Magnolia sp.

Magnolia (Magnolia officinalis)

Magnolia bark (Magnolia officinalis) is a traditional Chinese medicine used since 100 A.D. to support the body and nurture wellbeing and to treat a plethora of ailments.

Magnolia bark has been used to treat menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and gas, nausea, and indigestion. The bark is also an ingredient in formulas used for treating coughs and asthma. The bark is used internally in the treatment of abdominal distension, loss of appetite, gastro-enteritis, vomiting, diarrhoea, asthma and coughs with acute phlegm. The bark and flower buds of Magnolia officinalis have been used to treat coughs and colds and intestinal problems.

Japanese researchers have determined that "honokiol" and "magnolol", two chemicals found in Magnolia Bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. These two active compounds are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-balancing effects of the plant. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated honokiol to act as an anti-stress agent at lower doses. Magnolol, a compound isolated from the cortex of Magnolia officinalis, has been found to possess anti-allergic and anti-asthmatic activity.

Weight loss

Magnolia Bark is getting much press as a "cortisol", the stress hormone-lowering supplement. Cortisol has also been associated with weight gain (particularly fat in the abdominal area), sugar control problems, memory problems, and a host of other stress induced disorders.


In studies, honokiol was compared with diazepam (Valium), a well known pharmaceutical anxiolytic. Honokiol was found to be five times stronger than diazepam in reducing anxiety without the side effects of diazepam. While Diazepam does reduce anxiety, it also induces muscle relaxation, an effect not shared by honokiol. It would seem that honokiol is less likely than diazepam to induce physical dependence, central nervous system depression, motor nerve disruption, or amnesia at doses eliciting the anxiolytic effect. Because honokiol reduces anxiety without disruption of motor activity, it is postulated that the mechanism of the anxiolytic effect of honokiol is at least partially different from that of diazepam.

Alzheimers Disease

Magnolia has several powerful effects on acetylcholine levels in the brain, offering potential benefits for victims of Alzheimer's Disease. Alzeimer's Disease is characterised by insufficient levels of acetylcholine, accompanied by the buildup of amyloid plaque in the brain, disrupting normal brain functioning. Two biphenolic compounds found in Magnolia, Honokiol and magnolol, increase choline acetyltransferase activity, inhibit acetylcholinesterase, promote potassium-induced acetylcholine release and exhibit neurotrophic function in in vitro studies. Choline acetyltransferase is an enzyme involved in the cellular synthesis of acetylcholine, an increase of which can up-regulate the production of acetylcholine necessary for proper brain function. Acetylcholinesterase is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, the inhibition of which preserves available acetylcholine. Honokiol and Magnolol also exhibited neurotropic effects in vitro, which could translate into enhanced brain cell growth and reduced brain cell death in vivo.


Magnolol was found in studies to support the body's natural production of adrenal steroids (corticosteroids) which suppress inflammation. This anti-inflammatory effect is thought responsible for alleviating the allergic inflammatory response in cases of asthma. Increases in corticosteroids may be a concern for those wishing to use Magnolia as a weight loss product, but in a patented product combining the herb with Phellodendron this effect was reversed, resulting in corticosteroid reduction, and reduced cortisol-induced food cravings.


Garrison R, Chambliss WG. Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on weight management: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Ther Health Med 2006;12:50-4. View abstract.

Hou YC, Chao PD, Chen SY. Honokiol and magnolol increased hippocampal acetylcholine release in freely-moving rats. Am J Chin Med 2000;28:379-84. View abstract.

Jung KY, Kim DS, Oh SR, et al. Magnone A and B, novel anti-PAF tetrahydrofuran lignans from the flower buds of Magnolia fargesii. J Nat Prod 1998;61:808-11. View abstract.

Kuribara H, Kishi E, Hattori N, et al. The anxiolytic effect of two oriental herbal drugs in Japan attributed to honokiol from magnolia bark. J Pharm Pharmacol 2000;52:1425-9. View abstract.

Kuribara H, Kishi E, Maruyama Y. Does dihydrohonokiol, a potent anxiolytic compound, result in the development of benzodiazepine-like side effects? J Pharm Pharmacol 2000;52:1017-22. View abstract.

Maruyama Y, Kuribara H, Kishi E, et al. Confirmation of the anxiolytic-like effect of dihydrohonokiol following behavioural and biochemical assessments. J Pharm Pharmacol 2001;53:721-5. View abstract.

Nakazawa T, Yasuda T, Ohsawa K. Metabolites of orally administered Magnolia officinalis extract in rats and man and its antidepressant-like effects in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol 2003;55:1583-91. View abstract.

Tachikawa E, Takahashi M, Kashimoto T. Effects of extract and ingredients isolated from Magnolia obovata thunberg on catecholamine secretion from bovine adrenal chromaffin cells. Biochem Pharmacol 2000;60:433-40. View abstract.

Teng CM, Chen CC, Ko FN, et al. Two antiplatelet agents from Magnolia officinalis. Thromb Res 1988;50:757-65. View abstract.

Wang SM, Lee LJ, Huang YT, et al. Magnolol stimulates steroidogenesis in rat adrenal cells. Br J Pharmacol 2000;131:1172-8. View abstract.

Zhong WB, Wang CY, Ho KJ, et al. Magnolol induces apoptosis in human leukemia cells via cytochrome c release and caspase activation. Anticancer Drugs 2003;14:211-7. View abstract.

Magnolia cortex monograph

Scientific Name(s): Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et Wils. Family: Magnoliaceae.

