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Magnolia bark extract comes from one of about 200 different types of flowering trees commonly known as magnolias. These trees are considered to be some of the oldest in nature and are known for their very tough and robust flowers.
Magnolia is most common in Asia, the Americas, and certain parts of the West Indies. In China magnolia bark is known as hou po; it has been used as an ancient medicine by both the Chinese and Japanese for a variety of purposes including asthma and anti-aging applications.
Magnolia bark extract is itself an alcohol that is extracted from the bark of the tree through a very simple process. The fluid is sometimes used straight up as an herbal medicine; other times it is used to make teas or as an ingredient in herbal medicines or dietary supplements.
The active ingredients thought to be beneficial to humans are two compounds known as honokiol and magnolol. Supplement makers claim these two compounds have a wide variety of uses including preventing weight gain, reducing stress, regulating diabetes, and treatment of congestion. Some also claim there are antioxidant benefits from taking magnolia bark extract.
One of the more common marketing tactics for makers of magnolia bark extract has to do with dental hygiene. While studies in this area are still being undertaken, supplement makers have jumped on a limited amount of encouraging research to suggest that this substance can promote overall dental health and reduce the likelihood of bad breath.
A 2007 article published by Science Daily cites research out of Illinois promoting magnolia bark extract for such purposes.
The article says that researchers tested the saliva of study participants for bacteria levels immediately after the completion of a meal. They then repeated the process, with some participants chewing mints made with magnolia bark extract while others used placebos.
Participants who used the test mints were found to have significantly lower bacterial levels in their saliva and those with the placebo. Researchers concluded from the evidence that magnolia bark extract can kill as much as 60% of the bacteria responsible for bad breath and tooth decay.
Outside of its uses in oral hygiene, magnolia bark extract is very rarely linked to other specific benefits. Rather, supplement makers tend to focus on its antioxidant properties and its ability to help with stress-related illnesses.
Claims are generally kept very vague and applied to supplements promoted for overall good health. Often times when magnolia bark extract is used as an ingredient in generalized health supplements it’s not marketed aggressively. You might not even know it is an ingredient in a specific supplement without reading the label carefully.
With that said, there is an emerging claim which is increasingly causing magnolia bark extract to be marketed as part of a weight loss supplement. These claims suggest that the extract helps control cortisol levels in the body.
If this claim is true, it could be beneficial in controlling weight gain, diabetes, memory issues, osteoporosis, and a number of other diseases that have been linked to elevated cortisol levels.
Keep in mind that the claims regarding magnolia bark extract's ability to control cortisol are not supported by any scientific evidence. Therefore, if you're considering this substance as a weight loss product, take all the associated claims with a grain of salt.
No specific dosage guidelines have been established for magnolia bark extract, primarily because it's normally used in herbal teas. A typical dosage recommended by some supplement makers and herbal practitioners is three to nine grams of liquid extract in hot water.
In cases where it is included in a powder or pill, magnolia bark extract dosages range between 250mg and 750mg daily. Regardless of its form, magnolia tree extract should never be taken in amounts exceeding what is recommended on package labels. Any substance ingested into the body can cause toxicity issues if taken in excess.
WebMD lists no known side effects from taking magnolia bark extract on a short term basis. They note two instances in which users reported side effects including heartburn, hand tremors, thyroid problems, and undefined sexual issues.
Magnolia bark extract is generally considered safe when used in conjunction with dosage instructions for short term use.
It must be noted that there is insufficient evidence to address the side effects of long term use. It is thought that magnolia bark extract can cause problems during pregnancy, including miscarriage, as well as central nervous system issues in relation to surgical procedures.
Individuals falling into one of these two categories should check with a doctor prior to taking magnolia bark extract supplements. To locate and compare products containing magnolia bark extract, use the supplement finder now!