Therapeutic applications of compounds in the Magnolia family

Pharmacol Ther. 2011 May;130(2):157-76. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2011.01.010. Epub 2011 Jan 26.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy*
  • China
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Magnolia / chemistry*
  • Medicine, East Asian Traditional / methods
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Nervous System Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Phytotherapy / methods*
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacokinetics
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Plant Extracts