9 Benefits Of Magnolia Bark, How To Consume, & Side Effects

Medically Reviewed by Mollie Meldahl, RD, LD, CPT
By Ravi Teja Tadimalla, Professional Certificate In Food, Nutrition & Health

Traditional Chinese medicine has long recognized the benefits of magnolia bark. Magnolia bark has been used for centuries to manage depression, low blood pressure, promote brain health, and even reduce menopause symptoms. Researchers have linked these health benefits to its high bioactive compounds content. This article discusses the benefits of magnolia bark, recommended dosage, and possible side effects. Scroll down.

What Are The Benefits Of Magnolia Bark?

1. Improves Dental Health

Magnolia bark improves dental health

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Studies show that the antimicrobial properties that the bark contains can fight dental plaque. In the research, chewing gums containing magnolia bark, when assessed, were found to reduce dental plaque (1).

And these very antimicrobial properties also help one fight bad breath. Magnolia can also fight cavities, as per studies (2).

Another Italian study particularly speaks of how magnolia extract can reduce the volatile sulfur-containing compounds in the oral cavity and improve overall teeth health (3).

2. Magnolia Bark Can Lower Blood Pressure

Honokiol, one compound in the magnolia bark, was found to relax the aortas and lower blood pressure (4). Though we need more research on this, this sure is a step in the right direction.

3. Fights Inflammation

Magnolia bark extract, when administered to cells, had reduced the amount of pro-inflammatory cytokines – compounds that lead to inflammation (5).

The bark can also reduce the pain that is caused by inflammation. Two compounds in magnolia bark, honokiol and magnolol, were found to reduce the pain that was a result of bodily inflammation (6).

4. Relieves Menopause Symptoms

Comparative studies between magnolia bark and soy isoflavones in treating menopausal symptoms offered interesting results – the bark was able to treat anxiety, which is one of the symptoms in menopausal women (7).

In fact, adding the bark extract to isoflavones further improved the symptoms – the combination could effectively combat insomnia, irritability, depressed mood, and even loss of libido (common symptoms during menopause) (8).

5. Can Aid Diabetes Treatment

Magnolia bark can aid diabetes treatment

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Some of the major bioactive compounds in magnolia bark were found to contribute to glycemic control – and this is a boon for diabetics (9). These compounds, upon further research, were also found to possess hypoglycemic bioactivity – meaning they have the ability to lower blood sugar levels.

Magnolia bark is also effective against oxidative damage of the liver, which can happen in severe cases of diabetes (10).

6. Helps Fight Cancer

The honokiol in magnolia bark can fight cancer in a number of ways. In fact, in one animal study, the combination of radiation and honokiol caused a greater reduction in tumor volumes as opposed to using radiation alone (11).

Honokiol was also found to block a specific cancer pathway that was previously thought to be resistant to drugs (12).

In yet another study, honokiol was found to prevent breast cancer – which could otherwise be caused by leptin, one hormone closely associated with obesity (13).

7. Fights Depression And Boosts Cognitive Health

A mixture of honokiol and magnolol (the two compounds in magnolia bark) was found to offer antidepressant benefits, according to studies (14). These two compounds also increase the serotonin levels in the prefrontal cortex, the low levels of which are linked to depression (15).

Honokiol and magnolol are also linked to elevated levels of noradrenaline, which is associated with improved alertness and concentration, along with enhanced emotions.

Further research also shows us how magnolia bark can reduce memory loss and help in the treatment of Alzheimer’s (16).

8. Helps Treat Insomnia

By lowering cortisol levels, magnolia bark relaxes the body and the mind. Taking this herb right before you go to bed can help combat sleeplessness as it promotes rapid drowsiness. Ensure you don’t take it during the day or while driving or operating heavy machinery – for obvious reasons.

Research also shows us that the honokiol in magnolia bark promotes non-rapid eye movement, thereby treating insomnia and helping the body and mind relax and drift to sleep (17).

9. Might Promote Weight Loss

Some research shows how magnolia bark could reduce body fat mass in mice. And the honokiol in the bark had decreased insulin resistance, thereby preventing fat storage (18).

