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What are Xanthones?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Xanthones are chemical compounds that occur naturally in various organic materials. For a long time, they were derived from salicyliate and used in insecticides. Now, their most common use is in natural preparations derived from the mangosteen fruit, which are said to reduce cholesterol levels and hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, as well as naturally combat cancer.

Compounds derived from the mangosteen are extracted from the rind or pericarp. They are packaged in a wide variety of natural food supplements available on the Internet and in natural foods and health food stores. Some manufacturers also make mangosteen juice, which is combined with other juices to provide a source of xanthones. Unless the pericarp is used in the juice, however, these juices will not significantly increase a consumer's intake of this chemical.

Manufacturers of xanthones claim that a daily dose of these compounds will lower cholesterol. Other claims suggest that they promote overall heart health, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, and help prevent atherosclerosis. They are also praised for their antioxidant properties.

The US Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated these claims, because these compounds are packaged as nutritional supplements, not medications. Most sites on the Internet that market mangosteen juice or supplements claim vast amounts of scientific research supporting all of the above claims. This evidence is primarily based on one study by Dr. James Duke, however, who felt mangosteen might have some antibacterial properties.

Beyond this sidebar listing in Dr. Duke’s article, there are no approved clinical studies on mangosteen, and certainly none that support claims of reducing cholesterol or promoting heart health. Other health experts have called mangosteen juice's value into question as anything other than a fruit drink. Many researchers are concerned that those suffering from cancer may be tricked into spending an excessive amount of money on something that will have no benefit.

Given the lack of clinical evidence on the value of xanthones derived from mangosteen, people who are considering using it should consult a medical professional, cardiologist, or oncologist before trying it. There is little evidence that the compounds present in mangosteen are harmful, but pregnant and nursing women should probably not use them as little is known about effects on the fetus or newborn. Using these comounds in place of other cardiac medicines is potentially disastrous, and they may interact with other medications.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By anon938886 — On Mar 11, 2014

I have my mother take a liquid supplement called Vemma (which has mangosteen in it). She has had many health issues and after taking a dose every day for three weeks she had significant results. She had improvement on her balance, strength, and memory. It also helps a lot with inflammation. It's only about 2 dollars a day for a month supply and she loves the stuff.

By anon925999 — On Jan 15, 2014

As for anon9631's comments - what doctor will tell you much of what they know about nutrition? Most of the reasons people get cancer are either related to a bad diet for many years, obesity (often related to diet), environmental carcinogens, smoking, radon, etc, and a nutritional deficiency. Through the Gerson diet many have cured themselves of cancer and many other ailments due to diet and ridding the body of toxins. Your immune system is the number one fighter of many diseases, even cancer.

Doctors in their medical training to become a doctor will be trained on drugs (FDA manufactured poisons, if you ask me) and surgeries and how to do tests on a patient relating to their symptoms. Doctors don't know everything, especially if they can't tell you what foods can help heal ailments.

By anon295974 — On Oct 09, 2012

A retired doctor friend of mine convinced me to try the Xango Juice. I have a considerable amount of arthritis behind my right kneecap due to an injury. It is quite painful. Most days I limped and sometimes was bent over, like an old person, giving in to the pain.

After just two weeks drinking the mangosteen juice I thought the pain was better. In the third week, I knew it was better. I work at a middle school and students began to notice and comment that I was walking faster.

Some noticed that I wasn't limping any more. It is great when 12 and 13 year olds pay attention and notice a life change. I never want to be without this juice -- ever again.

By anon169642 — On Apr 22, 2011

What would be Dr. Moss's feedback about pomegranate pericarp (rind)? Believe me, before I read about it in (pom wonderful) I read it in a religious book ovcer 1,400 years old, that says that pomegranate is a cure for symptom now known as GERD, and in my opinion this symptom led to cancer if not been treated. GERD is caused by many factors, but the main cause of this disease is our lifestyle, like what type of water we drink? is it chlorinated? does is contain chlorine? does it contain high levels of iron? because iron and chlorine are oxidant elements and result in toxins. does the water contain bacteria? is it more of an acidic medium or a base medium (pH)?

my reply to Dr. Moss is sorry you are far from brainwashing the open minded people because your aim is profit. And I believe in pomegranate and mangosteen. any type of sickness has a natural cure sent from god to the earth, but we have to research, experiment and investigate the right cure for the right symptom, sickness, or disease.