Common Name(s): Magnolia bark , “Hu-bak” (Korea)


MBE has been used for over 1,000 years as a folk medicine in Asia. 4 , 5 In traditional Asian medicine, MBE has been prescribed for treating acute pain, headaches, diarrhea, allergies, asthma, and gynecological disorders. It has also been used to treat fever, anxiety, nervous disorders, depression, muscular pain, abdominal fullness, constipation, and thrombotic stroke. 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 In Chinese and Japanese folk medicine, MBE has been used to treat bronchitis and emphysema. 10


Magnolol and honokiol are the 2 primary active phenolic constituents of MBE. 1 , 2 , 3

Uses and Pharmacology

Most literature sources are from Japanese and Chinese foreign-language publications, and clinical studies on the efficacy of magnolia bark extract are limited. Documentation on the materials and extracts for several studies is also limited. In vitro and animal studies document potential efficacy as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent, as well as for use with Alzheimer disease, depression, diabetes, and menopause.


In vitro data

In an agar dilution study, honokiol and magnolol inhibited (minimum inhibitory concentration [MIC] = 25 mcg/mL) the growth of periodontal pathogens Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans , Porphyromonas gingivalis , Prevotella intermedia , Micrococcus luteus , and Bacillus subtilis , 11 and were less potent than tetracycline. MBE, honokiol, and magnolol were all effective against killing bacteria responsible for halitosis and formation of dental caries (ie, Streptococcus mutans ). 11 , 12 , 13 The MIC ranged from 8 to 31 mcg/mL for magnolol, honokiol, and MBE against Porphyromonas gingivalis , Fusobacterium nucleatum , and S. mutans . Mint candies containing MBE 0.2% reduced oral bacteria by 99.9% within 5 minutes of treatment. Similar antibacterial activity was demonstrated with MBE chewing gum. 12 The antibacterial activity of MBE may include nonionic surface agent activity leading to disruption of the cell membrane and lipid protein interface. 13

Honokiol and magnolol inhibited the growth of acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and Propionibacterium granulosum . 14 Both phenolic compounds also reduced inflammation by inhibiting the secretion of interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) induced by P. acnes . A human skin irritation test in 30 healthy patients demonstrated no adverse effects from topical application of the phenolic compounds.

MBE may also have antimicrobial activity against Helicobacter pylori . 12


In vitro and animal data

Magnolol reduced swelling and inflammation in edema induced by carrageenan, compound 48/80, polymyxin B, and reversed passive Arthus reaction in mice. 15 When compared with dexamethasone, magnolol did not increase glycogen levels in the liver. The mechanism of action appears to involve reducing the levels of eicosanoid mediators rather than affecting glucocorticoid activity or steroid hormone activity from the adrenal gland. 15 , 16

In mice, honokiol and magnolol reduced inflammatory pain by blocking the inflammatory mediators substance P and prostaglandin E2, and the neurotransmitter glutamate. 17 Honokiol inhibited several signal transduction cascades (eg, protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinase, nuclear transcription factor kappa-B) involved with regulating inflammatory mediator and gene expression. 18

Alzheimer disease

In vitro and animal data

Magnolol and honokiol exhibited central depressant effects by producing sedation, ataxia, muscle relaxation, and a loss of the righting reflex in young chicks. 19 The compound 4-O-methylhonokiol (4-O-MH) promoted neurite outgrowth in a concentration-dependent manner in cultured embryonic neuronal cells. The compound also increased expression of neurotrophins, which are believed to promote neurite outgrowth. 20 An ethanol extract of M. officinalis and 4-O-MH suppressed beta amyloid peptide (eg, Aβ1–42)–induced memory impairment in mice, perhaps by inhibiting neuronal cell death, and increased reactive oxygen species expression. 21 The compound 4-O-MH may also inhibit activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase) pathway, which is important in neuronal cell death. 22 An ethanol extract of M. officinalis and 4-O-MH improved memory impairment induced by scopolamine in a dose-dependent manner. 23


In vitro and animal data

Honokiol induced apoptosis and inhibited angiogenesis via the Bcl-2 and caspase-3 pathway in ovarian tumor cells. 24 Honokiol increased apoptotic DNA fragmentation in cultured human prostate cancer cells irrespective of their androgen responsiveness or p53 status and inhibited growth of an androgen-independent p53 mutant cell line xenograft in mice without causing weight loss or any other adverse reactions. 25 Magnolol inhibited growth and induced apoptosis, and G1- and G2/M phase cell cycle arrest in human urinary bladder cancer 5637 cells by activating extracellular signaling. 26 Magnolol inhibited growth of human malignant melanoma A375-S2 cells by both the death receptor pathway and the mitochondrial pathway. 27 Honokiol reduced cell survival and inhibited growth in human chondrosarcoma cells, a malignant primary bone tumor. 28 The anticancer activity involves mitochondria dysfunction and induced cell death mediated by increased endoplasmic reticulum stress, eventually resulting in apoptosis. Honokiol induced apoptosis and inhibited HeLa cell proliferation through many proteins and multiple pathways. 29

Magnolol induced apoptosis in human lung cancer CH27 cells through activation of signaling pathways responsible for cell death, including regulation of the Bcl-2 family proteins and release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytosol, leading to activation of the caspase cascade. 30

Magnolol and honokiol exhibited cytostatic rather than cytotoxic effects on HL-60 leukemia cells. Both compounds also enhanced vitamin D3 and all- trans -retinoic acid induced HL-60 leukemic cell differentiation. 31

Magnolol suppressed growth of cultured human U373 malignant glioblastoma cells by inhibiting DNA synthesis and activating apoptosis. Magnolol is able to cross the blood brain barrier, as documented by pharmacokinetic studies in rats. 32

Honokiol alone inhibited the growth of human lung cancer A549 in lung carcinoma models, and when combined with cisplatin, enhanced antitumor efficacy by increasing apoptosis and inhibition of angiogenesis. 33 Honokiol inhibited several human breast cancer cell lines, as well as drug-resistant breast cancer cell lines. The mechanism involved inhibition of cell proliferation, induced cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. Honokiol also enhanced the proapoptotic activity of lapatinib or rapamycin in her-2 over-expressed or low-expressed breast cancer models. 34

