The Health Benefits of Honokiol from Magnolia Plant

The plant genus Magnolia includes over 200 species of flowering plants that grow in Asia and the Americas. Magnolias have been around since the time of dinosaurs — before bees existed! — and are thus pollinated by beetles. In the American South, the trees are treasured for their fragrant blooms. But other aspects of magnolias appear to be even greater treasures.

“Magnolia officinalis and Magnolia obovata bark extracts have been used for thousands of years in Chinese and Japanese traditional medicines and are still widely employed as herbal preparations for their sedative, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antispastic effects,” write A. Sarrica and colleagues in a review article. As the review points out, neolignans, and in particular magnolol and honokiol, are the main substances that explain the beneficial properties of the magnolia bark extract.1

Honokiol and magnolol were reported in 1975 to have a long-lasting muscle-relaxing effect in mice.2 This relaxing effect may be due to the compounds’ interaction with receptors for gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter.3 A randomized, placebo-controlled trial involving overweight, premenopausal women resulted in a reduction in mild transitory anxiety in those who received an extract of magnolia combined with the herb Phellodendron amurense.4

Cancer Research

One of the most-promising areas of research involving honokiol is against cancer. “Investigations have demonstrated that honokiol possesses anticarcinogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-angiogenic as well as inhibitory effect on malignant transformation of papillomas to carcinomas in vitro and in vivo animal models without any appreciable toxicity,” write R. Prasad and S. K. Katiyar in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. The authors mention that honokiol affects multiple signaling pathways and that some of its molecular and cellular targets include nuclear factor-κB, STAT3, epidermal growth factor receptor, cell-survival-signaling pathways, the cell-division cycle, and cyclooxygenase. Additionally, its chemopreventive and therapeutic effects have been tested against chronic diseases, including various cancers.5

An extract of Magnolia officinalis as well as magnolol have shown inhibitory effects against skin carcinogenesis in mice.6 In human fibrosarcoma cells, magnolol and honokiol inhibited tumor invasiveness.7 In mice with colorectal cancer, honokiol inhibited tumor growth and prolonged life.8 In human colorectal carcinoma cells, honokiol inhibited cellular growth by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death).9 The compound also has been shown to induce apoptosis in gastric cancer cells, in addition to decreasing tumor growth in mice that received transplanted gastric cancer cells.10 In a study that tested honokiol’s effects in B-cell chronic lymphocytic leukemia, honokiol induced apoptosis and enhanced the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy.11 In multiple myeloma cells, honokiol induced apoptosis in addition to enhancing apoptosis induced by the drug bortezomib.12 Honokiol has also induced apoptosis in prostate cancer cells and inhibited the growth of bone metastases in mice.13 Other research involving human breast cancer cells found induction of apoptosis and cell-cycle inhibition associated with exposure to honokiol.14

Honokiol has shown inhibitory effects against angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that facilitate tumor growth.15 In human breast cancer cells, honokiol downregulated P-glycoprotein, whose expression is responsible for acquired cancer multidrug resistance.16 Honokiol and magnolol have also shown cytotoxic activity against human ovarian adenocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma, and cancer of the cervix.17 These and many other studies suggest a potential role for the compounds in cancer prevention and treatment in humans.

Antimicrobial Effects

In addition to their activity against cancer cells, honokiol and magnolol are active against a variety of undesirable microbes. Although less potent than chlorhexidine, honokiol and magnolol have shown activity against several periodontal microorganisms while demonstrating little toxicity in human gingival cells. The researchers involved in the study suggest that magnolol and honokiol may have a potential use as a safe oral antiseptic for preventing and treating periodontal disease.18 This activity may be responsible for magnolia bark’s ability to block bacteria responsible for oral malodor, which was demonstrated in a human study.19 Another trial that investigated magnolia’s oral effects showed a reduction in gingival inflammation in association with the use of a dentifrice that contained magnolia extract as compared to a control dentifrice.20 Honokiol and magnolol also have shown activity against several species of fungi, including Candida albicans (responsible for oral “thrush”) and an antiviral effect against HIV-1 and hepatitis C.21-23


