Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors are currently the only approved therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, only a limited number of drugs are commercially available. A library of non-alkaloidal natural compounds was investigated. To this end, a convenient microtitre plate method for assaying AChE inhibition, which allows a complete kinetic analysis of AChE inhibitors, was developed. Seven active compounds with Ki values in the micromolar range were identified, six of which were xanthones. This is the first report that a promising potential for AChE inhibition exists in such non-nitrogenous natural compounds. Furthermore, four xanthones among these xanthones had already been described as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors, making then dual AChE/MAO inhibitors of great interest.