Anthraquinones is a potent aromatic compound that besides being used commercially it offers numerous therapeutic benefits such as inhibits cancer growth by inducing apoptosis, relive constipation, ease bowl movement etc. Anthraquinones are found naturally in some plants such as senna, buckthorn, yellow dock etc while it can also be produced using chemical routes such as anthracene oxidation, naphthalene oxidation, condensation of 1, 4-naphthoquinone with butadiene etc. However its intake should strictly be regulated since it may cause some serious side effects.
Academic Editor: Yanyan Jiang, Professor in School of Materials Science and Engineering, Shandong University, China.
Checked for plagiarism: Yes
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Copyright © 2019 Nida Tabassum Khan
The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
Anthraquinones are aromatic carbon-based complexes that are present in few herbs and edible plants either as anthrones or bianthrones 1. Anthraquinones and its derivatives are widely used in vat pigments/dyes, as additives in paper and pulp industry, in seed treatment method, as pesticides, in the production of hydrogen peroxide etc 2. In addition anthraquinones also contain healing and anticancerous properties 3 (Figure 1).
Enlisted Below are some Plants that are Enriched with Anthraquinones
Chemical Based Production of Anthraquinones
Several methods for the synthesis of anthraquinones is employed such as
Anthracene oxidation with concentrated nitric acid 6.
Chemical preparation of anthraquinones from benzene and phthalic anhydride 7.
Naphthalene oxidation with butadiene followed by dehydrogenation to obtain the desired anthraquinones 8.
Dimerization of styrene with phosphoric acid followed by vapor phase oxidation 9.
Anthracene oxidation either with chromic acid in sulfuric acid (48%) or oxidation with air 10.
Condensation of 1, 4-naphthoquinone with butadiene 11.
Anthraquinones is listed as one of the mostly consumed chemical in the United States which produces approximately 5000–25 000 tons of anthraquinones annually 12.
Medicinal Properties of Anthraquinones
Health Benefits of Anthraquinones
Anthraquinones is used for the treatment of various medical conditions which is as follows:
Treatment of Constipation
Treatment of Cancer
Side Effects of Anthraquinones
Long term use of anthraquinones might have notable side effects some of which are as follows:
Development of Melanesia coli, a condition in which the colon lining takes on a dark brownish black hue increasing the risk for cancer 20.
Anthraquinone dependency is developed in individuals who has been using it as a laxative over prolonged periods 21.
Hypokalemia, muscle damage, dehydration, kidney damage ,miscarriage due to reflex contractions in the uterus during pregnancy etc are some clinical condition that may occur due to prolonged use of anthraquinones 24, 25
Thus anthraquinone is for therapeutic purposes found to be naturally occurring in plants .However its prolonged use may have some side effects therefore its intake should be under doctor’s supervision.