Magnolia Extract May Fight Cancer

Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RN

The magnolia is an extremely beautiful flower. It may also serve as medicine. Why? Because an extract it contains may serve as a cancer treatment, if the results of a recent study are further substantiated.

According to this new research, honokiol, an extract from magnolia bark, may help to combat cancers of the head and neck.

The results were published in the journal, Oncotarget.

Honokiol Blocks a Cancer Promoting Protein

Head and neck cancers arise in the lip, nose, sinus, mouth, salivary glands, and throat. They account for 3% of all cancers diagnosed within the United States. About 75% are attributed to the use of tobacco and alcohol.1,2

For the current study, different cells of the mouth, throat, tongue, and voice box derived from human cancers were treated with honokiol extract. Honokiol was also tested against tumors implanted in mice.

According to the results of the study, honokiol promoted the death of cultured cancer cells and reduced the weight of tumors in mice. In addition, honokiol effectively blocked EGFR more strongly than a conventional treatment.

EGFR is a protein that is associated with 90% of head and neck cancers.3 Although the results of this study are interesting, more research needs to be conducted. Clinical trials are lacking.

Honokiol May Combat a Variety of Cancers

Apart from targeting cancers of the head and neck, honokiol, shows potential for fighting colon, lung, prostate, breast, skin, and kidney cancers.4-7

Honokiol targets different processes that cancer cells use to survive, inducing apoptosis (cancer cell suicide), inhibiting the spread of cancer cells, and blocking multiple proteins that cancers need to grow.7

Supplement With Honokiol

Honokiol is available as a dietary supplement and has been used traditionally in Eastern medicine to treat anxiety and mood issues. Therapeutic doses range between 1–12 grams daily. Honokiol is well-tolerated with few reported side effects.


  1. Available at: Accessed July 31st, 2015. 
  2. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2007 May 16;99(10):777-89. 
  3. Oncotarget. 2015 May 19. 
  4. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2009 May;11(5):1139-48. 
  5. Am J Surg. 2014 Dec;208(6):995-1002; discussion 1001-2. 
  6. Mol Cells. 2014 May;37(5):383-8. 7. Int J Oncol. 2015 Jun;46(6):2293-8.


Pema said...

Please be aware that Honokiol is a strong blood thinner. I learned this the hard way when a doctor had my husband on Honokiol infusions, knowing that my husband's tumor had a history of bleeding -- one time so heavily that he almost bled out.

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