Xanthones are a group of naturally-produced chemical compounds that are found in some plants. Over 70 different xanthones have been identified by chemists, which provide remarkable and diverse pharmacological effects such as anti-oxidant, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral activities.
Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana Linn., GML), a well-known tropical fruit, is indigenous to Southeast Asia but can be found in most tropical countries. This fruit exhibits a variety of pharmacological activities.
Xanthones are a group of oxygen-containing heterocyclic compounds first discovered and isolated in 1855 by a German scientists performing research on dysentery. Xanthones were named after the Greek word for yellow, xanthos. Xanthones are actually a yellow pigment with the highest concentrations occurring in the mangosteen fruit.
According to the research, the most intense source of xanthones originate in nature is in the Pericarp of the mangosteen fruit. Mangosteen pericarp contains high concentration of Xanthone, considered one of the most powerful antioxidants.
There are two types of xanthones in this fruit – alpha mangosteen and gamma mangosteen.
As of 2008, over 68 xanthone-type compounds had reportedly been derived from GML. Of these, α-mangostin, β-mangostin, γ-mangostin, garcinone E, and gartanin are more effecitve.
Research performed by Brunswick Laboratories in Massachusetts revealed that consumption of xanthone rich substances, such as mangosteen juice, can offer beneficial antioxidant properties.
Xanthones and their derivatives have been shown to have several benefits, including anti-inflammatory. Xanthones are an effective remedy against various cardiovascular diseases. These antioxidants have healing properties which heal cells damaged by free radicals, slow down aging and ward off degenerative diseases and physical and mental deterioration.
Research has shown that consumption of xanthones can offer protection against various forms of cancer. A study performed at the Gifu International Institute of Biotechnology in Japan revealed that the xanthones contained within the mangosteen fruit inhibited growth and proliferation against human leukemia cells. Additional investigation by researchers at Khon Kaen University in Thailand revealed that xanthones offered significant inhibition of growth and proliferation of malignant cells associated with cholangiocarcinoma. Cholangiocarcinoma is a malignant tumor in one of the ducts that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.
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