Honokiol-hydrogel reduced the number of pleural tumor foci and prolonged survival time in malignant pleural effusion–bearing mice when compared with controls. The mechanism involved inhibition of angiogenesis, and histological analysis of the pleural tumors revealed application of the gel increased the rate of apoptosis. 35


In vitro and animal data

A mixture of honokiol and magnolol at 20 and 40 mg/kg inhibited stress-induced decreases of serotonin in the frontal cortex, hippocampus, striatum, hypothalamus, and nucleus accumbens in mice. The mixture also increased serotonin metabolite levels in the frontal cortex, striatum, and nucleus accumbens at 40 mg/kg. Honokiol and magnolol also reduced elevated corticosterone concentrations and normalized hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal hyperactivity and reduced platelet adenylyl cyclase activity by upregulating the cyclic adenosine monophosphate pathway. 36

Experimentally induced depression in mice was inhibited by magnolol and its metabolite hydroxydihydromagnolol. 37 An ethanol extract of a traditional Chinese medicine containing M. officinalis exhibited antidepressant effects in mice similar to the effects of fluoxetine. 38 In a stress-induced model in rats, the combination of honokiol, magnolol, and ginger oil exhibited antidepressant effects. Honokiol and magnolol increased serotonin levels in numerous brain regions, while ginger reduced gastric mucosa cholecystokinin and serum gastrin levels. 39


In vitro and animal data

Magnolol reduced metabolic parameters common in diabetic nephropathy, such as blood glucose, plasma insulin, sorbitol, and advanced glycation end products in an experimental type 2 diabetes rat model. Magnolol also attenuated upregulation of renal transforming growth factor beta 1, which plays a key role in the pathogenesis of diabetic nephropathy, and reduced expression of extracellular matrix protein as type IV collagen. 40 In mature adipocytes, magnolol improved insulin sensitivity by increasing basal and insulin stimulated glucose uptake through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. 41 KIOM-4, a plant extract obtained from M. officinalis , protected pancreatic beta cells against streptozotocin-induced oxidative damage. 42 KIOM-4 induced a rate-limiting enzyme through the extracellular regulated kinase pathway, which resulted in cytoprotection against diabetic conditions and increased insulin release from the pancreas. Another plant extract combination containing M. officinalis , KIOM-79, inhibited xylose-induced lens opacity. 43 KIOM-79 also protected human lens epithelial-B3 cells from the toxic effects of high glucose levels by inhibiting transforming growth factor beta, which is involved in the pathophysiology of ocular damage. An antioxidant mechanism may be involved with KIOM-79, protecting against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in diabetic retinopathy. 44


Clinical data

A small, controlled, randomized, multicenter study examined the effects of 2 formulations, one containing magnolia bark extract (60 mg) and magnesium (50 mg), in symptomatic menopausal women with sleep or mood alterations. The magnolia extract and magnesium combination appeared to be effective in reducing psychoaffective and sleep disturbances from menopause. 45 A small pilot study examined the effects on body weight from a dietary supplement containing extracts of M. officinalis and Phellodendron amurense in 28 premenopausal women. 46 The supplement reduced evening cortisol levels and may have improved systolic blood pressure as well as perceived stress. Another randomized, placebo-controlled trial indicated that the same dietary supplement may reduce mild transitory anxiety in premenopausal women. 47

Other pharmacologic activity


In vitro and animal studies document potent antioxidant activity for magnolol and honokiol in protecting against myocardial and cerebral ischemia by inhibiting neutrophil infiltration and reactive oxygen species production. 48 , 49 , 50


Magnolol and honokiol have weak activity against HIV-1 in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. 51


Extracts of M. officinalis may have benzodiazepine -like activity as documented by a strong affinity on the benzodiazepine -binding site of the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor . Honokiol also interacts with the GABA receptor and exhibited activity similar to that of diazepam . 8 , 52


Magnolol inhibited expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 in vascular smooth muscle cells, which contributes to the development of atherosclerosis and re-stenosis. 53 Magnolol also induced apoptosis 53 and inhibited cell viability in TNF-alpha cytokine 54 -stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells. Magnolol's antioxidant activity appears to also play a role in preventing atherosclerotic vascular disease. 55 , 56 Antiplatelet activity relaxes vascular smooth muscle by releasing endothelium-derived relaxing factor and inhibiting calcium influx through voltage-gated calcium channels. 57


Magnolol may stimulate corticosterone secretion by the adrenal gland, a mechanism similar to the action of exogenous glucocorticoids in the treatment of asthma. 58

Cardiac arrhythmia

Honokiol reduced the infarct zone, duration of ventricular tachycardia, and ventricular fibrillation in coronary ligated rats. 59 The cardioprotective effect may be associated with increased nitric oxide synthesis. 60


Honokiol inhibited hydrogen peroxide–induced apoptosis in human lens epithelial cells by modulating various signaling pathways in cataract formation. 61

Gynecological disorders

Honokiol and magnolol blocked calcium-dependent uterine oscillatory contractions in rat uterus. 5 The mechanism may be associated with blocking receptor-operated cation and voltage-operated calcium channels. 5

Liver disease

Magnolol reduced acetaminophen-induced liver damage in rats by inhibiting lipid peroxidation and formation of reactive oxygen species. 6 Honokiol reversed the effects of induced alcoholic fatty liver in rats by inhibiting lipid accumulation or fatty acid synthesis. 62


Honokiol and magnolol inhibited excitatory amino acid-evoked cation signals and N -methyl-D-aspartate acid (NMDA)–induced seizures. 63 Honokiol was more selective in blocking the NMDA receptor and demonstrated greater inhibition against NMDA-induced seizures.


