Magnolia Bark, or Magnolia Officinalis has been used to combat stress by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine for almost two thousand years. In China, magnolia bark is called houpu. In Japanese, the word for magnolia bark is hehoupu, or harmonious houpu. Magnolia bark is much more than a natural remedy for stress– it has been shown to have benefits in cortisol reduction and weight loss, to improve dental health and to be an effective antioxidant. Here is what you need to know about magnolia bark extract supplements, including safety, side effects and recommended dosages.
Magnolia bark and stomach distress
Chinese physicians have found magnolia bark extract is especially effective in treating stomach problems caused by stress, such as bloating and tummy aches. When used for digestive problems, magnolia bark is usually combined with other soothing natural medicines such as licorice and ginger root.
Magnolia bark is effective at reducing anxiety caused by stress
Magnolia bark extract is an effective stress reliever. Magnolia bark contains two active chemical compounds called magnolol and honokiol that fight stress and anxiety caused by stress. Recent studies have shown that the active compounds in magnolia bark act as an anti-depressant.
At high doses, magnolia bark has a sedative effect, much like valerian. At low doses, however, magnolia bark has the ability to reduce stress and anxiety without making you feel woozy and spaced out, which is clearly an advantage over other stress reducing herbs for daily life– at work, for example, where you need to reduce stress without reducing your mental acuity.
Magnolia bark and weight loss
In addition to its perceptible ability to reduce stress, magnolia bark has also been shown to reduce the levels of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that has been shown to cause stress related obesity: in other words, unhealthy abdominal fat. High levels of cortisol has been linked to obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory problems and suppressed immune function, so the beneficial health effects of magnolia bark clearly extend beyond mere stress reduction.
Magnolia bark can help ease menopausal and perimenopausal symptoms
Menopause is a stressful time, thanks in part to our wildly fluctuating hormones. Magnolia bark can help ease the stress and anxiety that accompany menopause and perimenopause. M. officinalis is a common ingredients in many popular and widely available natural remedies for menopausal symptoms. I have friends who had great success with Estroven, for example, although I personally have had better luck with magnolia bark supplements by itself, although combined with additional herbal remedies for other symptoms.
Magnolia bark and dental hygiene
Magnolia bark is at the forefront of the fight against tooth decay. Japanese researchers studied the bark from M. Officinalis and found that two active compounds found in magnolia bark– magnolol and honokiol– were effective in fighting the bacteria that causes dental plaque and causes tooth decay. It is effective at fighting the bacteria that causes bad breath, too. Can magnolia bark toothpaste be far behind?
Magnolia bark extract can fight free radicals
Magnolol, honokiol and eudesmol, which is an extract found in magnolia bark, have been shown to be effective antioxidants, great for mopping up excessive free radicals that lead to premature aging and other health problems. Some studies have shown magnolia bark extract to be 1000 times more effective as an antioxidant than vitamin E.
Recent studies have also shown that the active compounds in magnolia bark are effective in fighting cancer, especially colorectal and prostate cancers and some types of leukemia.
Is magnolia bark safe? What is the recommend dosage of magnolia bark?
Magnolia bark is safe and has not been shown to produce side effects or be toxic at normal levels.
In order to treat stress with magnolia bark supplements, the recommended dosage is 300 mg of magnolia bark extract per day. If possible, it is best to spread out the dosage, up to three times a day. If you wish to make a tincture or tisane with magnolia bark, a higher dosage may be called for because the active ingredients may be diluted; consult a practitioner of traditional Chinese or Japanese medicine.
Please remember that Complementary and Alternative Medicine is just that: medicine. As with any herbal supplement, please consult with your doctor before using Magnolia bark extract as an alternative treatment or as a natural remedy for stress.