Magnolia Tree Bark Extract Fights Bad Breath, Tooth Decay, Stress

Magnolia Bark has been used in Chinese Medicine since the year 100 A.D. Magnolia Bark was primarily selected as a safe treatment for low energy, anxiety, stress and depression. Recently, after hundreds of years of herbal use, scientific research discovered that magnolia bark is rich in two biphenol compounds (magnolol and honokiol), which are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-lowering effects of the plant. Today, medical research specifies that magnolia's anti-stress benefits are, indeed, linked to its ability to control levels of the body's primary stress hormone, cortisol.

Elevated cortisol levels are associated with conditions including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, memory problems and suppressed immune function; magnolia bark can help these conditions by regulating cortisol levels. Numerous health benefits are associated with normal cortisol levels.

Old-time herbalists used magnolia bark in hypertension herbal remedies and Japanese researchers have now determined that the magnolol and honokiol components of Magnolia officinalis are one thousand times more potent than alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) in their antioxidant activity, thereby offering a potential heart-health benefit. Research has also shown both magnolol and honokiol to possess powerful "brain-health" benefits through their actions in modulating the activity of various neurotransmitters and related enzymes in the brain.

The latest research news from scientists in Illinois report that breath mints made with magnolia bark extract kill most oral bacteria that causes bad breath and tooth decay within 30 minutes of chewing the mints. A magnolia bark extract could be a boon for oral health when added to chewing gum and mints according to a study reported in the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a bi-weekly publication.

Minmin Tian and Michael Greenberg tested the germ-killing power of magnolia bark extract using saliva samples taken from volunteers following a regular meal.

In this new study, Mints containing the extract killed more than 61 percent of the germs that cause bad breath within 30 minutes, compared with only a 3.6 percent germ-kill for the same flavorless mints without the extract, the researchers say. Magnolia bark is much more effective than existing anti-bacterial products for bad breath, which are far from ideal, with some having side effects like tooth staining.

The extract also showed strong antibacterial activity against a group of bacteria known to cause cavities. Mints and chewing gum containing the extract may also provide a "portable oral care supplement to dentifrice (toothpaste), where brushing is not possible," the study states.

Herbalists have also used magnolia bark in herbal remedies for the following health conditions:

Traditional Usage:

* Allergies

* Anti-anxiety

* Anti-inflammatory

* Antioxidant

* Chest Pain

* Cleansing

* Detoxification

* Digestive Problems

* Emotional Distress

* Energy Loss

* Fainting

* Heart Health Maintenance

* Hormonal Imbalances

* Inflammation

* Insomnia

* Muscle tension

* Nervousness

* Obesity

* Stress and restlessness

* Tension

* Tension Headaches

All magnolia species have been found to have similar active ingredients and are used interchangeably.

Drug Interactions when ingesting Magnolia Bark tincture, extract or capsules:

Do not use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Contraindications for ingestion of Magnolia Bark tincture extract or capsules:

Contraindicated for use with substances that act on the central nervous system such as alcohol, barbiturates, and mood altering medications.

Side Effects:

No significant toxicity or adverse effects have been associated with traditional use of magnolia bark. However, do not operate heavy machinery while ingesting magnolia bark. (newstarget, 1.08.2008, Leslee Dru Browning)


Compressed Mints and Chewing Gum Containing Magnolia Bark Extract Are Effective against Bacteria Responsible for Oral Malodor in the Nov. 14 issue of the ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (

Sweet magnolia: Tree bark extract fights bad breath and tooth decay from the American Chemical Society:

Herb & Supplement Encyclopedia:

About the author

Leslee Dru Browning is a 6th generation Medical Herbalist & Nutritionist from the ancestral line of Patty Bartlett Sessions; Pioneer Mid-Wife & Herbalist. Leslee practiced Medical Herbalism and Nutritional Healing for over 25 years and specialized in Cancer Wellness along with Chronic Illness. She now devotes her career to teaching people, through her writing, about Natural Healing from An Herbal Perspective.