Magnolol prevented hypotension, bradycardia, and multiple organ failure induced by lipopolysaccharide in rats. 64 Potential mechanisms of action include: reducing the plasma TNF-alpha and nitrate/nitrite concentrations, suppressing organ superoxide anion level, and suppressing the blood coagulation cascade and expression of inflammatory genes.


MBE is commercially available in the United States and throughout Europe, as documented by Internet search engines. Dosage varies depending on the condition treated, with weight loss products containing MBE available mostly in powder form. Several strengths are available for Relora , a patented blend marketed as “a natural stress management supplement” that includes MBE. Dosing recommendations include taking a 300 mg capsule of Relora 2 to 3 times per day. A small, randomized, controlled study treated patients with one 60 mg tablet of MBE daily to help relieve menopausal symptoms. 45


Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation because of limited clinical data. An animal study documented that honokiol and magnolol blocked calcium-dependent uterine oscillatory contractions in rat uterus. 5


Drug-herb interactions are documented, and caution is advisable in patients self-medicating with MBE. Magnolol may interact with acetaminophen ; one study documented reduced acetaminophen -induced liver damage in rats. 6 Additive adverse reactions with antiplatelet medications may occur in patients also self-medicating with magnolol. 57 MBE and honokiol may interact with benzodiazepines . 8 , 52 Magnolol may stimulate corticosterone secretion 58 or increase steroid medication concentrations. 65 MBE may cause excess sleepiness, vertigo, and dizziness in patients taking muscle relaxants .

Adverse Reactions

No adverse dermatologic effects were documented with topical application of magnolol and honokiol. 14 In one small clinical trial, a patient dropped out because of a number of adverse reactions, including heartburn, shaking hands, perilabial numbness, sexual dysfunction, and thyroid dysfunction. 46


Dietary administration of MBE in rats at doses of up to 480 mg/kg in a 21-day study and 240 mg/kg in a 90-day study resulted in no clinically important toxicity. 7 Some sources document the development of progressive interstitial renal fibrosis in patients consuming an herbal blend containing M. officinalis . 66 , 67 In vitro studies demonstrate no genotoxic effects from MBE in chromosomal aberration assays. 68 One study documented that magnolol in liver graft preservation enhanced apoptotic events under cold preservation instead of preserving hepatocyte integrity. 69


1. Youn UJ, Chen QC, Jin WY, et al. Cytotoxic lignans from the stem bark of Magnolia officinalis . J Nat Prod . 2007;70(10):1687-1689.

2. Shen CC, Ni CL, Shen YC, et al. Phenolic constituents from the stem bark of Magnolia officinalis . J Nat Prod . 2009;72(1):168-171.

3. Tong, ZK, Zeng YR & Si JP. Variation, heredity and selection of effective ingredients in Magnolis officinalis of different provenances. J Forestry Res . 2002;13(1):7-11.

4. Shin TY, Kim DK, Chae BS, Lee EJ. Antiallergic action of Magnolia officinalis on immediate hypersensitivity reaction. Arch Pharm Res . 2001;24(3):249-255.

5. Lu YC, Chen HH, Ko CH, Lin YR, Chan MH. The mechanism of honokiol-induced and magnolol-induced inhibition on muscle contraction and Ca2+ mobilization in rat uterus. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol . 2003;368(4):262-269.

6. Chen YH, Lin FY, Liu PL, et al. Antioxidative and hepatoprotective effects of magnolol on acetaminophen -induced liver damage in rats. Arch Pharm Res . 2009;32(2):221-228.

7. Liu Z, Zhang X, Cui W, et al. Evaluation of short-term and subchronic toxicity of magnolia bark extract in rats. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol . 2007;49(3):160-171.

8. Squires RF, Ai J, Witt MR, Kahnberg P, et al. Honokiol and magnolol increase the number of [3H] muscimol binding sites three-fold in rat forebrain membranes in vitro using a filtration assay, by allosterically increasing the affinities of low-affinity sites. Neurochem Res . 1999;24(12):1593-1602.

9. Jeong SI, Kim YS, Lee MY, et al. Regulation of contractile activity by magnolol in the rat isolated gastrointestinal tracts. Pharmacol Res . 2009;59(3):183-188.

10. Konoshima T, Kozuka M, Tokuda H, et al. Studies on inhibitors of skin tumor promotion, IX. Neolignans from Magnolia officinalis . J Nat Prod . 1991;54(3):816-822.

11. Ho KY, Tsai CC, Chen CP, Huang JS, Lin CC. Antimicrobial activity of honokiol and magnolol isolated from Magnolia officinalis . Phytother Res . 2001;15(2):139-141.

12. Greenberg M, Urnezis P, Tian M. Compressed mints and chewing gum containing magnolia bark extract are effective against bacteria responsible for oral malodor. J Agric Food Chem . 2007;55(23):9465-9469.

13. Greenberg M, Dodds M, Tian M. Naturally occurring phenolic antibacterial compounds show effectiveness against oral bacteria by a quantitative structure-activity relationship study. J Agric Food Chem . 2008;56(23):11151-11156.

14. Park J, Lee J, Jung E, et al. In vitro antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects of honokiol and magnolol against Propionibacterium sp. Eur J Pharmacol . 2004;496(1-3):189-195.

15. Wang JP, Hsu MF, Raung SL, Chen CC, Kuo JS, Teng CM. Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of magnolol. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol . 1992;346(6):707-712.

16. Wang JP, Ho TF, Chang LC, Chen CC. Anti-inflammatory effect of magnolol, isolated from Magnolia officinalis , on A23187-induced pleurisy in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol . 1995;47(10):857-860.