By anon104177 — On Aug 15, 2010

From Australia: I have just had my father die last month from cancer, and he had the utmost trust in his doctors. But they were very withdrawn when it came to answering questions.

At no stage did his chemo doctors tell him what stage he was at and what percentage he had of surviving his colorectal cancer. Their family doctor advised us that it was stage 3 approximately three to four months before his death. But they would not go into detail about certain things, crossing her fists in front of her at one stage and basically telling us she could not talk about this. (I asked about alternate cures and chances of success.)

The chemo doctor and radiotherapy doctor treating my mother who now, after 22 sessions of radiation, has had her cancer spread to stage 4 according to the most recent opinion. She had breast cancer eight years ago but was prescribed Tamoxifen and took it for five years. In a meeting with a replacement doctor he briefed another doctor in front of me and Mum and told the other doctor he suspected the Tamifoxen was responsible for her uterine cancer.

The doctors would dodge and avoid questions regarding alternate cures I asked about. But they knew he had very little chance of recovery and despite all my efforts, they managed to make him believe and led him on trying to convince him in continuing his chemo right up to his final month of life. He was either very unlucky or destined by design to die in a very awful way.

Numerous mistakes had him lose his health over a period of under one year. He got VRE at hospital after urinary tract infection. He had a prostate check go wrong and his rectum was bleeding from August 09 to December when it was made worse by a colonoscopy. Finally in January 2010 the doctors discovered he had a small cancer on the large intestine. But the doctors had him in hospital for almost three weeks and on an IV for almost the duration with two meals during the days they were not prodding with him.

I wondered if this was just incompetence or if he was being used as a training dummy. Finally they found out he did not have a problem with his prostate and his kidney problem was due to the inflammation in the rectum area. He could not empty his bladder due to the pressure on his tubes stemming from an inflamed tear that a doctor caused while doing a standard prostate check.

One thing led to another and he became weak and anemic. Then he had to have kidney stems inserted. SPC and followed by an catheter operation. The spc tube got infected and he ended up in hospital again. A tumor started to grow from the infected SPC hole and grew almost as big as a fist towards his last days.

He had a delay of eight weeks before the doctors started chemo and when asked why so long we were told that in cases like his it did not matter if treatment started earlier or later -- the outcome would be the same.

I tried to get him to take graviola but he was reluctant in believing and took it for a short time only. Then when his chemo started we were given a list of about 20 different alternate herbs or natural things he should not take as it may interfere with the chemo. So we stopped the alkaline and other graviola.

His condition was degenegating and he got multiple PE in the lungs (Blood clots). The doctor still wanted him to have more chemo but after seeing the CT scan he was called into the hospital. He stayed a while and was started on Clexane. He had a temp spike and they started him on antibiotics again. He was upset and afraid he would not leave the hospital alive.

I was called in and he booked himself out. But the nursing staff tried to prevent him leaving, at one stage posting a male nurse guard in front of his door and security officers hovering around. I made it clear that I had legal representation and they heard as they were meant to. He was released against medical advice.

We used antibiotics and I injected him with Clexane but noticed he was experiencing memory and clarity problems among other problems and an onset of weakness.

I asked a doctor if Clexine had any known side effects. I was told it did not. My father was 71 and had been bleeding for months. He had lost a lot of weight. He had had operations. And VRE as well as chemo had destroyed his immune system not to mention a cancer that was spreading even with chemo treatment.

