Magnolia officinalis
This information describes the common uses of Magnolia officinalis, how it works, and its possible side effects.

Common Name

Magnolia bark extract, Magnolol, Houpu magnolia, Saiboku-to

How It Works

Magnolia bark extract has shown anti-inflammatory and anticancer effects in laboratory and animal studies.

Magnolia officinalis is an herb commonly used in traditional medicine. The bark contains active compounds, honokiol and magnolol that may reduce inflammation, anxiety, or depression. A number of laboratory studies also suggest that bioactive compounds from magnolia bark extract may have anticancer properties, but they have not been studied in cancer patients.

Small studies showed benefits of magnolia for relief from vasomotor symptoms, for weight management, and for oral health. 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.

Research Evidence

  • To prevent cancer
    Laboratory 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 the risk of bleeding. Clinical relevance is not known.
  • You are taking cytochrome P450 substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
  • You are taking P-glycoprotein substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.
  • You are taking UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) substrate drugs: Magnolia bark extract may alter the effects of these drugs. Clinical relevance is not known.

Side Effects

  • Skin rash has been reported with the use of cosmetics containing magnolia bark extract.