17. Lin YR, Chen HH, Lin YC, Ko CH, Chan MH. Antinociceptive actions of honokiol and magnolol on glutamatergic and inflammatory pain. J Biomed Sci . 2009;16:94.

18. Chao LK, Liao PC, Ho CL, et al. Anti-inflammatory bioactivities of honokiol through inhibition of protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and the NF-kappaB pathway to reduce LPS-induced TNFalpha and NO expression. J Agric Food Chem . 2010;58(6):3472-3478.

19. Watanabe K, Watanabe H, Goto Y, Yamaguchi M, Yamamoto N, Hagino K. Pharmacological properties of magnolol and honokiol extracted from Magnolia officinalis : central depressant effects. Planta Med . 1983;49(10):103-108.

20. Lee YK, Choi IS, Kim YH, et al. Neurite outgrowth effect of 4-O-methylhonokiol by induction of neurotrophic factors through ERK activation. Neurochem Res . 2009;34(12):2251-2260.

21. Lee JW, Lee YK, Lee BJ, et al. Inhibitory effect of ethanol extract of Magnolia officinalis and 4-O-methylhonokiol on memory impairment and neuronal toxicity induced by beta-amyloid. Pharmacol Biochem Behav . 2010;95(1):31-40.

22. Lee YK, Choi IS, Ban JO, et al. 4-O-methylhonokiol attenuated β-amyloid-induced memory impairment through reduction of oxidative damages via inactivation of p38 MAP kinase. J Nutr Biochem . 2010;22(5):476-486.

23. Lee YK, Yuk DY, Kim TI, et al. Protective effect of the ethanol extract of Magnolia officinalis and 4-O-methylhonokiol on scopolamine-induced memory impairment and the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase activity. J Nat Med . 2009;63(3):274-282.

24. Li Z, Liu Y, Zhao X, et al. Honokiol, a natural therapeutic candidate, induces apoptosis and inhibits angiogenesis of ovarian tumor cells. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol . 2008;140(1):95-102.

25. Hahm ER, Arlotti JA, Marynowski SW, Singh SV. Honokiol, a constituent of oriental medicinal herb magnolia officinalis , inhibits growth of PC-3 xenografts in vivo in association with apoptosis induction. Clin Cancer Res . 2008;14(4):1248-1257.

26. Lee SJ, Cho YH, Park K, et al. Magnolol elicits activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway by inducing p27KIP1-mediated G2/M-phase cell cycle arrest in human urinary bladder cancer 5637 cells. Biochem Pharmacol . 2008;75(12):2289-2300.

27. You Q, Li M, Jiao G. Magnolol induces apoptosis via activation of both mitochondrial and death receptor pathways in A375-S2 cells. Arch Pharm Res . 2009;32(12):1789-1794.

28. Chen YJ, Wu CL, Liu JF, et al. Honokiol induces cell apoptosis in human chondrosarcoma cells through mitochondrial dysfunction and endoplasmic reticulum stress. Cancer Lett . 2010;291(1):20-30.

29. Ling B, Liang SF, Xu YH, et al. Differential proteomic analysis of HeLa cells treated with Honokiol using a quantitative proteomic strategy. Amino Acids . 2008;35(1):115-122.

30. Yang SE, Hsieh MT, Tsai TH, Hsu SL. Effector mechanism of magnolol-induced apoptosis in human lung squamous carcinoma CH27 cells. Br J Pharmacol . 2003;138(1):193-201.

31. Fong WF, Tse AK, Poon KH, Wang C. Magnolol and honokiol enhance HL-60 human leukemia cell differentiation induced by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 and retinoic acid. Int J Biochem Cell Biol . 2005;37(2):427-441.

32. Chen LC, Liu YC, Liang YC, Ho YS, Lee WS. Magnolol inhibits human glioblastoma cell proliferation through upregulation of p21/Cip1. J Agric Food Chem . 2009;57(16):7331-7337.

33. Jiang QQ, Fan LY, Yang GL, et al. Improved therapeutic effectiveness by combining liposomal honokiol with cisplatin in lung cancer model. BMC Cancer . 2008;8:242.

34. Liu H, Zang C, Emde A, et al. Anti-tumor effect of honokiol alone and in combination with other anti-cancer agents in breast cancer. Eur J Pharmacol . 2008;591(1-3):43-51.

35. Fang F, Gong C, Qian Z, et al. Honokiol nanoparticles in thermosensitive hydrogel: therapeutic effects on malignant pleural effusion. ACS Nano . 2009;3(12):4080-4088.

36. Xu Q, Yi LT, Pan Y, et al. Antidepressant-like effects of the mixture of honokiol and magnolol from the barks of Magnolia officinalis in stressed rodents. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry . 2008;32(3):715-725.

37. Nakazawa T, Yasuda T, Ohsawa K. Metabolites of orally administered Magnolia officinalis extract in rats and man and its antidepressant-like effects in mice. J Pharm Pharmacol . 2003;55(11):1583-1591.

38. Luo L, Nong Wang J, Kong LD, Jiang QG, Tan RX. Antidepressant effects of Banxia Houpu decoction, a traditional Chinese medicinal empirical formula. J Ethnopharmacol . 2000;73(1-2):277-281.

39. Qiang LQ, Wang CP, Wang FM, et al. Combined administration of the mixture of honokiol and magnolol and ginger oil evokes antidepressant-like synergism in rats. Arch Pharm Res . 2009;32(9):1281-1292.

40. Sohn EJ, Kim CS, Kim YS, et al. Effects of magnolol (5,5'-diallyl-2,2'-dihydroxybiphenyl) on diabetic nephropathy in type 2 diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats. Life Sci . 2007;80(5):468-475.

41. Choi SS, Cha BY, Lee YS, et al. Magnolol enhances adipocyte differentiation and glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 cells. Life Sci . 2009;84(25-26):908-914.

