An Introduction to Xanthones


Xanthones and The Mangosteen *

What are Xanthones?


Xanthones are biologically active plants phenols found in a few select tropical plants. The fruit of the mangosteen tree is the richest known source of natural xanthone compound.

The Garcinia mangostana L. plant, otherwise known as the mangosteen tree, was named after the French explorer Laurent Garcin (1683-1751). The tree is presumed to have originated in South-east Asia or Indonesia and has largely remained indigenous to this area. The mangosteen fruit is considered one of the best tasting of all fruits, and is often described as the “Queen of Tropical Fuits.”

Over the years, the mangosteen has been used in a number of different ways. The Mangosteen plant is known for its strong medicinal properties. In areas where the tree grows naturally, the mangosteen rind, leaves and bark have long been used in folk medicine. The mangosteen pericarp or rind is used for treating catarrh (inflammation of the nose or throat), cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), dysentery, eczema, fever, intestinal conditions, and skin ailments.

It is the whole fruit of the mangosteen, not just the inner flesh, that represents the greatest known supply of these tremendous beneficial xanthones. The rind, or pericarp, of the fruit is particularly rich in xanthones.  



Antioxidant Power of Xanthones

A potent antioxidant, xanthones are a family of vital phytonutrients. Research supports the role of xanthones in minor muscle pain, immune system support, joint flexibility and intestinal health.*

Previous studies and ongoing research recognize xanthones for the following benefits:

  • Bolstering of the cell’s defense against free radicals in the body and aintenance of cell integrity.9-12*  
  • Support of a healthy immune system.4, 6-8* 
  • Support of cartilage and joint function and flexibility.13-16* 
  • Maintenance of intestinal flora and regularity as well as support of intestinal health.1-5*  
  • Maintenance of a healthy seasonal respiratory system.14* 

  The Research

1. Begum N, Gopalakrishnan C, Subramanian S, Shankaranarayanan D, Kameswaran L. Anti-ulcer and anti microbial activities of Gartanin, a xanthone from Garcinia Mangostana Linn. . Bull Islam. 1982;2(20):518-521 2. Caius J. The Medicinal and Poisonous Plants of India. Jodhpur, India: Scientific Publishers; 1986. 3. Garnett M, Sturton S. G. mangostana in the treatment of amoebic dysentery. Chines Med J. 1932;46(10):969-973 4. Chopra R, Nayar S, Chopra I. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants. New Delhi; 1956. 5. Kirtikar K, Basu B. Indian Medicinal Plants. Vol 1. Dehra Dun, India: International Book Distributors; 1999. 6. Chanarat P, Chanarat N, Fujihara M, Nagumo T. Immunopharmacological activity of polysaccharide from the pericarp of mangosteen garcinia: phagocytic intracellular killing activities. Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand - Chotmaihet thangphaet J Med Assoc Thai. 1997/09// 1997;80 Suppl 1:S149-154. 7. Chen SX, Wan M, Loh BN. Active constituents against HIV-1 protease from Garcinia mangostana. Planta Med. 1996/08// 1996;62(4):381-382. 8. Gopalakrishnan G, Banumathi B, Suresh G. Evaluation of the antifungal activity of natural xanthones from Garcinia mangostana and their synthetic derivatives. J Nat Prod. 1997/05// 1997;60(5):519-524. 9. Mahabusarakam W, Proudfoot J, Taylor W, Croft K. Inhibition of lipoprotein oxidation by prenylated xanthones derived from mangostin. Free Radic Res. 2000/11// 2000;33(5):643-659. 10. Williams P, Ongsakul M, Proudfoot J, Croft K, Beilin L. Mangostin inhibits the oxidative modification of human low density lipoprotein. Free Radic Res. 1995/08// 1995;23(2):175-184. 11. Yoshikawa M, Harada E, Miki A, et al. Antioxidant constituents from the fruit hulls of mangosteen. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1994;114(2):129-133. 12. Leong L, Shui G. An investigation of antioxidant capacity of fruits in Singapore markets. Food Chemistry. 2002;76:69-75. 13. Nabandith V, Suzui M, Morioka T, et al. Inhibitory effects of crude alpha-mangostin, a xanthone derivative, on two different categories of colon preneoplastic lesions induced by 1, 2-dimethylhydrazine in the rat. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2004;5(4):433-438. 14. Nakatani K, Atsumi M, Arakawa T, et al. Inhibitions of histamine release and prostaglandin E2 synthesis by mangosteen, a Thai medicinal plant. Biol Pharm Bull. 2002/09// 2002;25(9):1137-1141. 15. Nakatani K, Nakahata N, Arakawa T, Yasuda H, Ohizumi Y. Inhibition of cyclooxygenase and prostaglandin E2 synthesis by gamma-mangostin, a xanthone derivative in mangosteen, in C6 rat glioma cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 2002/01/01/ 2002;63(1):73-79. 16. Nakatani K, Yamakuni T, Kondo N, et al. gamma-Mangostin inhibits inhibitor-kappaB kinase activity and decreases lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 gene expression in C6 rat glioma cells. Mol Pharmacol. 2004;66(3):667-674.


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.