Magnolia bark offers tons of amazing health perks ranging from improved sleep to treatment for anxiety. Read on as we’ve compiled its other benefits to your health!
In this article:
- What Is a Magnolia Bark?
- What Are the Potential Risks of Magnolia Bark?
- How to Select, Prepare, and Store Magnolia Bark
9 Incredible Health Benefits of Magnolia Bark
What Is a Magnolia Bark?
Magnolia refers to a flowering tree native to China. It is used as a therapeutic compound in traditional Chinese, Korean, and Japanese medicine.
The bark and flowers of the magnolia tree are both used for therapeutic purposes. Magnolia bark extract, for instance, is present in topical creams and oils, tea, and supplements.
It contains bioactive compounds, such as honokiol and magnolol. These compounds are prized for magnolia bark’s health benefits.
Honokiol Definition: One of the bark’s active compounds that works like the drug diazepam, which produces a calming effect
Magnolol Definition: A bioactive compound present in the bark that exhibits therapeutic potential for cognitive disorders and inflammatory pain
1. Improved Sleep
Magnolia bark helps to boost the activity of GABA, a neurotransmitter that produces a calming effect. This increased activity slows down the brain’s excitatory neurons, relieving anxiety and enhancing sleep.
2. Heart Health
The bioactive compound present in the plant, magnolol, helps reduce lipids and cholesterol. An animal study conducted in 2018 showed magnolol reduced triglycerides by inhibiting the APOA5 gene.
3. Anti-Anxiety Properties
Magnolia bark is considered as an anxiolytic, helping to lower stress levels and anxiety. This is why some anti-anxiety supplements use it as one of the main ingredients.
It also activates cannabinoid receptors, which contain calming compounds.
Cannabinoid compounds also help relax tight muscles.
4. Depression Management
A separate study revealed that the combination of magnolol and honokiol, the plant’s bioactive compounds, has anti-depressant-like effects on stressed rodents. Another research showed that when combined with ginger, these bioactive compounds can also help treat depression.
5. Brain Health
The plant also contains a compound that helps to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by preventing memory impairment. Meanwhile, a separate study revealed that the compounds helped reduce the death of Aβ‐induced cell, which may contribute to brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s.
6. Diabetes Prevention
The bark also contains another active compound called methylnokiol, which helps prevent insulin resistance. Apart from this, the compound also prevents oxidative liver damage, which can lead to diabetes.
7. Reduced Inflammation
The plant’s bioactive compounds also contain pain-reducing effects, which are valuable for patients experiencing inflammatory pain. Separate research showed that the bark’s extract is effective in reducing the secretion of inflammatory markers.
8. Dental Health
The antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of magnolia bark also help promote dental health. Research showed that chewing gum with bark extract helps prevent the formation of plaque.
9. Reduced Menopausal Symptoms
A combination of the bark and magnesium may also help reduce menopausal symptoms, including vaginal dryness, flushing, insomnia, and palpitations. One study revealed that menopausal women noticed a significant reduction in symptoms after taking the magnolia bark-magnesium combination.
What Are the Potential Risks of Magnolia Bark?
Generally speaking, the bark doesn’t have adverse side effects except for drowsiness. In some instances, you may also experience:
- Thyroid problems
- Shaky hands
- Sexual problems
Additionally, magnolia bark may interact with certain medications. These include:
- Anticoagulant drugs (blood thinners)
- Sleep medications (Sonata, Ambien, and Lunesta)
- Barbiturates (Nembutal, Mebaral, and Luminal)
- Central nervous system depressants (Valium and Xanax)
Also, keep in mind that the bark may have an interaction with herbal remedies, particularly those that work similarly to magnolia. Blood clotting medications may interact with magnolia, too.
Below is a list of herbal medicines and supplements you should be cautious about, especially when you’re also consuming the bark.
- Calamus California poppy
- Jamaican dogwood
- St. John’s wort
- Yerba mansa
- Horse chestnut
- Panax ginseng
Additionally, you should not take magnolia bark in large doses, especially with alcohol. This intensifies the drowsy effects of both the plant and the booze.
Pregnant women are also advised not to take magnolia by mouth as it is unsafe during pregnancy, particularly the magnolia flower bud. Some reports reveal that it may cause uterus contractions and result in a miscarriage.
There is limited information on the bark’s effects on breastfeeding, but breastfeeding women are advised not to use it to be safe.
Magnolia bark may also negatively influence the effectiveness of anesthesia. Since it has relaxing properties, magnolia may also cause the nervous system to slow down.
As a result, anesthesia may not be as effective, which can cause a problem, especially during surgery. Simply put, you should stop its use at least two weeks before your scheduled surgery.
How to Select, Prepare, and Store Magnolia Bark
Natural food stores and specialty shops offer magnolia bark supplements, although you can also purchase them online. You can also source its wild-crafted dried version from traditional Chinese medicine sellers and specialty herbalists.
If it is your first time buying, though, supplements make an easy option as they provide consistent dosing. One example is the Chill Pill, which is derived from magnolia bark.
Such supplements offer several health perks like stress relief and remedy for anxiety. While there are no available guidelines when it comes to dosage, manufacturers usually recommend 200-250 milligrams per day.
For starters, it is ideal to take small doses first, then work your way up, but do not exceed 400 milligrams to prevent adverse magnolia bark side effects.
Since it has a sedating effect, it is also advisable to take it close to bedtime. Magnolia bark also comes in tea and decoctions form, but they are trickier since you can’t measure the dosage accurately.
To be on the side of caution, only purchase from credible retailers and sources. When buying magnolia bark products, don’t forget to read the label, as well.
Although magnolia bark exhibits an excellent therapeutic potential, it’s important to be cautious about its potential risks, as well. Above all, consult your doctor first before taking magnolia bark supplements.
Have you tried taking supplements that contain magnolia bark? What health benefits did you experience, and would you recommend magnolia bark products? Share with us your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below!
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