encyclopedia

Magnolia Bark and Flowers

Scientific Names:
Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et Wils., Magnolia glauca Linnι; Magnolia acuminata Linnι; Magnolia grandiflora Linnι; Magnolia cordata Michaux; Magnolia macrophylla Michaux; Magnolia obovata, Magnolia denudata, and other species of Magnolia [Fam. Magnoliaceζ]

Forms:
Aqueous alcohol extract of bark, flowers and buds

Traditional Usage:
– Abnormal Growths

– Allergies

– Anti-anxiety

– Anti-inflammatory

– Antioxidant

– Chest Pain

– Cleansing

– Detoxification

– Digestive Problems

– Emotional Distress

– Energy Loss

– Fainting

– Heart Health Maintenance

– Hormonal Imbalances

– Inflammation

– Insomnia

– Muscle tension

– Nervousness

– Obesity

– Stress and restlessness

– Tension

– Tension Headaches

– Weight Reduction

Overview:
Magnolia bark, Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et Wils., M. glauca L. and other Magnolia species [Fam. Magnoliaceζ], is a traditional Chinese medicine known as houpu or hou po used since 100 A.D. for treating “stagnation of qi” (low energy) as well as a variety of syndromes, such as digestive disturbances caused by emotional distress and emotional turmoil. All magnolia species have been found to have similar active ingredients and are used interchangeably. The bark and flowers of Sweet Bay Magnolia, M. glauca L., are also recommended for treating chest pain and fainting, although no studies have been done to substantiate their effectiveness for treating these problems. Magnolia bark is generally used as an anti-stress and anti-anxiety agent. Medical research indicates that magnolia’s anti-stress benefits are linked to it’s ability to control levels of the body’s primary stress hormone, cortisol. Myriad health benefits are associated with normal cortisol levels versus elevated cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels are associated with conditions including obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory problems and suppressed immune function. Magnolia bark is rich in two biphenol compounds, (magnolol and honokiol), which are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-lowering effects of the plant. Two of the most popular herbal medicines used in Japan, one called saiboku-to and another called hange-kobuku-to, contain magnolia bark and have been used for treating ailments from bronchial asthma to depression to anxiety. Japanese researchers have determined that the magnolol and honokiol components of Magnolia officinalis are one thousand times more potent than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in their antioxidant activity, thereby offering a potential heart-health benefit. Research has shown both magnolol and honokiol to possess powerful “brain-health” benefits via their actions in modulating the activity of various neurotransmitters and related enzymes in the brain (increased choline acetyltransferase activity, inhibition of acetylcholinesterase, and increased acetylcholine release).

Active Ingredients:
Magnolia bark is rich in two biphenol compounds, (magnolol and honokiol) which are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-lowering effects of the plant. The magnolol content of magnolia bark is generally in the range of 2-10 percent, while honokiol tends to occur naturally at 1-5 percent in dried magnolia bark. Magnolia bark also contains a bit less than 1 percent of an essential oil known as eudesmol, which is classified as a triterpene compound, and may provide some additional benefits as an antioxidant.

Suggested Amount:
The typical dosage recommended for a magnolia bark is 3-9 grams of dried bark taken as a decoction (hot-water extract as with a tea). Standardized extracts are taken with a dosage ranging from 250-750 mg daily (standardized for the primary active ingredients, typically 1-2 percent honokiol and magnolol).

Drug Interactions:
Do not use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Contraindications:
Contraindicated for use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Side Effects:
No significant toxicity or adverse effects have been associated with traditional use of magnolia bark. However, do not operate heavy machinery while using magnolia bark.

References:

Ikeda K, Sakai Y, Nagase H. 2003. Inhibitory effect of magnolol on tumour metastasis in mice. Phytother Res. 2003 Sep; 17(8): 933-7.

Kim GC, Lee SG, Park BS, Kim JY, Song YS, Kim JM, Yoo KS, Huh GY, Jeong MH, Lim YJ, Kim HM, Yoo YH. 2003. Magnoliae flos induces apoptosis of RBL-2H3 cells via mitochondria and caspase. Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 2003 Jun; 131(2): 101-10.

Kuribara H, Kishi E, Hattori N, Okada M, Maruyama Y. The anxiolytic effect of two oriental herbal drugs in Japan attributed to honokiol from magnolia bark. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2000 Nov; 52(11): 1425-9. 3.

Kuribara H, Stavinoha WB, Maruyama Y. Honokiol, a putative anxiolytic agent extracted from magnolia bark, has no diazepam-like side effects in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol. 1999 Jan;51(1):97-103. 5.

Liou KT, Shen YC, Chen CF, Tsao CM, Tsai SK. 2003. Honokiol protects rat brain from focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury by inhibiting neutrophil infiltration and reactive oxygen species production. Brain Res. 2003 Dec 5; 992(2): 159-66.