Honokiol and magnolol have antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory effects.24 A recent study that evaluated the effects of magnolol and honokiol in the intestinal epithelium of mice with diarrhea resulting from E. coli bacteria found that the compounds enhanced intestinal anti-inflammatory capacities, inhibited intestinal epithelium apoptosis, and protected intestinal mucosa.25 In an asthmatic mouse model, honokiol inhibited eosinophil infiltration, decreased airway inflammation, and suppressed inflammatory cytokine production, prompting the authors of the study to recommend its possible use for yet another human disease.26

Anti-Aging Effects

Honokiol has been identified by researchers as an inhibitor of aromatase, an enzyme that converts testosterone to estradiol.27 Theyalso found that honokiol inhibited 5-alpha-reductase-1, one of two enzymes that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that can contribute to male pattern hair loss. By reducing the activity of these enzymes, honokiol could help preserve healthy testosterone levels in men.

Honokiol can also benefit the brain. It can permeate the blood-brain barrier and the blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier, thus increasing its bioavailability in brain tissue. “Various studies have reported the neuroprotective effects of honokiol in the central nervous system, which are due to its powerful antioxidant activity and its ability to ameliorate excitotoxicity, mainly related to the blockade of glutamate receptors and reduction in neuroinflammation. Other recent studies suggest that honokiol could attenuate neurotoxicity caused by abnormally aggregated amyloid beta in Alzheimer's disease.28

In a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease, honokiol given for six weeks decreased the production of amyloid beta (which forms the brain plaques that are characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease), reduced plaque deposition, reduced proinflammatory cytokine production, and improved spatial memory defects, all of which indicates that honokiol could be a promising treatment agent for the disease.29 Other research has found that honokiol promotes a transcription factor known as Nrf2, which suggests that honokiol could be developed as a treatment for oxidative stress–related neurodegenerative disorders.30

The Bottom Line

“Magnolia bark extract is a major constituent of currently marketed dietary supplements and cosmetic products,” note M. Poivre and M. Duez in a recent review. As the authors note, some of the important pharmacological activities that have been reported for this herb and its major compounds include antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and antispasmodic effects.31

It is anticipated that the promising effects reported in preliminary studies of these ancient and beautiful plants will be the subject of further clinical research that will confirm magnolias’ numerous benefits in humans.


  1. Sarrica A et al. Planta Med. 2018 Jun 20.
  2. Watanabe K et al. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1975 Oct;25(5):605-7.
  3. Ai J et al. Pharmacology. 2001 Jul;63(1):34-41.
  4. Kalman DS et al. Nutr J. 2008 Apr 21;7:11.
  5. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;928:245-265.
  6. Konoshima T et al. J Nat Prod. 1991 May-Jun;54(3):816-22.
  7. Nagase H et al. Planta Med. 2001 Nov;67(8):705-8.
  8. Chen F et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2004 Dec 1;10(23):3459-63.
  9. Wang T et al. World J Gastroenterol. 2004 Aug 1;10(15):2205-8.
  10. Sheu ML et al. PLoS One. 2007 Oct 31;2(10):e1096.
  11. Battle TE et al. Blood. 2005 Jul 15;106(2):690-7.
  12. Ishitsuka K et al. Blood. 2005 Sep 1;106(5):1794-800.
  13. Shigemura K et al. Cancer. 2007 Apr 1;109(7):1279-89.
  14. Wolf I et al. Int J Oncol. 2007 Jun;30(6):1529-37.
  15. Bai X et al. J Biol Chem. 2003 Sep 12;278(37):35501-7.
  16. Xu D et al. Cancer Lett. 2006 Nov 18;243(2):274-80.
  17. Syu WJ et al. Chem Biodivers. 2004 Mar;1(3):530-7.
  18. Chang B et al. Planta Med. 1998 May;64(4):367-9.
  19. Greenberg M et al. J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Nov 14;55(23):9465-9.
  20. Hellström MK et al. Int J Dent Hyg. 2014 May;12(2):96-102.
  21. Amblard F et al. J Med Chem. 2006 Jun 1;49(11):3426-7.
  22. Bang KH et al. Arch Pharm Res. 2000 Feb;23(1):46-9.
  23. Lan KH et al. Liver Int. 2012 Jul;32(6):989-97.
  24. Lee J et al. Planta Med. 2005 Apr;71(4):338-43.
  25. Deng Y et al. Med Sci Monit. 2018 May 21;24:3348-3356.
  26. Hong T et al. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2018 Jul;31(4):1279-1284.
  27. Bernard P et al. Clin Interv Aging. 2012;7:351-61.
  28. Talarek S et al. Biofactors. 2017 Nov;43(6):760-769.
  29. Wang D et al. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2018 Jul 10.
  30. Hou Y et al. ACS Chem Neurosci. 2018 Jul 19.
  31. Poivre M et al. J Zhejiang Univ Sci B. 2017 Mar.;18(3):194-214.

