Undeniably, Chinese herbs have been widely used as important treatments in Oriental integrative medicine. Magnolol, a small phenolic compound isolated from the herb genus Magnolia officinalis is a Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been in Chinese pharmacopoeia for over 2000 years. It contains incredible anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic, Anti-allergic, anti-asthmatic, anti-microbial, anti-neurodegenerative and anti-depressant properties that have been confirmed through preclinical experiments. Besides, it regulates hormonal signaling, pain, gastrointestinal modulation as well as boosting cardiovascular and liver protective effect. Magnolol health and medicinal benefits are complimented with Honokiol, another phenolic constituent also contained in Magnolia Bark; both compounds promote the primary cortisol-balancing, anti-anxiety and anti-stress effects of the plant. Some of the benefits of Magnolol compound include:
Prevents cold and asthma
Magnolol compound contains extreme anti-inflammatory properties. A journal of “pharmacology’ states that, it induces the natural production of corticosteroids by adrenal glands that are used to suppress inflammation in the body; thus, it helps reduce and alleviate allergic symptoms related to asthma and shortness of breath. It also contains antibacterial properties that lower excess formation mucous which alleviates the condition of cold and coughs.
Brain health benefits
Magnolol is used to ensure normal brain activity and helps to treat Alzheimer’s disease; a publication on “Biomedical Science” stated that the disease is mainly caused by inadequate secretion of acetylcholine compounds with the formation of amyloid plaque that eventually affects the normal activity of the brain. Magnolol secretes choline acetyltransferase and potassium- induced acetylcholine that exhibit neurotrophic effects, thus inhibit damage to brain cells; it modulates the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain that prevents acetylcholinesterase enzymes, thus promoting overall brain health. Besides, it prevents deterioration of the brain cells that cause Alzheimer.
Treatment of dental problems and oral health maintenance
Magnolol is used to prevent tooth decay and treatment of dental problems; besides, it also ensures oral health. According to “Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry,” it extracts helps fight tooth decay, plaque formation, and bad breath by combating bacteria in the mouth. Dentists have recommended the use of chewing gums and mints containing magnolol that helps to kill germs associated with bad breath and preventing the action of dental plaque and cavities causing bacteria.
Researchers at Jeonju University in Korea isolated magnolol extracts from Magnolia Bark and tested it against human prostate cancer cells. The results, published in the journal of “Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry”, showed that magnolol extracts contain angiogenesis inhibitors compounds which inhibits the formation and the development of cancer cells in the body; besides, it helps to treat different types of cancers including prostate and colon cancer, leukemia, and inhibits proliferation of lung squamous carcinoma.
Liver Protective Benefits
Changing lifestyles, eating habits and excessive alcohol consumption have increased the risks of liver damage. Alcohol consumption primarily leads to Alcoholic Liver Disease, which involves the deposition and accumulation of fat in the liver tissues. A publication in the “Journal of Pharmacological Sciences”, researchers fed some rats with alcohol until they were infected with ALD. Then, they administered magnolol extracted from Magnolia, which completely removed all the induced fatty liver deposition. The mechanism involved showed that Magnolol prevents the conversion of sugars contained in the alcohol into fats and their subsequent deposition in the liver tissues.
Magnolol contains synergistic effect that helps to treat depression; according to a study in “Neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry”, extracts from the magnolia bark have antidepressant properties that inhibit the secretion of depression causing hormones.
Powerful antioxidant protection
Magnolol contains potent antioxidant and sedative property that promote cardiovascular health. Its antioxidative activity was demonstrated by Hong et al. in 1994; free radicals destroys lipid and protein membranes by inducing lipid peroxidation and protein denaturation and leads to disruption of DNA double helix structures. Japanese researchers have shown that magnolol components exhibit one thousand times more potent effect than vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol ) in their antioxidant activity. The anti-oxidant property helps fight and prevents the penetration of free radicals into the tissues; thus it lower hypertension significantly, prevents cardiac complications and cardiovascular dysfunction, thus promoting potential heart health benefits. Besides, it plays a vital role in preventing atherosclerotic vascular disease by inhibiting the cellular expression of monocyte chemoattractant protein in vascular smooth muscle cells.
Magnolol contains anti-stress benefits; elevated levels of the cortisol hormone in the brain are associated with obesity and diabetic disorders. Magnolol lowers increased and imbalanced secretion of cortisol hormones, thus reducing the excessive weight gain and helps in efficient weight loss. It is an effective natural treatment for obese condition and reduction of fats in the abdominal area. Normal cortisol levels contribute to lower osteoporosis, memory problems, suppressed immune function, and other stress induced disorders.
Conclusively, vitro and animal studies have documented potential efficacy of magnolol as highly effective anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant,ant-cancer, anti-allergic, and anti-inflammatory phenolic compound. It is an active component isolated from Magnolia officinalis, a traditional Chinese medicine. These health and medicinal benefits of magnolol have intensified the interest to include this herbal compound to the clinic and pharmaceuticals as a novel thera-peutic agent.
Possible side effects
Importantly, there is no significant toxicity or severe side effects that have been reported. However pregnant and lactating mothers should avoid the product; some clinical experiments have showed that magnolol may inhibit oscillatory uterine contractions by blocking calcium production. Patient under medication are also advised to seek medical advice before taking products made from Magnolol; drug-herb interactions that may occur causes a severe side effect. Magnolol may cause mild side effects including excess sleepiness, anxiety, depression, and dizziness in some users. One should always take the recommended doses.
Journal of Pharmacology: “Anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of magnolol”.
A Journal of Biomedical Science: “Determination of phosphocholine acetyltransferase activity and its application to screening for acetyltransferase inhibitors, Inhibition by magnolol”.
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry: “Sweet magnolia: Tree bark extract fights bad breath and tooth decay from the American Chemical Society:”
Publication of Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry: “Anticancer potential of magnolol for lung cancer treatment. Magnolol, a multifunctional antiangiogenic and antitumor agent.”
Journal of Pharmacological Sciences: “Antioxidative and hepatoprotective effects of magnolol on acetaminophen -induced liver damage in rats”.
Neuro-psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry: “Pharmacological properties of magnolol …extracted from Magnolia officinalis on central depressant effects”.
Journal of Biomedical Science: “Magnolol inhibits Mac-1 (CD11b/CD18)-dependent neutrophil adhesion: relationship with its antioxidant effect”.
Journal of Biomedical Science: “Magnolol, a potent antioxidant from Magnolia officinalis”.