He had a mild stroke and we had to have him taken to hospital again. The doctor for palliative care straight away advised us that he was in a very bad state and that he would not be resuscitated or sent to ICU if his condition deteriorated and if he got s heart failure or some other thing. But one of the doctors in emergency advised me that he had two to three months and that his chemo did not work as it often does not and in his case it may have made his condition and cancer worse. He also added as he looked at the other doctor not to let them tell us his kidneys were blocked or failing as he had kidney stems and they were designed not to block.

After listening to the other doctor trying to convince us he had to be let go and it was cruel to keep him alive. We decided to tell him to do what they can to keep him alive. He was placed on IV and given some blood as well as antibiotics. The nurse at one stage covered the blood bag with a pillow case. When asked why she responded "because some people get queasy when they see blood". I advised her I did not mind blood and I was in a hospital and that is what we expect to see. I waited for her to leave and had a look at the blood bag but could not see anything odd.

The following day the palliative care doctor came into the room and took some blood samples. I was going to make a comment about the amount he took as he was just given some blood and two large tubes were removed. The doctor explained he had a bug and that he would return. He did not return that day or the following. Nor did he explain what kind of bug until they called a family meeting and we were once again told he was in a very bad state even though his condition had improved a lot and he was eating and drinking as well as talking.

He was a bit confused and had not remembered what had happened for a few days. Now we were again advised that he was going to be taken off the IV and that they had used the strongest antibiotics and he now had MRSA as well.

After a bit of a conversation and a debate we managed to get the doctor to leave but we knew it was not looking good for dad. He was in pain and the nurses were hurting him when changing his dressing and washing him but he endured it. He had a problem and an altercation with a nurse and placed a complaint against her. She denied being the one.

The next day he was given double the amount of morphine and they had totally drugged him but he tried to communicate. The day after he had his head tilted to the right side and I feared another stroke or foul play. I asked the nurse what happened and if he could get less painkiller so that he could at least drink or eat. They had covered his SPC bag so that it would not be noticeable that he was not urinating as he had a lack of fluids.

I tried to feed him and give him drinks but he could only take in a little. The following day I got there early and noticed blood on his lips and in his mouth, plus his right lip was swollen and I again asked why. I was told yes I noticed that too by a nurse. He was now staring into the ceiling and his eyes seemed very dry and bulged.

That night, after receiving the pain injection, he was given another one that was meant to calm him down. He was turned into almost an vegetable. He passed away several days after this from what appeared systematic system failure. Dehydration, or a cruel and slow euthanasia. The vet puts down our pets in a more humane way -- at least it is quick.

Yes, they claimed they were out of options. But you decide if it is the way you would like to die. Now my remaining parent may have a similar ending.

So if there is any option of alternate treatment I will try it and I have just purchased some of this juice and ordered some tablets. Why? Because I could not convince my father that he was being lied to in a very cunning and sales type manner. Basically conned.

I know because I have had a lot of sales training and just about everything I was taught was used in our conversation with the doctors when I was there with my father. And in my follow up meeting with a doctor I was told some more BS. His chemo was supposed to have an effective rate of 60 percent, but in his case it may have been a mistake to proceed with it.

I have spent some money trying to get other treatments for my mother including this drink to aid in her fight if she can take it. Here it is very hard to get second opinions, as doctors do not go against doctors and referrals are required. Quite often the establishment will not work against itself.

How do I know? Well I worked for the system and have seen the insurance claims. Doctors and plaintiff doctors give a very different report about the same injury. How come? Could it be money? And how can we trust some of the professionals who are swayed by financial matters if our health is in their hands.

Oh and yes, after my father passed away, I found out that a new legislation was placed into effect regarding the coroner's investigation into deaths in hospitals and nursing homes. If the person is 72 and over, that the coroner did not have to investigate unless there was a complaint made.

I made some inquiries and was told that it has to be an official complaint. But I as a family member did not qualify. So is a doctor going to complain against a doctor? We are supposed to be better than our cruel, socialist, Third World neighbors. But are we? Makes me wonder.

Are the aged really that much of a burden for societies? So why don't we try to stay as healthy as we can, by any means possible and how about we get more open minded doctors? With the greed factor I wonder if we will ever achieve this. Individual as well as cooperatively.