Can Creatine Help with Depression?

“I didn’t want to wake up.
I was having a much better time asleep. And that’s really sad.
It was almost like a reverse nightmare, like when you wake up from a nightmare you’re so relieved. I woke up into a nightmare.” –Ned Vizzini, It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Few conditions can be as devastating as depression. The disorder has links with cancer, diabetes, chronic pain, thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis, and heart disease. Approximately 7% of men and 1% of women with a lifetime history of depression die from suicide.

“The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise.” – David Foster Wallace

Treatment of Depression

While antidepressant drugs have been a lifesaver for many people, they fail to help a significant number of users. In studies of adults, 40 to 60 of 100 people who used an antidepressant noticed improvement within six to eight weeks, compared to 20 to 40 who received a placebo.1

The drugs can also have significant side effects in many people and, in some cases, make the condition worse.

In an effort to obtain relief from what has been termed a “half-life,” depressed individuals may turn to psychotherapy or group therapy. These nondrug therapies can be helpful, although depression is considered to be a biochemical disorder. Nevertheless, it can’t be denied that our thoughts have profound effects on our bodies.

“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, ‘There now, hang on, you’ll get over it.’ Sadness is more or less like a head cold— with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.” –Barbara Kingsolver, The Bean Trees

Nutritional Solutions: Creatine Research

Good nutrition is the foundation of a sound body and mind. Essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids all play a role in our mental well-being. Individualized nutritional regimens can be tweaked with the addition of supplements like creatine that have shown promise in preliminary studies. Creatine can also be made in the body from the amino acids arginine, glycine, and methionine.

Creatine plays a vital role in brain energy metabolism,” Tracy L. Hellem, PhD, RN, and colleagues note in a recent article. “Via the creatine kinase reaction, creatine facilitates production of adenosine triphosphate, the nervous system’s principal energy source.”2

A small, preliminary study of creatine monohydrate in eight patients with unipolar depression and two bipolar patients with treatment-resistant depression found significant improvement among the unipolar patients at the end of the four-week study.3

In 2017, the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology reported findings from a pilot study that found a benefit for treatment with creatine and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP, a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan) among women with major depressive disorder who hadn’t experienced improvement with with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drugs.4 Depression scores declined by an average of 60% from pretreatment values after treatment with 5 grams of creatine monohydrate daily and 100 mg of 5-HTP twice daily for eight weeks.

Research suggests that creatine may be particularly effective in women. In depressed women with methamphetamine dependence, eight weeks of daily supplementation with 5 grams of creatine monohydrate resulted in a decrease in depression and anxiety scores as early as the second week of treatment and a reduction in methamphetamine-positive urine drug screens of greater than 50% by week six.2 Treatment increased brain phosphocreatine concentrations, which are reduced in treatment-resistant depression.

“The exact antidepressant mechanism of creatine is not clear, but one possible explanation involves its role in cellular energy metabolism given that accumulated evidence suggests that altered cellular energy metabolism is involved in the pathophysiology of depression,” the authors write. “Since creatine plays a critical role in cellular energy homeostasis, treatment with it might improve cellular energy metabolism.”

