The pharmacokinetics of magnolol in rats was studied after 2, 5, or 10 mg/kg-1 intravenous bolus injection. Plasma concentration-time profiles of magnolol were fitted by a two-compartment open model. There were no significant differences in the elimination half-life, the total body clearance, steady-state volume of distribution, or mean residence time. The area under the plasma-time curve and area under the moment-time curve of magnolol appears to increase proportionally from a dose of 2 to 10 mg/kg-1. These results suggest that magnolol possess linear pharmacokinetics. Notwithstanding, brain concentration of magnolol showed no significant difference among various regions (cerebral cortex, olfactory bulb, hippocampus, striatum, cerebellum, brain stem and rest of brain) after 10 min of magnolol (5 mg/kg-1, i.v.) administration, the mean brain drug concentration was approximately fourfold that of magnolol in plasma.