42. Kang KA, Kim JS, Zhang R, Piao MJ, Chang WY, Kim KC et al. Protective mechanism of KIOM-4 against Streptozotocin induced diabetic cells: involvement of heme oxygenase-1. Biotechnol Bioprocess Eng . 2009;14(3):295-301.

43. Kim NH, Kim YS, Jung DH, Kim JS. KIOM-79 prevents xylose-induced lens opacity and inhibits TGF-beta2 in human lens epithelial cells cultured under high glucose. J Ethnopharmacol . 2010;130(3):599-606.

44. Kim OS, Kim J, Kim CS, Kim NH, Kim JS. KIOM-79 prevents methyglyoxal-induced retinal pericyte apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. J Ethnopharmacol . 2010;129(3):285-292.

45. Mucci M, Carraro C, Mancino P, et al. Soy isoflavones, lactobacilli , Magnolia bark extract, vitamin D3 and calcium. Controlled clinical study in menopause. Minerva Ginecol . 2006;58(4):323-334.

46. Garrison R, Chambliss WG. Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on weight management: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Altern Ther Health Med . 2006;12(1):50-54.

47. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Feldman R, Schwartz HI, Krieger DR, Garrison R. Effect of a proprietary Magnolia and Phellodendron extract on stress levels in healthy women: a pilot, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Nutr J . 2008;7:11.

48. Lee YM, Hsiao G, Chen HR, Chen YC, Sheu JR, Yen MH. Magnolol reduces myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury via neutrophil inhibition in rats. Eur J Pharmacol . 2001;422(1-3):159-167.

49. Liou KT, Shen YC, Chen CF, Tsao CM, Tsai SK. Honokiol protects rat brain from focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury by inhibiting neutrophil infiltration and reactive oxygen species production. Brain Res . 2003;992(2):159-166.

50. Liou KT, Shen YC, Chen CF, Tsao CM, Tsai SK. The anti-inflammatory effect of honokiol on neutrophils: mechanisms in the inhibition of reactive oxygen species production. Eur J Pharmacol . 2003;475(1-3):19-27.

51. Amblard F, Delinsky D, Arbiser JL, Schinazi RF. Facile purification of honokiol and its antiviral and cytotoxic properties. J Med Chem . 2006;49(11):3426-3427.

52. Koetter U, Barrett M, Lacher S, Abdelrahman A, Dolnick D. Interactions of Magnolia and Ziziphus extracts with selected central nervous system receptors. J Ethnopharmacol . 2009;124(3):421-425.

53. Chen JH, Wu CC, Hsiao G, Yen MH. Magnolol induces apoptosis in vascular smooth muscle. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol . 2003;368(2):127-133.

54. Kim HM, Bae SJ, Kim DW, et al. Inhibitory role of magnolol on proliferative capacity and matrix metalloproteinase-9 expression in TNF-alpha-induced vascular smooth muscle cells. Int Immunopharmacol . 2007;7(8):1083-1091.

55. Ou HC, Chou FP, Sheu WH, Hsu SL, Lee WJ. Protective effects of magnolol against oxidized LDL-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells. Arch Toxicol . 2007;81(6):421-432.

56. Chen YL, Lin KF, Shiao MS, Chen YT, Hong CY, Lin SJ. Magnolol, a potent antioxidant from Magnolia officinalis , attenuates intimal thickening and MCP-1 expression after balloon injury of the aorta in cholesterol-fed rabbits. Basic Res Cardiol . 2001;96(4):353-363.

57. Teng CM, Yu SM, Chen CC, Huang YL, Huang TF. EDRF-release and Ca+(+)-channel blockade by magnolol, an antiplatelet agent isolated from Chinese herb Magnolia officinalis , in rat thoracic aorta. Life Sci . 1990;47(13):1153-1161.

58. Wang SM, Lee LJ, Huang YT, Chen JJ, Chen YL. Magnolol stimulates steroidogenesis in rat adrenal cells. Br J Pharmacol . 2000;131(6):1172-1178.

59. Tsai SK, Huang SS, Hong CY. Myocardial protective effect of honokiol: an active component in Magnolia officinalis . Planta Med . 1996;62(6):503-506.

60. Tsai SK, Huang CH, Huang SS, Hung LM, Hong CY. Antiarrhythmic effect of magnolol and honokiol during acute phase of coronary occlusion in anesthetized rats: influence of L-NAME and aspirin. Pharmacology . 1999;59(5):227-233.

61. Tang X, Yao K, Zhang L, Yang Y, Yao H. Honokiol inhibits H(2)O(2)-induced apoptosis in human lens epithelial cells via inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt pathways. Eur J Pharmacol . 2011;650(1):72-78.

62. Yin HQ, Kim YC, Chung YS, Kim YC, Shin YK, Lee BH. Honokiol reverses alcoholic fatty liver by inhibiting the maturation of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c and the expression of its downstream lipogenesis genes. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol . 2009;236(1):124-130.

63. Lin YR, Chen HH, Ko CH, Chan MH. Differential inhibitory effects of honokiol and magnolol on excitatory amino acid-evoked cation signals and NMDA-induced seizures. Neuropharmacology . 2005;49(4):542-550.

64. Tsai YC, Cheng PY, Kung CW, et al. Beneficial effects of magnolol in a rodent model of endotoxin shock. Eur J Pharmacol . 2010;641(1):67-73.

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66. Vanherweghem JL, Depierreux M, Tielemans C, et al. Rapidly progressive interstitial renal fibrosis in young women: association with slimming regimen including Chinese herbs. Lancet . 1993;341(8842):387-391.