A placebo-controlled study that included adolescent girls with SSRI-resistant major depressive disorder found that eight weeks of daily creatine monohydrate supplementation increased mean frontal lobe phosphocreatine levels from pretreatment values, while levels in the placebo group declined.5 Higher phosphocreatine levels were correlated with lower depression scores. The authors note that converging lines of evidence indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction and altered brain bioenergetics could contribute to the etiology of depression. They further indicate that, in mitochondria, phosphocreatine is reversibly converted during the creatine kinase reaction into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) and creatine and that neuronal energy demands are met through a shift in reaction equilibrium, which is designed to keep brain ATP concentrations constant.

In a randomized, double-blind trial that included 52 women with major depressive disorder, participants who received creatine for eight weeks experienced greater improvement in depressive symptoms than those in the placebo group. Women who received creatine also experienced improvement in brain energy metabolism and network organization, which the authors of the report suggest may partly underlie its efficacy.6

Closing Thoughts

While creatine could offer a glimmer of hope to many adults with treatment-resistant depression, those who are being helped by antidepressants should not attempt to replace their drug regimen with creatine.

Supplementation with creatine is not suggested for depressed children or pregnant and lactating women. Individuals who are experiencing depression are advised to first consult their physician to determine the form of therapy that is right for them.


  1. Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care. 2017 Jan 12. Depresson: How effective are antidepressants? PubMed Health. Retrieved from Accessed 29 Jul 2018.
  2. Hellem TL et al. J Dual Diagn. 2015;11(3-4):189-202.
  3. Roitman S et al. Bipolar Disord. 2007 Nov;9(7):754-8.
  4. Kious BM et al. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017 Oct;37(5):578-583.
  5. Kondo DG et al. Amino Acids. 2016 Aug;48(8):1941-54.
  6. Yoon S et al. Biol Psychiatry. 2016 Sep 15;80(6):439-447.

Mindfulness Over Matter: Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety, Depression, and More

Mindfulness Over Matter: Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety, Depression, and More

In the search for nontoxic therapies that can enhance standard disease treatments, combat side effects and, in some cases, prevent things from happening in the first place, many health practitioners and institutions — from holistic healers to hospitals — have made mindfulness meditation a part of patients’ integrative treatment.

What is mindfulness?

While most of us spend a good deal of time worrying about the past or future, mindfulness brings our attention to the present.

“Mindfulness has been conceptualized as paying attention to present moment experience in a non-judgmental manner, and the practice of developing that skill,” according to Á. I. Langer and colleagues.1

For people who have undergone pain or trauma, focusing on the moment and experiencing the pleasure it may bring can be a welcome relief. Meditators begin by focusing on the breath, various areas of the body, or any other aspect of the present moment. Practitioners are advised to start with a short period each day and to gradually increase the experience of being in the now.

Mindfulness can benefit psychological as well as physical conditions. It’s been used by everyone from children to aging members of VA home.

Focus on your food! Give your meal your full attention. This can help with portion control, satiety, and digestion.

Research Findings on Practicing Mindfulness

In adolescents, a cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based sleep intervention improved social problems, attention problems, and aggressive behaviors by improving self-reported sleep quality on school nights.2 Another study, which involved 88 teenagers, found a significant reduction in anxiety, depression, and general symptomology after eight weekly, 45-minute mindfulness intervention sessions.1 The authors of the report suggest that a mindfulness intervention could be utilized as a strategy to decrease negative emotional states and reduce risk factors in adolescent population groups.

In elderly women with major depressive disorders, symptoms of depression and anxiety declined significantly after completion of a four-week detached mindfulness program and four weeks later at a follow-up assessment.3 The improvement was in stark contrast to a control group treated with a standard antidepressant medication who experienced no significant improvement.

Among patients with a lifetime history of chronic or recurrent depression, a mindfulness-based intervention resulted in a significantly greater reduction in symptoms, increased mindfulness, and a decrease in ruminative tendencies and cognitive reactivity in comparison with a control group.4

While the success rate of rehabilitation programs for alcohol and drug abuse has been dismal, the outcome of two randomized trials suggests that mindfulness-based relapse prevention could be an optimal therapy for preventing relapses.5 The researchers found the technique was successful among patients with severe levels of substance abuse disorder symptoms with or without anxiety and depression.

