The bark and/or seed cones of the Magnolia tree have been used in traditional herbal medicines in Korea, China and Japan. Bioactive ingredients such as magnolol, honokiol, 4-O-methylhonokiol and obovatol have received great attention, judging by the large number of investigators who have studied their pharmacological effects for the treatment of various diseases. Recently, many investigators reported the anti-cancer, anti-stress, anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects as well as toxicities and pharmacokinetics data, however, the mechanisms underlying these pharmacological activities are not clear. The aim of this study was to review a variety of experimental and clinical reports and, describe the effectiveness, toxicities and pharmacokinetics, and possible mechanisms of Magnolia and/or its constituents.
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