Magnolia bark is a natural remedy said to offer a range of health benefits. Long used in traditional Chinese medicine, magnolia bark is sourced from Magnolia officinalis (a tree native to China). Magnolia bark contains honokiol, a natural compound that acts as a phytoestrogen.
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.
Magnolia bark has been used to treat menstrual cramps, abdominal pain, abdominal bloating and gas, nausea, and indigestion. The bark is also an ingredient in formulas used for treating coughs and asthma. The bark is used internally in the treatment of abdominal distension, loss of appetite, gastro-enteritis, vomiting, diarrhoea, asthma and coughs with acute phlegm. The bark and flower buds of Magnolia officinalis have been used to treat coughs and colds and intestinal problems.
Japanese researchers have determined that "honokiol" and "magnolol", two chemicals found in Magnolia Bark, are up to 1000 times more potent than Vitamin E in antioxidant activity. These two active compounds are thought to contribute to the primary anti-stress and cortisol-balancing effects of the plant. Numerous animal studies have demonstrated honokiol to act as an anti-stress agent at lower doses. Magnolol, a compound isolated from the cortex of Magnolia officinalis, has been found to possess anti-allergic and anti-asthmatic activity.
Magnolia Bark is getting much press as a "cortisol", the stress hormone-lowering supplement. Cortisol has also been associated with weight gain (particularly fat in the abdominal area), sugar control problems, memory problems, and a host of other stress induced disorders.
In studies, honokiol was compared with diazepam (Valium), a well known pharmaceutical anxiolytic. Honokiol was found to be five times stronger than diazepam in reducing anxiety without the side effects of diazepam. While Diazepam does reduce anxiety, it also induces muscle relaxation, an effect not shared by honokiol. It would seem that honokiol is less likely than diazepam to induce physical dependence, central nervous system depression, motor nerve disruption, or amnesia at doses eliciting the anxiolytic effect.
Ms Mona Yang
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