Even a brief 11-minute supervised mindfulness instruction has been association with a reduction in alcohol consumption by at-risk drinkers after seven days, in comparison with a control group that received instruction concerning relaxation.6 A meta-analysis of mindfulness-based interventions in alcohol and drug use disorders that included 37 studies found large effect sizes for mindfulness in levels of perceived craving, negative affectivity, and post-traumatic symptoms.7

Among patients with headache pain who completed a Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy program, significant reductions in pain intensity, pain interference, and pain catastrophizing occurred, accompanied by increases in activity engagement and self-efficacy.8 These benefits were maintained six months after the end of the course.

Mindfulness is helpful not only to patients, but also to those who care for them. In an article titled “Happier Healers” that appeared in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, E. Yang and colleagues report the findings of a study that included 88 medical students who participated in a month-long audio-guided mindfulness meditation program.9 Participants experienced a significant increase in general well-being at the program’s conclusion and a decrease in perceived stress 30 days after the end of the intervention. In undergraduate nursing students, mindfulness was more effective against depression than physical exercise, whose mood-enhancing benefits are well-established.10

In another study involving medical and psychology students, participating in a 15-hour mindfulness course was associated with increased well-being along with improved problem-focused coping after six years of follow-up. The researchers involved in the study suggest that these improvements could contribute to quality of patient care and health care professional resilience.11

It has been said that mindfulness teaches us to respond, not react. In such a way, the technique can improve job performance and lower damaging stress reactions. In one study, an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction course reduced workplace cognitive failures and increased safety compliance among hospital health care workers.12 The authors of the study, which was published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, suggest that mindfulness training could decrease occupational injuries among health care personnel.

The Bottom Line

It’s pleasurable to reminisce or to daydream. And consulting one’s memory, planning for the future, and working out problems in one’s mind are all essential parts of life. Nevertheless, try taking a few minutes or more to “be in the moment.” It just may result in a better mood, improved performance, and greater enjoyment of life.


1. Langer ÁI et al. Rev Med Chil. 2017 Apr;145(4):476-482.
2. Blake MJ et al. Behav Res Ther. 2017 Dec;99:147-156.
3. Ahmadpanah M et al. Psychiatry Res. 2017 Nov;257:87-94.
4. Winnebeck E et al. Behav Res Ther. 2017 Dec;99:124-130.
5. Roos CR et al. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2017 Nov;85(11):1041-1051.
6. Kamboi SK et al. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2017 Nov 1;20(11):936-947.
7. Cavicchioli M et al. Eur Addict Res. 2018;24(3):137-162.
8. Day MA et al. Complement Ther Med. 2017 Aug;33:94-98.
9. Yang E et al. J Altern Complement Med. 2018 May;24(5):505-513.
10. Alsaraireh FA et al. J Nurs Educ. 2017 Oct 1;56(10):599-604.
11. de Vibe M et al. PLoS One. 2018 Apr 24;13(4):e0196053.
12. Valley MA et al. J Occup Environ Med. 2017 Oct;59(10):935-941.

Health Benefits of Noni - Traditional Polynesian Plant

Noni (Morinda citrifolia) has evolved from a little-known Polynesian herb to a household name in the Western world in just a few decades. Thanks in part to savvy marketing campaigns, the word has gotten out on this traditional Tahitian remedy. Does the hype stand up to the science? Here’s what the research has found:

Overview of Benefits

“Traditional Tahitian healers believe the noni plant to be useful for a wide range of maladies, and noni juice consumers throughout the world have similar perceptions,” writes a recent article appearing in the journal Foods. According to the same article, a review of published human studies suggests that noni juice may protect against tobacco smoke-induced DNA damage, increases in blood lipid and homocysteine levels, and systemic inflammation.

The same review article indicates that noni juice may improve joint health, support immune activity and physical endurance, help maintain normal blood pressure, inhibit protein glycation, assist weight management, help bone health in women, and improve gum health. These studies also point to the antioxidant activity of noni juice being more supportive than the other fruit juices being used as placebos.”1

Cancer Research

Most of the scientific studies that have investigated the properties of noni have been recent. In 2003, it was reported that noni inhibited angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels that facilitates tumor growth, in ex vivo cultures of human breast tumors.2 Research has revealed cytotoxic activity for an extract of Morinda citrifolia fruit against human neuroblastoma and breast cancer cells.3 Other research found effects for noni leaf extracts in human epidermoid carcinoma and cervical carcinoma lines.4 Damnacanthal, a compound occurring in noni has also shown anticancer effects in human cells.5 These and other studies have led to experimental and limited clinical studies investigating the use of noni against cancer.

