- Magnolia bark extract
- Houpu magnolia
- Hou Po
For Patients & Caregivers
Tell your healthcare providers about any dietary supplements you’re taking, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, and natural or home remedies. This will help them manage your care and keep you safe.
How It Works
Lab studies of magnolia bark extract suggest anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but studies in humans are needed.
Magnolia officinalis is a flowering herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat anxiety, depression, stress, nervousness, and sleep-related problems. It is also used to regulate gastrointestinal motility and is found in herbal formulas such as Ma Zi Ren Wan. Lab studies suggest that some compounds from magnolia bark extract may have anticancer properties, but this has not been studied in cancer patients.
Data in humans are limited. Small studies in humans suggest magnolia may help relieve menopausal symptoms, manage weight, and maintain oral health. However, these studies used magnolia in combination with other compounds.
Purported Uses and Benefits
To prevent cancer
Lab studies suggest magnolia bark extract has anticancer properties, but clinical trials are needed to confirm these effects.
To treat diabetes
Magnolia bark extract and its active compounds lowered blood sugar in the lab, but human studies are needed.
To prevent inflammation
Animal studies have shown that magnolia bark extract reduces pain and inflammation.
As an antibacterial agent
Lab studies suggest magnolia bark extract may reduce the bacterium that causes acne and some types of infections.
To reduce anxiety
Lab studies show that magnolia has anxiolytic effects. Human data are lacking.
To reduce depression
Lab studies show that magnolia has antidepressant effects. Human studies are needed.
Do Not Take If
- You are taking diabetes medications: Magnolia bark extract may enhance their effects. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking sleep or anxiety medications: Magnolia bark extract may increase their effects. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking blood thinners: Magnolia bark extract may increase bleeding risk. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking CYP450 substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking P-gp substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
- You are taking UGT substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
- Skin rash has been reported with the use of cosmetics containing magnolia bark extract.
For Healthcare Professionals
Magnolia officinalis is a flowering herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat anxiety, depression, stress, nervousness, and sleep-related problems. It is also used to regulate gastrointestinal motility (50) and is found in herbal formulas such as Ma Zi Ren Wan.
The bark contains the active constituents magnolol and honokiol. Preclinical studies suggest these compounds have antimicrobial (1) (2), anti-inflammatory (3) (4) , antidiabetic (5) (6), antidepressant (7), anxiolytic (8), and neuroprotective (9) effects. They have also been evaluated for their anticancer potential. Magnolol demonstrated activity against a variety of cancers, including bladder (10) (11) (12), prostate (13) (14) (15) (16), colorectal (17) (18), breast (19) (20), and lung (21) (22) cancers. Honokiol also showed antitumor and antiangiogenic effects (23) (24) (25) in leukemia (26), lung (27) (28), bladder (29), prostate (30), melanoma (31) (32), breast (33), glioblastoma (34), neuroblastoma (35), and oral cancer (36) cells lines. In murine models, honokiol enhanced low-dose docetaxel treatment against prostate cancer growth and bone metastasis (37), and reduced breast tumor growth biomarkers (48).
Data in humans are limited. Preliminary clinical studies suggest benefits with magnolia for vasomotor symptoms (38), weight management (39), and oral health (40). However, these studies used magnolia in combination with other compounds.
In patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a magnolia extract was shown to be useful in reducing hepatic fat content (49).
Purported Uses and Benefits
Mechanism of Action
In THP-1 cells, magnolol and honokiol reduced inflammatory TNF-α and IL-8 production induced by Propionibacterium acnes (3). Other anti-inflammatory markers reduced by magnolia bark extract include IL-6 as well as MMP2 and MMP9 (4). Antihyperglycemic effects with magnolia bark extract are attributed to the inhibition of protein tyrosine phosphatase enzyme 1B, a negative regulator of the insulin signaling pathway, which increases ERK phosphorylation and GLUt4 translocation (5). Magnolol increased both insulin-stimulated glucose transport and production of GLUT1 and GLUT4 mRNA, and GLUT4 protein (6).
A combination of honokiol and magnolol normalized biochemical abnormalities in brain 5-HT and 5-HIAA, serum corticosterone levels, and platelet adenylyl cyclase activity, a biomarker for depression in chronically stressed rodents (7). Anxiolytic effects of honokiol are attributed to its selective stimulation of GABA-A receptors or its binding to anxiety-related sites (8).
A number of anticancer mechanisms have been identified with magnolol. In human bladder cancer cells, it induced p27KIP1-mediated G2/M-phase cell cycle arrest to activate the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway (11), and decreased binding of transcription factor NF-kB to DNA to inhibit MMP9 expression (12). In prostate cancer cells, magnolol affected insulin-like growth factor-1 expression and associated binding proteins (13), inhibited the EGFR/PI3K/Akt signaling pathway (16), and downregulated MMP2 and MMP9 proteins and mRNA levels (15). Antitumor activity also occurred via MMP9 inhibition through the NF-kB pathway in breast cancer cells (19) and through AMPK activation in colorectal cancer cells (18).
Antitumor and antiangiogenic properties of honokiol are attributed to NF-kB inhibition and the consequent scavenging of reactive oxygen species (24). In human endothelial cells, honokiol inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 phosphorylation (25). It also blocked VEGF-induced Rac to prevent migration of malignant endothelial cells (25), blocked signaling pathways in tumor cells with defective p53 (23), and suppressed NF-kB overactivity (24). In acute myeloid leukemia cells, honokiol inhibited STAT3 signaling via increased protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP1 expression (26). In glioma cells, it induced autophagy and activated a p53/cyclin D1/CDK6/CDK4/E2F1-dependent pathway to induce apoptosis and cell cycle arrest (34) and in prostate cancer cells, honokiol suppressed c-Myc protein expression (30).
In animal models of prostate cancer with bone metastasis, honokiol induced apoptosis via caspase-3,-8, and -9 activation and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) cleavage (37). As a potential P-glycoprotein inhibitor, constituents of magnolia bark extract may reduce multidrug resistance in cancer cells via P-gp downregulation (42) (43).
- CYP450 substrates: In vitro, honokiol inhibited 1A2, 2C8, 2C9, 2C19, and may alter activities of drugs metabolized by these enzymes (41). Clinical relevance is not known.
- UDP-glucuronosyltransferase: Honokiol inhibited UGT1A9 in vitro, suggesting it may interfere with activities of drugs metabolized by this enzyme (41). Clinical relevance is not known.
- P-Glycoprotein substrates: Honokiol downregulates P-gp expression (42) and may interfere with the metabolism of certain drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
- Antiplatelet agents: In animal studies, magnolol demonstrated antiplatelet activities (46) and may therefore increase bleeding risk when used with these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
- Antidiabetic agents: Lab studies suggest that magnolia bark extract and magnolol have hypoglycemic effects (5) (6) and may increase the effects of these medications. Clinical relevance is not known.
- Benzodiazepines: Magnolia bark extract and honokiol may increase the effects of these medications (47). Clinical relevance is not known