67. Schmeiser HH, Bieler CA, Wiessler M, van Ypersele de Strihou C, Cosyns JP. Detection of DNA adducts formed by aristolochic acid in renal tissue from patients with Chinese herbs nephropathy. Cancer Res . 1996;56(9):2025-2028.

68. Zhang B, Maniatis T, Song Y, et al. Evaluation of magnolia bark extract in chromosomal aberration assays. Mutat Res . 2008;654(2):133-137.

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Nat Prod Commun. 2011 Aug;6(8):1121-4. Antimicrobial activity and cytotoxic effects of Magnolia dealbata and its active compounds. Jacobo-Salcedo Mdel R1, Gonzalez-Espindola LA, Alonso-Castro AJ, Gonzalez-Martinez Mdel R, Domínguez F, Garcia-Carranca A.

Multi-drug resistance is of great concern for public health worldwide and necessitates the search for new antimicrobials from sources such as plants. Several Magnolia (Magnoliaceae) species have been reported to exert antimicrobial effects on sensitive and multidrug-resistant microorganisms. However, the antimicrobial properties of Magnolia dealbata have not been experimentally evaluated. The antimicrobial effects of an ethanol extract of Magnolia dealbata seeds (MDE) and its active compounds honokiol (HK) and magnolol (MG) were tested against the phytopathogen Clavibacter michiganensis subsp. michiganensis and several human multi-drug resistant pathogens using the disk-diffusion assay. The effects of MDE and its active compounds on the viability of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were evaluated using MTT assay. MDE and its active compounds had antimicrobial activity (inhibition zone > 10 mm) against C. michiganensis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, Acinetobacter lwoffii, Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Trichosporon belgeii. The results suggest that M. dealbata and its active compounds have selective antimicrobial effects against drug-resistant fungal and Gram (-) bacteria and exert minimal toxic effects on human PMBC.

Thromb Res. 1988 Jun 15;50(6):757-65.Two antiplatelet agents from Magnolia officinalis.

Teng CM1, Chen CC, Ko FN, Lee LG, Huang TF, Chen YP, Hsu HY.

Magnolol and honokiol are two position isomers isolated from the bark of Magnolia officinalis. Both inhibited the aggregation and ATP release of rabbit platelet-rich plasma induced by collagen and arachidonic acid without affecting that induced by ADP, PAF or thrombin. Aggregation of washed platelets was more markedly inhibited than that of platelet-rich plasma, while the aggregation of whole blood was least affected by both inhibitors. Thromboxane B2 formation caused by collagen, arachidonic acid or thrombin was in each case inhibited by magnolol and honokiol. The rise of intracellular calcium caused by arachidonic acid or collagen was also suppressed by both agents. Collagen-induced intracellular calcium increase in the presence of indomethacin was suppressed by magnolol. It is concluded that the antiplatelet effect of magnolol and honokiol is due to an inhibitory effect on thromboxane formation and also an inhibition of intracellular calcium mobilization.

Pickled Magnolia Flowers Recipe

Pickled Magnolia flowers are, quite simply, exquisite. The texture and taste is nothing more than Love Food. Every person that has tasted this recipe (and that’s quite a few), remark how amazing the Magnolia flowers are.


1 lb fresh young magnolia flowers that have been separated.

1 1/2 cups rice vinegar

1 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

Wash and dry the Magnolia flowers with paper towels and put them in a sterilised jar along with the salt.

Mix the rice vinegar and sugar in a pan and bring to a boil. Pour the hot mixture of vinegar and sugar over the Magnolia flowers, allow to cool, then screw a cap on the jar.

Eat the Pickled Magnolia Flowers either when cold or as an accompaniment with salads.

Magnolias are one of the iconic trees of not only the South but exported to many non-hard freeze areas of the world. And people have admired the huge magnolia blossoms for a long time. Few folks know the blossoms of the Magnolia grandiflora are edible, however their flavor is intense and they taste similar to how they smell. They are not eaten raw per se. They are pickled. Oddly the practice started in England and you only use the petals, not the entire blossom. What works best is to pickle the petals in a sweet/sour pickle recipe. Then take out one petal, dice it, and use it sparingly as a flavoring in salads. The flavor is strong so go easy. Also, M. grandiflora‘s leaf can be used just as Magnolia virginiana‘s can as a bay leaf, that is to flavor soups and the like. However, don’t use the entire leaf because it is way too big. Cut it into smaller pieces when used like a bay leaf.

Magnolia Flower Health Uses

Last Updated: Aug 17, 2015 | By Shamala Pulugurtha

A southern magnolia flower growing in the wild. Photo Credit Kenneth Keifer/iStock/Getty Images

The pink, creamy or white flowers of the magnolia tree, native to North and South America, China and Southeast Asia, bloom during spring and summer. The extracts of the buds and flowers of the magnolia tree are available in decoction, alcohol extract, and volatile oil form and contain essential oils that may possess immense medicinal value. However, the side effects of these products have not been documented scientifically, so it is important to talk to a doctor before using magnolia flower products for their health benefits.


The volatile oils of magnolia flowers can help prevent allergic conditions such as asthma by inhibiting the release of histamines from a type of immune cells known as mast cells, says Ikhlas A. Khan in the book “Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients.” Researchers of a study published in the June 2003 edition of the journal International Archives of Allergy and Immunology also state that the buds of Magnolia denudata, also known as flos magnoliae, can cause programmed death of the mast cells in the laboratory. However, clinical trials are lacking, so flos magnoliae extracts should not be used without consulting a doctor.


“Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients” also states that extracts of magnolia flower have been used historically in China to minimize the irritation caused by some cosmetic ingredients. They can also help remove dark spots and whiten the skin. The products, however, have not been evaluated scientifically; consult a doctor before using them.