In mice with Ehrlich ascites tumors, treatment with noni and/or the chemotherapy drug doxorubicin resulted in decreased tumor growth due to the induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death).6 A human study of 51 cancer patients published in 2009 found quality of life benefits associated with noni intake at varying doses.7 Improvements in fatigue, pain and the maintenance of physical function were greatest among those who consumed a moderate dose. In another study that included 203 smokers, a month of noni juice extract reduced blood lymphocyte aromatic DNA adducts, a biomarker of carcinogen-caused damage.8 The authors of the report concluded that noni could reduce cancer risk in smokers by blocking carcinogen-DNA binding or removing adducts from genomic DNA.

Another trial involving heavy smokers found that a month of noni juice mitigated cigarette smoke-induced dyslipidemia, as evidenced by significant reductions in serum cholesterol, triglycerides and C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), as well as decreases in homocysteine and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and an increase in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.9

A review of 19 studies that evaluated noni’s anticancer activities concluded that a concentrated component in noni juice may stimulate the immune system to fight cancer while killing up to 36% of cancerous cells.10

Pain and inflammation

In mice, orally administered noni fruit puree reduced pain sensitivity to a degree comparable to that of the analgesic tramadol.11 In the same study, an alcohol extract of the fruit tested in human monocytes stimulated with an inflammation-inducing compound resulted in inhibition of matrix metallopeptidase-9 (MMP-9), a member of a family of enzymes that break down the extracellular matrix in normal and disease processes, including arthritis. These effects led the researchers to suggest that noni preparations could help decrease arthritis-related pain and joint destruction11. Damnacanthal from noni has separately shown pain-reducing and anti-inflammatory effects.12

Metabolic effects

In mice with brain ischemia induced by middle cerebral artery occlusion, noni juice suppressed neuronal damage while improving or completely eliminating related glucose intolerance.13 In mice given a high fat diet, noni supplementation improved glucose and insulin tolerance and fasting glucose levels.14 In another study in which animals were given a high fat diet, those that received noni juice showed a decrease in serum and liver lipids, less liver and visceral fat, higher liver antioxidant capacity and decreased liver markers of inflammation and other factors.15

Topical effects

A combination of ethanol extract and juice pressed from Noni leaves has shown an ability to help protect against ultraviolet B (UVB) light-induced injury when applied topically to human skin.16 Research in mice exposed to UVA and UVB light has also demonstrated skin-protective effects for topical formulations of Morinda citrifolia.17 Compounds in noni have shown a potential to lighten the skin, suggesting a use for uneven skin tone resulting from sun damage.18

Topical noni leaf juice has also shown an ability to improve wound healing, which is one of the traditional uses of the plant in Polynesia.19 Another topical use for noni and noni compounds is against cutaneous Leishmaniasis, a tropical disease caused by a parasite.20 A trial involving 50 patients treated with noni resulted in an excellent response among half of the participants and good improvement among 30%.

Miscellaneous Benefits

Noni has shown potential in numerous other areas of health. Candida albicans is a common fungus in humans that is the source of oral thrush and vaginal yeast infections. In C. albicans cultures, the administration of noni extract halted growth in a dose-dependent manner.21

A compound occurring in noni known as bajijiasu was shown to enhance sexual behavior in mice while increasing testosterone, improving sperm quality and lowering cortisol levels.22

Another promising effect that was recently discovered is an ability for N-butanol extracts of noni to suppress advanced glycation end product-induced inflammation via blocking their interaction with their receptors.23

The Bottom Line

In a Tongan myth, the god Maui was restored to life by having Noni leaves placed on his body. Although this story may be an example of ancient marketing hype, modern research involving noni is promising. Although human studies are limited, the number of positive studies conducted so far should provide the impetus for randomized, controlled trials that are anticipated to reveal more beneficial effects for what has been called the “forbidden fruit.”


