Magnolia bark is commonly used in Chinese traditional medicine for many purposes. This plant possesses antimicrobial, calming, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Nations in Asia use it to treat conditions like anxiety, allergies, asthma, some gastrointestinal (GI) diseases, depression, and nervous disorders.
During the summer, the root and bark from magnolia trees are harvested, dried, and slightly boiled. After being softened, magnolia extract can be used in medicine and added to dietary supplements. So, what can magnolia bark do for your health? Let’s figure it out.
1. It helps reduce anxiety
According to a small study of 28 women with stress-related eating disorders, a dietary supplement containing magnolia bark and Phellodendron extract can help prevent weight gain by lowering cortisol levels and reducing stress. In another small study of 26 premenopausal women aged 20 to 50, a supplement containing magnolia bark and Phellodendron extract is able to relieve mild anxiety and depression.
A supplement containing magnolia bark called Honokiol has been shown to relieve anxiety with fewer side effects than diazepam (a drug commonly used for anxiety disorders). Honokiol increases GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels, which helps reduce anxiety. In fact, lower-than-normal levels of GABA in the brain have been related to schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and sleep issues.
2. It can improve sleep
According to two studies of over 700 menopausal women, magnolia bark has been shown to improve insomnia. Magnolia extract overall possesses a relaxing effect. You might take a supplement containing magnolia bark for this purpose if your healthcare provider determines that it might be helpful for you.
3. It promotes weight loss
According to one small study, magnolia bark can prevent weight gain due to its powerful anti-anxiety effect. According to a mouse study, honokiol is able to lower triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels as well as decrease insulin resistance, preventing fat storage.
4. It’s good for dental health
Scientists found that the bacteria Streptococcus mutans is harmful to dental health since it creates an acidic environment that leads to plaque buildup and tooth decay. However, sugar-free chewing gum containing magnolia bark can decrease the concentration of these bacteria in the saliva and prevent plaque acidity and gum bleeding. A toothpaste containing magnolia bark extract possesses the same effects and is good for people with dental cavities and gum disease.
Though there is limited evidence that magnolia bark is helpful in preventing cavities, gum disease, and bad breath, you still can discuss with your dentist if gum or toothpaste containing magnolia bark extract might be helpful for you. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t use it as a replacement for prescribed options by your dentist.
5. It helps with the symptoms of menopause
Magnolia extract can help menopausal women feel better as it can improve insomnia, anxiety, depression, and libido. Magnolia bark extract might help with the psycho-affective symptoms of menopause.
6. It reduces liver damage
According to one study involving 74 people with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, magnolia extract tablets lower liver fat content and liver damage. However, a single clinical trial cannot be considered enough evidence that magnolia bark helps with fatty liver disease.
7. It can improve asthma attacks
According to a cell study done on immune cell production, magnolia extract can block allergic reactions and reduce the severity of asthma attacks. Magnolol is able to dilate bronchial vessels in the lungs making breathing easier. Again, only a single clinical trial and a study in cells are not enough to conclude that magnolia bark is able to improve asthma symptoms. Further clinical research is needed.