Well, these are the benefits. We know you already are thinking of including this bark in your diet. But how?

How To Consume Magnolia Bark Extract

The bark (or the extract) is quite soluble in water. Hence, you can mix it in a glass of plain water or juice.

You can also add the extract to your breakfast smoothie. Other ingredients in the smoothie can help mask the bark’s taste in case it doesn’t appeal to you.

The dosage of the extract should be between 250 to 500 mg per day.

 Great. But does this mean anybody can take the extract? Maybe not. There are certain things to be kept in mind.

What Are The Side Effects Of Magnolia Bark?

  • Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding

Some research suggests that taking magnolia during pregnancy can cause uterus contractions and lead to miscarriage. Not enough is known about its effects on breastfeeding. Hence, stay safe and avoid use in both the cases.

  • Might Make Anesthesia Ineffective

Magnolia can slow down the nervous system due to its relaxing properties. This might be a problem during surgery as the anesthesia application may not be as effective. Stop use at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Infographic: Some Fascinating Facts About Magnolia Bark

Magnolia bark has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for its medicinal values. The bioactive and polyphenolic compounds in it offer many health benefits. From improving lung health to eliminating phlegm, the bark improves several health conditions. Click on the infographic below to learn some fascinating facts about magnolia bark.

some fascinating facts about magnolia bark [infographic]

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Magnolia bark’s benefits can be attributed to its bioactive compounds. It promotes dental health, lowers blood pressure, combats inflammation, and relieves menopause symptoms. It also aids in the treatment of diabetes, helps fight cancer, boosts cognitive health, and helps fight depression. In addition, it helps treat insomnia and promotes weight loss. It can be mixed with water or juice for consumption. However, it may cause issues during pregnancy and breastfeeding and may make the action of anesthesia less effective. Hence, caution is advised. Having it in moderate amounts helps reap its benefits.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does magnolia bark increase dopamine?

Yes. There is an association between depression and depletion of monoamine (like dopamine) (19). Magnolia bark exhibits anti-depressant properties that may help improve dopamine levels.

Is magnolia bark a blood thinner?

Yes. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the presence of bioactive compounds in the stem bark of magnolia exhibits anticoagulant properties. However, limited data is available in this regard.

Is magnolia bark a benzodiazepine?

Magnolia bark contains a bioactive compound called magnolol, which induces sleep via benzodiazepine receptor (20).

Is magnolia bark fat-soluble?

Yes. Magnolia bark is fat-soluble.

References

  1. Dental plaque regrowth studies to…”. ScienceDirect.
  2. Sweet magnolia: tree bark...”. ScienceDaily.
  3. The effect of zinc acetate and…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  4. Effects of chronic treatment with…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  5. Identification of magnolia extract…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  6. Effects of honokiol and magnolol…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  7. Magnolia bark for anxiety...”. Dr. Weil.
  8. Biological activity and toxicity of the…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  9. Extracts of magnolia species…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  10. The antidiabetic and hepatoprotective…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  11. Honokiol: a novel natural agent...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  12. Magnolia compound hits elusive…”. ScienceDaily.
  13. Can magnolia help break the link…”. Johns Hopkins University.
  14. Anti-depressant like effects of the...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  15. Anti-depressant like synergism of…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  16. A comparison between extract products of...”. US National Library of Medicine.
  17. Honokiol promotes non-rapid eye movement…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  18. The magnolia bioactive constituent…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  19. Biological activity and toxicity of the Chinese herb Magnolia officinalis Rehder & E. Wilson (Houpo) and its constituents”. Journal of Zhejiang University Science.
  20. Magnolol, a major bioactive constituent of the bark of Magnolia officinalis, induces sleep via the benzodiazepine site of GABA(A) receptor in mice”. US National Library of Medicine.
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Ravi Teja Tadimalla is an editor and a published author. He has been in the digital media field for over... more

Mollie Meldahl

(RD, LD, CPT)
Mollie Meldahl is a plant-based Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer based out of Austin, TX. She has been following a... more

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