  1. West BJ et al. Foods. 2018 Apr 11;7(4).
  2. Hornick CA et al. Angiogenesis. 2003;6(2):143-9.
  3. Arpornsuwan T et al. Phytother Res. 2006 Jun;20(6):515-7.
  4. Thani W et al. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2010 Mar;41(2):482-9.
  5. Nualsanit T et al. J Nutr Biochem. 2012 Aug;23(8):915-23.
  6. Taşkin EI et al. Cell Biochem Funct. 2009 Dec;27(8):542-6.
  7. Issell BF et al. J Diet Suppl. 2009;6(4):347-59.
  8. Wang MY et al. Nutr Cancer. 2009;61(5):634-9.
  9. Wang MY et al. Scientific World Journal. 2012;2012:594657.
  10. Brown AC. Phytother Res. 2012 Oct;26(10):1427-40.
  11. Basar S et al. Phytother Res. 2010 Jan;24(1):38-42.
  12. Okusada K et al. Biol Pharm Bull. 2011;34(1):103-7.
  13. Harada S et al. Yakugaku Zasshi. 2010 May;130(5):707-12.
  14. Nerurkar PV et al. Br J Nutr. 2012 Jul;108(2):218-228.
  15. Lin YL et al. Food Chem. 2013 Sep 1;140(1-2):31-8.
  16. West BJ et al. J Nat Med. 2009 Jul;63(3):351-4.
  17. Serafini MR et al. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:587819.
  18. Akihisa T et al. J Oleo Sci. 2010;59(1):49-57.
  19. Palu A et al. Phytother Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):1437-41.
  20. Sattar FA et al. Nat Prod Commun. 2012 Feb;7(2):195-6.
  21. Jainkittivong A et al. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2009 Sep;108(3):394-8.
  22. Wu ZQ et al. J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Apr 22;164:283-92.
  23. Ishibashi Y et al. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Mar 4;17(1):137.

7 Nutritious Foods to Eat with Braces

Sharon Williams

There are certain foods you can eat while wearing braces and certain foods that you need to avoid while wearing braces. If you feel like you're running out of nutritious options, check out the foods listed below!

Here are seven foods to eat with braces:

1. Yogurt is high in protein and calcium and is a great choice to improve the strength and health of your teeth.

2. Homemade chicken noodle soup is packed with collagen, gelatin, and minerals, which are all necessary for strong teeth and bones. And it’s especially good for someone who has just gotten braces or has an aching mouth.

3. Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients such as vitamin A and keratin. Vitamin A is important in maintaining the soft tissues of your gums as well as the mucous membranes, and keratin helps maintain healthy tooth enamel.

4. Fish is a softer alternative to red meat and contains omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce the rate of gum disease, thereby reducing the inflammation that bacteria cause. Fatty fish such as Atlantic mackerel and salmon are great sources of vitamin D, which allows your body to absorb and use calcium properly.

5. Cooked fruits and vegetables are soft enough to eat and also contain antioxidant vitamins, especially vitamin C, which helps to protect your gums and other tissues from bacterial infections and cell damage.

6. Eggs are soft and rich in phosphorus, which helps in building strong teeth and bones when combined with vitamin D and calcium.

7. Smoothies are the perfect food, especially when you’ve just had your braces tightened. They are fun and easy to make, and there’s an endless variety of liquids, vegetables, and fruits you can mix into your smoothies.

I hope this article was useful and helps you provide your teeth and gums with the above essential nutrients and vitamins they need. It is best to consult an orthodontist to monitor the health of your teeth and to schedule regular follow-up appointments.

Visit the Life Extension Guide to Oral Health to learn about the latest oral health research.

About the Author: Sharon Williams handles digital marketing for Koch Orthodontics in Loganville, GA. With a flair for creating compelling content that clears the clutter and connects with the audience in an instant, she writes about dental topics to educate and help her readers. 

Sharon truly believes that a genuine smile can win a million hearts and talks to her readers about improving their smiles and overall dental health, as well as enhancing their overall lifestyle. In her free time, she likes to organize small meets in her neighborhood where she brings people together to discuss various topics that she writes about.

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