I know we need money to survive but where do we draw the line? After all we cannot take our wealth with us when we pass away and it seems that there are a lot of us who still think that money is a God. It is not my God -- is it yours? So how about we use it as a tool and get more research and real cures for the illnesses we have been causing to make our children and us sick.

And I think you all know what I mean. Some of the doctors are now turning on the system to make people aware of these things but they seem to be in a minority. And as always there are those whom have vested interests.

But if they are reasonable they are still better than the ones who fear getting involved or just play along with the system because they do not wish to rock the boat and have personal interests in mind including ambitions of promotions and wealth.

I think I have made my point. Thanks for reading this post.

By anon88987 — On Jun 08, 2010

Re: "The optometrist said the astigmatism in my right eye had been corrected."

Um, impossibility. An astigmatism is a ripple on your cornea. There is no way anything could change that except for laser surgery.

I'd love to feel confident that mangosteen helps vision or whatever - but that's impossible when people allege physical impossibility.

By anon62648 — On Jan 27, 2010

I have researched xanthones (active ingredient). I determined years ago that like its cousin, quinone, it was simply and oxygen donor. This explains every single therapeutic benefit it claims.

Xanthone's healing properties are similar to many other compounds we see in the alt. markets, and is why Novartis is now marketing a carboxylated xanthone as a treatment against cancer.

Like all oxygen donors, xanthones will help you if your disease requires healing of tissues, if your disease ferments glucose, (cancer, bacteria, yeast).

if your disease is related to lack of blood flow to a tissue, (heart disease, copd) oxygen will also help your immune system reproduce white cells faster, will detoxify and chelate heavy metals, and this is why xanthone is being used across the board for different diseases, like memory problems. Well, since when didn't your brain just love oxygen?

So, lets all see the trees through the forest. Oxygen donors have merit but mixed efficacy against disease. Why? Dosing is one obstacle, the other issue is for cancer patients.

for all the oxygen in the world is meaningless if you can't absorb it and can't burn it. This is why oxygen therapies should be used in conjunction with supportive therapies, i.e., alkaline for absorption.

Krebs facilities which are: citrate, bicarbonate, peroxide, alpha lipoic acid, and coenzyme q 10.

Other substances that have similar treatment profiles are Dmso, whole aloe vera, chlorella, chlorophyll, spirulina, ozone, mms, msm, and more.

Funny how all of these contain oxygen as subunits.

Funny how all of these treat the same diseases with mixed efficacy.

Sometimes the answers are too easy. American Cancer Advocates

By anon61778 — On Jan 22, 2010

@anon3125: It is not the skeptic's responsibility to disprove an assertion. It is the believer's responsibility to prove the assertion.

It truly is amazing that one simple compound can cure some many illnesses of the human body - arthritis, constipation, headaches, glaucoma, cancers... I'm sure it will soon be proven to cure AIDS, Ebola, and the common cold. Oh, wait, I forgot. It's just fruit juice. There are no studies on the effect of xanthones in the human body, only test tube experiments for antioxidative properties.

Let me tell you something: your cutlery has antioxidant properties, too. It's what makes them not rust while sitting in the drying rack. This is not a miracle cure - if it was, the whole drug industry would be finding a way to cash in on it and you wouldn't be paying $40 for a bottle of juice. You'd be popping pills for two cents a piece. Reality, people. A dose of it every now and then is healthful, too.

By anon41292 — On Aug 13, 2009

another snake oil? that's hilarious. if you'd even consider it's positive effects, then you might see how it is a 'miracle' product used for thousands of years to heal and maintain. I believe that you may be close-minded, believing only what you're told. I use mangosteen from Genesis Today and it's been a 'miracle' for me. I'm twenty-one years old and I am not sick nor do I suffer from any diseases but I do consume mangosteen due to its high xanthone content of antioxidants and high ORAC. I feel the effects of the xanthones within minutes of consumption. I urge you to open your mind and try this product. I wouldn't be wasting my time if I didn't believe in this. I also believe in consuming pure 100 percent goji (lycium barbarum) acai, and noni juices.

