Properties of Xanthones

Mangosteen Juice contains a large number of biologically active substances including vitamins, catechins (potent antioxidants), polysaccharides and stilbenes.

However, the excitement in the scientific community generated by the medicinal potential (over 50 journal articles) has not been stimulated by the above-mentioned compounds, all of which can be found in other foods and supplements. What makes mangosteen juice unique and a category creator in the world of food supplements is a new class of chemical compounds known as xanthones. The properties of xanthones is the subject of the majority of the research on the mangosteen. There are over 200 known xanthones in nature, and over 40 are found in the mangosteen.

Until the advent of Mangosteen Juice on the North American nutritional supplement scene, xanthones have not been available as supplements despite their many documented benefits.

What are the Properties of Xanthones?
Xanthones are a biologically active group of molecules and possess a six-carbon conjugated ring structure with multiple double carbon bonds that make the xanthone molecule very stable.* It has been stated that, "xanthones show considerable biological activity, and it is surprising that none has so far had an established use in medicine."**

The properties of xanthones of the mangosteen have been widely studied by researchers around the world. Garcinia Mangostana's xanthones are still being investigated, but to date approximately 40 have been identified and several of them intensely studied. One study indicated the following pharmacological properties of xanthones: antidepressant, antituberculotic, antimicrobial (bacteria and fungus), antiviral, antileukemic, antitumor, antiulcer and antidiabetic.***


*Govindachari TR KP, Muthukumaraswamy N. Xanthones of Garcinia mangostana Linn. Tetrahedron. 1971;27:3919-3926.

Jefferson A QA, Scheinmann F, Sim KY. Isolation of gamma-mangostin from Garcinia mangostana and preparation of the natural mangostins by selective demethylation. Aust J Chem. 1970;23(12):2539-2543.

**Baxter H. Phytochemical Dictionary - A Handbook of Bioactive Compounds from Plants. London: Taylor & Frost;1983.

***Peres V NT, Faustino de Oliveira F. Tetraoxygenated naturally occuring xanthones. Phytochemistry. 2000;55:683-710.


Properties of Xanthones

A few of the most-studied mangosteen xanthones are:
1. Alpha-mangostin
2. Gamma-mangostin
3. Garcinone E

The entire fruit contains xanthones, however, the pericarp (rind/ peel) of the fruit contains the highest concentrations of xanthones. Investigations of the pericarp alone have identified the following xanthones:*

1. 1,3,6,7 tetrahydroxyxanthone
2. 2,4,5-trihydroxy-l-methoxyxanthone
3. 1,2,4,5-tetraoxygenated xanthone
4. 3-methylbut-2-enyl xanthone
5. Garcinone A
6. Garcinone B
7. Garcinone C
8. Garcinone D
9. Garcinone E
10. 1,3,5,8-tetraoxygenated xanthone
11. Gartanin
12. 8-deoxygartanin
13. 5,9-dihydroxy-2,2-dimethyl-8-methoxy-7- (3-methylbut-2-enyl)-2H,6H-pyronol(3,2- b)santhen-6-one
14. Calabaxanthone
15. Demethylcalaba-xanthone
16. 1, 5, 8-trihydroxy-3-m ethoxy-2-(3 -m ethylbut-2-enyl) xanthone
17. 1-isomangostin
18. 3-isomangostin
19. 1-isomangostin hydrate
20. 3-isomangostin hydrate
21. BR-xanthone-A
22. BR-xanthone-B
23. 1,3,6,7-tetrahydroxy-oglucosylxanthone
24. 2,3,4,4,6-pentahydroxybenzophenone (maclurin)
25. 1,5-dihydroxy-2-(3-methylbut-2-enyl)-3- metboxy xanthone
26. 1,7-dihydroxy-2-(3-methylbut-2-enyl)-3- methoxy xanthone
27. Alpha mangostin
28. Beta mangostin
29. Gamma mangostin
30. 6-deoxy-gamma-mangostin
31. Mangostanol 12
32. Garcimangosone A
33. Garcimangosone B
34. Garcimangosone C
35. Mangostenone A
36. Mangostinone
37. (2-isoprenyl- I , 7-diydroxy-3-methoxy xanthone)

As mentioned previously, xanthones are not the only biologically active substances in the mangosteen. Catechins and other classes of polyphenols (powerful antioxidants) are present in significant quantities. Other key ingredients, like polysaccharides, are apparently responsible for some of the antibacterial and antifungal effects of the fruit.

