. They sell it to family and friends for the price at which they purchase it. Sharrott said he often gives friends a bottle to try, and asks them to pay him only if it helps them.
The juice has helped most of his family and friends in some way, though there also is a smaller amount of people who report no health benefits, Sharrott said.
“That’s a complicated machine, really, your body,” he said. “Just some people ... it just does not do for them like it does for someone else.”
ADA spokeswoman Dee Sandquist said, “Any increase of fruit or vegetables in the diet is going to help the immune system, so without any research it’s really difficult to know” how it changed the body.
Others say the high cost prevents them from making it part of their health routine.
Sharrott takes about 6 ounces per day now and also gives some to his wife. He typically goes through one bottle in three days.
Treating the symptoms
While people are usually skeptical of mangosteen juice, doctors are typically even more skeptical, and don’t seem to want to listen to testimonies of natural alternatives, Sharrott said.
Sharrott marvels at mainstream medicine in general, because its proponents seem interested only in eliminating symptoms with prescription drugs or invasive surgeries that sometimes do more harm than good, he said.
“You don’t get leukemia, breast cancer or colon cancer because you need radiation or chemotherapy,” he said. “There’s no cure in that stuff ... They’ve got this sidelined to being voodoo if you do anything other than what the doctor says. But I’ve gotten a lot of good years from doing other than what the doctors do.”
For Sharrott, mangosteen is his miracle — one that has allowed him to live long enough to care for his ailing wife — a reprieve for which he is grateful. If he hadn’t found out about mangosteen juice, he knows exactly where he would be right now.
“I would’ve been dead,” he said. “I know how I felt. I was sick. I laid in bed. I laid on the couch. I just was out of it. I didn’t even want to do anything ... I sincerely, honestly believe I would be gone now.”
What is XanGo?
XanGo fruit drink contains mangosteen juice, which is packed with xanthones. Xanthones possess antioxidant properties that some users claim have helped heal ailments ranging from asthma to acne to cancer.
Like other natural supplements, XanGo fruit juice is not subject to the Food and Drug Administration, and none of its claims are approved by the FDA. Mangosteen juice also is marketed by companies other than XanGo that produce it in juice form or capsule form, which is often less expensive than the juice.
XanGo fruit juice sells for about $40 per bottle. If you take 1 to 3 ounces per day, it will last for about one month. XanGo and other mangosteen supplements can be purchased online or at your local health food store.
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