Rhinitis and Sinusitis

The traditional Chinese medicine has been using Magnolia liliflora flower extracts for centuries to manage rhinitis or stuffy nose and the headaches associated with sinusitis, says Phyllis A. Balch in the book “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” A study published in the August 2009 edition of the Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine has also revealed that flos magnoliae lilifora extracts can help significantly reduce the count of eosinophil cells in the blood and thereby, benefit children with allergic, stuffy nose. Always talk to a doctor before giving herbs to children.


Another animal study published in the October 2008 edition of the International Journal of Molecular Medicine has revealed that flos magnoliae extracts can help prevent diabetes induced by the drug streptozotocin. Streptozotocin was originally extracted from the microorganism Streptomyces achromogenes, and was used as an antibiotic until it was found that it may be toxic to the pancreatic cells responsible for insulin production, and may lead to diabetes. These days, the drug is mainly used to treat the cancer of pancreatic cells.


  • "Leung's Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients"; Ikhlas A. Khan, et al.; 2009

  • International Archives of Allergy and Immunology; Magnoliae Flos...; G.C. Kim, et al.; June 2003

  • "Prescription for Nutritional Healing"; Phyllis A. Balch; 2006

  • Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine"; [F]los Magnoliae Volatile Oil Nano-liposome Nasal Drops in Treating Pediatric Allergic Rhinitis; M. Wu, et al.; August 2009

  • International Journal of Molecular Medicine; Beneficial Effect of Flos Magnoliae Extract...; E.K. Kim, et al.; October 2008

Nat Prod Commun. 2012 Feb;7(2):237-8. Volatiles from Magnolia grandiflora flowers: comparative analysis by simultaneous distillation-extraction and solid phase microextraction. Báez D1, Pino JA, Morales D.

The composition of the volatile compounds isolated by simultaneous distillation-extraction (SDE) and headspace-solid phase microextraction (SPME) from flowers of Magnolia grandiflora growing in Cuba was investigated by GC/FID and GC/MS. Sixty-seven and thirty-four components were obtained by SDE and SPME, respectively. beta-Pinene (10.5%), geraniol (7.4%) and germacrene D (6.2%) were the main constituents of the volatile oil isolated by SDE, while (E)-beta-ocimene (24.6%), geraniol (18.9%), beta-elemene (11.2%) and germacrene D (9.9%) were the most abundant in the headspace of the flowers, respectively.

Phytochemistry. 2015 Sep;117:185-93. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2015.02.025. Epub 2015 Jun 17. Phenylethanoid glycosides in tepals of Magnolia salicifolia and their occurrence in flowers of Magnoliaceae.

Porter EA1, Kite GC1, Veitch NC1, Geoghegan IA2, Larsson S3, Simmonds MS4.

Phenylethanoid glycosides were among the major UV-absorbing components in 80% aq. CH3OH extracts of the tepals of Magnolia salicifolia (Siebold & Zucc.) Maxim. (Magnoliaceae; Magnolia subgenus Yulania).

Structural characterisation of isolated compounds by spectroscopic and chemical methods revealed three previously unrecorded examples, yulanoside A, yulanoside B and 2'-rhamnoechinacoside, and the known compounds echinacoside and crassifolioside; chromatographic methods also identified verbascoside in the tepal extract. Yulanoside A is the first reported example of a phenylethanoid pentaglycoside, namely hydroxytyrosol 1-O-{β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→4)-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(1→6)-[3,4-dihydroxycinnamoyl-(→4)][α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→3)][α-L-rhamnopyranosyl-(1→2)]-β-D-glucopyranoside}.

A survey of Magnolia sensu lato and Liriodendron (the two genera of Magnoliaceae) suggested that yulanoside A and its deglucosyl derivative (yulanoside B) were a feature of the tepal chemistry of Magnolia subgenus Yulania (except Magnolia acuminata, the sole member of section Tulipastrum, which did not accumulate phenylethanoid glycosides). The two species of Liriodendron and examined examples of Magnolia subgenus Magnolia sections Magnolia and Rytidospermum (subsection Oyama) also accumulated phenylethanoid glycosides in their tepals and in these species, and in subgenus Yulania, the major compounds were one or more of echinacoside, 2'-rhamnoechinacoside, crassifolioside and verbascoside. Levels of phenylethanoid glycosides were found to be much lower in species studied from Magnolia sections Gwillimia, Macrophylla and Rytidospermum (subsection Rytidospermum), although yulanoside A was detectable in M. macrophylla and this may have some bearing on the placement of section Macrophylla, which is currently uncertain. In the isolates of yulanoside B and echinacoside, minor phenylethanoid glycosides were determined to be analogues of these compounds with β-D-xylose at C-3' of the primary glucose rather than α-L-rhamnose.

Comparative study of the chemical composition and biological activities of Magnolia grandiflora and Magnolia virginiana flower essential oils.

(PMID:22690913)Farag MA , Al-Mahdy DA

Chemistry Department, Center for Regulatory and Environmental Analytical Metabolomics, University of Louisville, 529 S. Jackson St., Louisville, KY 40202, USA.

Natural Product Research [2013, 27(12):1091-1097]

The biological activities and the determined major volatile components in the Magnolia grandiflora and M. virginiana flowers extracts were compared. Volatile components were detected in the essential oil by dynamic headspace sampling (HS). 2-Phenylethanol (40% and 61%) was found as the main constituent in the essential oil and HS samples of M. virginiana, respectively. In the M. grandiflora oil sample, (E,E)-farnesol (18%) and 2-phenylethanol (10%) were found as main constituents, whereas germacrene D (17%) and β-bisabolene (17%) were the main components of the HS sample. The essential oil in M. virginiana displayed a moderate antioxidant activity relative to vitamin E, whereas both essential oils were active against human lung carcinoma and breast carcinoma cell lines, even at concentrations higher than 200 µg mL(-1).