We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Magnolia Bark Extract?

By Caitlin Kenney
Updated Feb 22, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Magnolia bark extract is a fluid alcohol extracted from the bark of a magnolia plant and frequently administered as an herbal medicine. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine called houpu or hou po for hundreds of years, and it is recognized worldwide for its medicinal properties. This extract is used to treat a variety of conditions and symptoms, especially upset stomach, allergic reactions, impaired breathing, anxiety, weight loss, and halitosis. The active ingredients in the medicine are present in almost all species of magnolia, but the Magnolia officinalis, or Houpu magnolia, is the most frequently used.

The primary active ingredients in magnolia bark extract are magnolol and honokiol, biphenol compounds, which are thought to reduce stress and stress-related symptoms and inhibit cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone associated with stress and flight or fight responses, as well as weight gain, diabetes, and immunosuppression. The extract also contains eudesmol, an essential oil with possible antioxidant advantages. Antioxidants repair and prevent cellular oxidative damage caused by free radicals, which can lead to increased cell strength, increased immune function, and decreased risk of heart disease and cancer. The magnolia flower is sometimes used to treat sinus congestion and headaches.

Honokiol is present in magnolia bark at about 1 to 5%, and magnalol is present at roughly 2 to 10%. Typical doses use 3 to 9 grams of bark in hot water. Other traditional formulas include pin yin for constipation and congestion, which incorporates different proportions of magnolia bark extract, rhubarb, and chih-shih depending on its targeted function. Pin yin formulas for digestive system weakness tend to mix magnolia bark with ginger and licorice. Respiratory issues are often treated with formulas mixing it with cinnamon twig.

Magnolia bark is also used to treat halitosis, or bad breath, because of its antibacterial properties and fragrance. The antibacterial activity of the extract may also help to prevent tooth decay and is thought to kill most halitosis-associated oral bacteria within 30 minutes. Magnolol can also help prevent plaque build-up by inhibiting the enzyme glucotransferase. Some chewing gums and breath mints are manufactured with the extract to promote fresh breath and tooth health.

This extract usually comes from cultivated trees, typically in China. It is usually marketed in capsule or tablet form, especially in the Western world. No adverse effects have been associated with the use of normal dosages of magnolia bark extract. The herbal medicine should not be taken, however, with any drugs that act on the central nervous system, such as barbiturates, alcohol, or mood altering medications. Tuhoupu, an herb made from manglietia, is sometimes used as a substitute for magnolia bark.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1003484 — On Jul 03, 2020

Do not operate machinery because it can make you wobbly.

By anon317845 — On Feb 04, 2013

I use Honokare tincture by the US company Zortho Research. It's expensive but effective (for me)!

By anon225503 — On Oct 27, 2011

I live in Surrey. Where can I find some?

By yournamehere — On Dec 11, 2010

I know researchers are getting really excited about magnolia bark extract for dental hygiene. I heard on the news the other day about this study where the scientists had people chew on mints that had magnolia extract in them after a normal meal, and found that it killed something like 60 percent of the germs that cause bad breath within 30 minutes of the meal.

They also found that the extract seems to go after the certain kinds of bacteria that cause cavities, and it doesn't seem to have any side effects like staining the teeth or anything, and so it looks like it really could be a great dental hygiene supplement.

I've never used it, personally, though I do have a friend who chews magnolia bark herb extract gum sometimes -- I think she gets it at her health food store.

Has anybody reading this actually tried it? I'd be really curious to hear about your experience.

By naturesgurl3 — On Dec 09, 2010

@lightning88 -- Smart you. The only thing that I've heard about as far as magnolia officinalis extract side effects go is that it can make you kind of drowsy, and that it interacts with other things that affect the nervous system -- alcohol, drugs, etc.

Every package that I see says that you shouldn't operate heavy machinery when taking magnolia bark extract too, but it doesn't say exactly why.

Oh, also, I know that pregnant women shouldn't take it, because it can cause uterine contractions and possibly lead to a miscarriage, and people who are about to undergo surgery also shouldn't take it, since it can mess with your nervous system when combined with the anesthesia.

Hope that helps!


By lightning88 — On Dec 08, 2010

I had also heard that magnolia bark extract is really fantastic for your heart, and has really powerful antioxidant properties too. One article I read said that magnolia bark supplements offered over 1,000 times the antioxidants than regular vitamin E, and so are very good for your health as well as keeping you young.

I can only imagine how powerful that would be if you took it in conjunction with other potent herbs, like with boswellia extract or phellodendron extract (now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure they actually have magnolia phellodendron extracts...)

I haven't heard too much about side effects though, which makes me kind of leery. Anything that is that powerful is going to have some kind of side effect on your body, and I really like to learn about all the possible side effects of a supplement before I even think about taking it, amazing antioxidant or not.

Do you have any information about this?


WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.