Finally, potassium, phosphorus (for kidney patients, please note that potassium and phosphorus levels in the fruit are not dangerous at the minimum recommended serving of one ounce daily which contains 25mg of potassium), calcium, iron and vitamins BI, B2, B6 and C are found in the fruit as well.**

However, it is recommend that consumers still take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement daily since the fruit juice does not provide adequate supplemental amounts of vitamins and minerals.


*Bennet G LH. Xanthones from Guttiferae. Phytochemistry. 1989;28:967-998

**Duke J. CRC handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Florida: CRC Press, Inc.;1986.


Properties of Xanthones - Antiviral effects
Viruses account for the majority of human infections, many of which are acute, short-lived illnesses like colds. Other viruses are never eliminated from the body but persist for years in chronic Infections like herpes, HIV and hepatitis. Viruses are the smallest of all pathogens, barely visible under an electron microscope.

Xanthones, as a class of chemicals, have demonstrated to possess antiviral capabilities.* Scientists at the National University of Singapore investigated the effects the properties of xanthones would have on the HIV virus.

For the HIV virus to be active, an enzyme called HIV protease has to put the finishing touches on the immature virus. In the experiment, two xanthones demonstrated the ability to interfere with HIV protease, causing the virus to remain immature and incapable of infection.**

More research is being conducted on this novel properties of xanthones. However, it is not unreasonable to postulate that xanthones may inhibit the replication of viruses in a similar manner.

Properties of Xanthones - Antibacterial Effects
The World Bank has a think tank of experts who regularly consider all of the world's serious challenges and prioritize them. In 2002, these experts felt that the integrity of the world's water supply was the earth's top problem. However, the number two spot was the problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

The fact is that bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics faster than pharmaceutical companies are producing new agents. For example, some strains of the staphylococcus aureus bacteria, which were the first bacteria to become resistant to penicillin, are now resistant to vancomycin, the most powerful intravenous drug used to treat them. No other drug had yet been marketed with the outright ability to kill the resistant form of this bacteria. ***

Part of the reason no new drugs are available to treat such "superbugs" is that pharmaceutical firms are not developing antibiotics as they used to. Several antibiotics have recently been withdrawn from the market after lawsuits cost the companies millions. Their bottom lines are dictating that they no longer engage in vigorous antibiotic research and development. This fact leaves the world without new therapeutic alternatives at a time when pharmaceuticals are already losing the battle against bacteria. Hence the concern expressed by the World Bank experts.

This problem of bacterial resistance needs the help of phytoceuticals if we are to hold our own against these formidable enemies. To put the battle into perspective, if you weighed all the human beings on the planet (human biomass) and then weighed all the bacteria on the planet, the bacterial biomass, would dwarf the human biomass. Bacteria are everywhere and human beings are one of their primary sources of food. We need to support our immune system daily against their initial attacks before an infection becomes serious.


*Vlietinck A DBT, Apers S, Pieters L. Plant-derived leading compunds for chemotherapy of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Planta Med. 1998;64:97-109

**Chen S WM, Loh B. Active constituents aginst HIV-1 protease from Garcinia mangostana. Planta Med. 1996;62:381-382

***Iinuma M, Tosa H, Tanaka T, et al. Antibacterial activity of xanthones from guttiferaeous plants against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. J Pharm Pharmacol. Aug 1996;48(8):861-865


Mangosteen, with its properties of xanthones, clearly has the capacity to do so. It has repeatedly demonstrated antibacterial properties in the laboratory.*

Scientists from Thailand studied the antibiotic properties of xanthones found in mangosteen. One group investigated the effect the properties of xanthones had upon the staphylococcus aureus bacteria, both the ordinary and the antibiotic-resistant strains. The study showed that the xanthones drastically inhibited reproduction of the bacteria.**

A second group of researchers in a Thai medical school discovered that the polysaccharides in the rind of the mangosteen stimulate phagocytic white blood cells (PMN's and monocytes)to become more efficient at killing bacteria.***


*Begum N NS, Gopalakrishnan C, Kameswaran L. Anti ulcer and anti microbial activities of Gartanin, a xanthone from Garcinia mangostana Linn. Bull Islam. 1982;2(20):518-521

Sundaram BM, Gopalakrishnan C, Subramaniam S, Shankaranarayanan D, Kameswaran L. Antimicrobial activities of Garcinia mangostana. Planta Med. May 1983;48(1):59-60

**Mahabusarakam W IP, Saowaluk P. Antimicrobial activities of chemical constituents from Garcinia mangostana Linn. J. Sci. Soc. Thailand. 1986;12:239-242

