The Neuropharmacological Effects of Magnolol and Honokiol: A Review of Signal Pathways and Molecular Mechanisms

Curr Mol Pharmacol. 2023;16(2):161-177. doi: 10.2174/1874467215666220223141101.


Magnolol and honokiol are natural lignans with good physiological effects. As the main active substances derived from Magnolia officinalis, their pharmacological activities have attracted extensive attention. It is reported that both of them can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and exert neuroprotective effects through a variety of mechanisms. This suggests that these two ingredients can be used as effective therapeutic compounds to treat a wide range of neurological diseases. This article provides a review of the mechanisms involved in the therapeutic effects of magnolol and honokiol in combating diseases, such as cerebral ischemia, neuroinflammation, Alzheimer's disease, and brain tumors, as well as psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Although magnolol and honokiol have the pharmacological effects described above, their clinical potential remains untapped. More research is needed to improve the bioavailability of magnolol and honokiol and perform experiments to examine the therapeutic potential of magnolol and honokiol.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; Magnolol; anti-ischaemic; honokiol; molecular mechanisms; neuritis; neuroma; neuropharmacology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Biphenyl Compounds / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Lignans* / pharmacology
  • Lignans* / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction


  • magnolol
  • honokiol
  • Lignans
  • Biphenyl Compounds