By anon22447 — On Dec 03, 2008

I was diagnosed with Stage 3 pancreatic cancer in February 2005. I had a Whipple surgery and the cancer had spread to my lymph nodes. My prognosis for living longer than 60 days was "dismal". I started drinking mangosteen juice after getting home from the hospital, stopped it by physician orders during chemo and radiation, but resumed when I finished my chemo. I have been in remission for over 3 1/2 years. I believe God is the supreme decision maker of who stays and who doesn't, but I believe the mangosteen juice was as important as the surgery and chemo and radiation. I have two other people who I know personally who are in remission from a grave diagnosis of cancer who also began drinking the mangosteen juice.

By anon22017 — On Nov 26, 2008

Mangosteen is not a silver bullet, it is a supplement to help your body function like it should. And there are more than 14,000 scholarly papers written on the mangosteen and the xanthones they contain. They can be accessed on PubMed.com. So there is a lot of scientific proof that the xanthones in the mangosteen fruit are highly beneficial. Do they cure cancer? Probably not and if someone sells it as if it does should be put out of business. But we all know and understand that if we give our bodies what it needs to be healthy, it will heal itself and fight off disease itself. Unfortunately, we don't get the proper nutrition from our diets, so we all need to supplement (according to JAMA 2002).

By opinion — On Sep 10, 2008

I personally use XANGO the category-creator mangosteen juice. I have glaucoma which was diagnosed 25 years ago. I am absolutely certain that I would not have been legal to drive by the end of 2006 without this amazing product. My optometrist and ophthalmologist could confirm that my vision has improved since starting to take the juice. Would they give XANGO juice the credit - unlikely, but I know that's what made the difference. I started drinking the juice 5 months after my optometrist said a prescription change would not make a difference, as my poor vision was all due to glaucoma damage. At that point, i was using a magnifying glass to read numbers in the phone book, and that was increasingly difficult. I went to the same optometrist 9 months later, after being on the juice for 4 months, and he was able to give me a new prescription, because my vision had greatly improved. For one thing, the optometrist said the astigmatism in my right eye had been corrected. I was no longer using a magnifying glass. Twelve months later, he was able to give me a major change in the prescription for my left eye, because my vision had greatly improved.

There may not be many "clinical trial" to refer to (by the way do you realize that drug clinical trials can be flawed and results manipulated, and that the studies are funded by the drug companies? hmmm), but don't discount the personal testimonials as "bunk". I would rather die than lie, so you can believe me or not. I am sooo glad I decided I would try the juice. Now, I would rather quit eating than stop using my mangosteen juice, because it is what maintains my vision, so that I can continue to work and enjoy quality of life. If you have health problems, try it, you might be pleasantly surprised at the difference it makes for you.

By anon9631 — On Mar 10, 2008

I'm not convinced either way... its all a bunch of under-funded and little research bull. I am surviving Leukemia... best course of treatment? Go to a doctor and begin a relationship with them to find out what you need. If there are supplements to aid you in healing and treatment... guess what? You will be told, its not a conspiracy. My doctor does not look me in the eyes everyday and lies to me about what can be done. She is like another mother, taking care of me and giving me what I need to get well.

This is just more snake oil... a stupid miracle product to sell to witless people from up on a soap box. Do some better research and don't rely on a blurb and a quote to make a decision about anything.

By anon3125 — On Aug 12, 2007

Dr. Chet Moss, in an article calls mangosteen an “overpriced fruit drink.” Dr. Moss is particularly concerned with those suffering from cancer who may be bilked into spending an excessive amount of money on something that will have no benefit.

I would like to know what research he has done in order to make that statement. I guess Dr. Moss feels like he is not "bilking" cancer patients when he charges them $350.00 for "the Moss Report on your cancer" or some of his grossly over-priced books on cancer treatments.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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