***Chanarat P, Chanarat N, Fujihara M, Nagumo T. Immunopharmacological activity of polysaccharide from the pericarb of mangosteen garcinia: phagocytic intracellular killing activities. J Med Assoc Thai. Sep 1997;80 Suppl 1:S149-154


Other experiments have shown that salmonella typhi and the tuberculosis bacteria are also destroyed by mangosteen xanthones.*

Still another group extracted mangostin front the pericarp of the mangosteen fruit and tested it against staphylococcus aureus from admitted patients in Songkhlanagarind Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Their study showed that, "mangostin was the most potent," and that "it possessed a minimum inhibitory concentration, which was equal to vancomycin."**

Finally, another laboratory studied the effectiveness of alpha mangostin, beta-mangostin and garcinone B (xanthones from the mangosteen pericarp) against mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for causing tuberculosis. The Study reported that, "alpha and beta mangostin and garcinone B exhibited strong inhibitory effect against mycobacterium tuberculosis.***


*Chanarat P, Chanarat N, Fujihara M, Nagumo T. Immunopharmacological activity of polysaccharide from the pericarb of mangosteen garcinia: phagocytic intracellular killing activities. J Med Assoc Thai. Sep 1997;80 Suppl 1:S149-154

**Phongpaichit S OM, Nilrat L, Tharavichitkul P, Bunchoo S, Chuaprapaisilp T, Wiriyachitra P. Antibacterial activities of extracts from Garcinia mangostana pericarp on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and enterococcus species. Songklanakarin Journal of Sciences and Technology. 1994;16(4):399-405.

***Suksamrarn S, Suwannapoch N, Phakhodee W, et al. Antimycobacterial activity of prenylated xanthones from the fruits of Garcinia mangostana. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). Jul 2003;51(7):857-859


Properties of Xanthones - Antiparasitic effects
Syphilis, malaria and amebic dysentery are caused by parasites. Asian healers have used properties of xanthones found in mangosteen for centuries to deal with those illnesses.*

In South America, properties of xanthones found in mangosteen is also used to cure intestinal worm infestations. Laboratory research to confirm these practices or results, however, is not available.

Properties of Xanthones - Antifungal activity
Fact: systemic fungal infections have increased 800% in the past decade. In those patients admitted to intensive care units (ICU's), the mortality rate is from 40-60%.

The day is long past when fungal infections which killed were unknown. The itch between our toes, vulvovaginitis, jock itch, thrush or ringworm may still be the most common manifestations of fungal infection, but fungi are not harmless and, with alarming frequency, they are becoming much more than simple nuisances.

The properties of xanthones of the mangosteen were tested experimentally against three common fungi and were proven capable of effectively inhibiting their growth.** While potent effects in laboratory settings cannot properly be extrapolated to predict benefits in people, do we wait until such proof is available before attempting to protect ourselves? In the case of fungi, an ounce of protection with the daily intake of mangosteen juice may be worth not a pound, but a ton of prevention and treatment.


*Kirtikar KR BD. Indian Medicinal Plants. Dehra Dun, India: International Book Distributors.;1999

Farnsworth N. Thai Medicinal Plants. Bangkok: Medicinal Plant Information Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mahidol University.;1992

**Gopalakrishnan G, Banumathi B, Suresh G. Evaluation of the antifungal activity of natural xanthones from Garcinia mangostana and their synthetic derivatives. J Nat Prod. May 1997;60(5):519-524


NOTE: One of the reasons for designing this website is to educate visitors on the benefits of daily consumption of Pure Mangosteen Juice. It is also a web site sharing resources and info about mangosteen juice benefits and Xanthones.

Mangosteen is a fruit. The health benefits from mangosteen due to xanthones have been shown in laboratory studies to be powerful antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and to have other special properties.

However, laboratory results do not guarantee that the same will happen in the human body. Mangosteen is a supplement and not a drug; therefore, no one can say that mangosteen juice benefits include a cure, treat, or prevent any specific condition or symptom the way a drug prescription is administered by a qualified health practitioner.

The United States government, however, has determined and stated that increasing the amount of plant-based foods and supplements in our diet improves our health and decreases the incidence of chronic disease. Look at the available science on the mangosteen and then answer for yourself - Does mangosteen juice make sense for you?

The only way to find out what mangosteen will do for you is to begin taking it. In the case of mental illness, it is important to do this with the assistance of a qualified professional.

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