Honokiol is a lignin isolated from the bark, seed cones, and leaves of the trees of various Magnolia species. Honokiol, along with other active molecules in magnolia, such as magnolol and obovatol, has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. (Life Extension)

How magnolia bark affects sleep and health

Cancer protection. Some bioactive compounds found in magnolia bark—notably the compound costunolide—are attracting a great deal of attention for their cancer-fighting capabilities. Studies show this compound in magnolia bark triggers the death of human cancer cells in several different types of cancer, including forms of leukemia, ovarian, and breast cancers. Recent research at John’s Hopkins University indicates that a compound in magnolia bark may reduce cancer cell growth in breast cancer that’s influenced by the hormone leptin, which regulates energy and appetite and plays a significant role in obesity.


This study says:
Here…we report that HNK exerts inhibitory effects on the metastasis of lung cancer cells to the brain indicating that the compound has chemopreventive potential against both primary lung tumors and on metastasis of lung cancer to the brain.

This Research Review found:
The preclinical research on honokiol is compelling, and its potential benefits combined with lack of toxicity are promising. Honokiol is currently being administered by a growing number of clinicians as an adjuvant therapy to address numerous pro-inflammatory and neurologic conditions, as well as multiple types of cancer.

This study concluded:
… our results show that honokiol is a promising chemotherapeutic agent with a variety of anticancer effects. Honokiol treatment induced growth inhibition of osteosarcoma cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

This study says:
Honokiol, a natural biphenolic compound, exerts anticancer effects through a variety of mechanisms on multiple types of cancer with relatively low toxicity…Additionally, honokiol inhibited the migration and invasion of ovarian cancer cells… These results indicated that honokiol may have therapeutic potential in ovarian cancer by targeting AMPK activation.

This study says:
We have demonstrated for the first time that honokiol has potent anti-angiogenic and anti-tumor properties in vitro and is systemically active against aggressive angiosarcoma in vivo.

This study says:
In summary, we demonstrate here the pronounced anti-cancer and anti-metastatic potential of Mito-HNK [mitochondria-targeted honokiol (Mito-HNK) ] using both in vitro and in vivo lung cancer models. Mito-HNK potently inhibits orthotopic lung tumor growth as well as lung cancer metastasis to the brain…
The low toxicity of Mito-HNK, coupled with its ability to cross the BBB [blood-brain barrier], makes it a highly attractive preventive and therapeutic agent for lung cancer and its brain metastases. Targeting of cancer cell mitochondrial bioenergetics represents a new strategy for treating lung cancer.

This Review concluded:
For centuries, researchers have been searching for strategies to control cancer progression through different approaches. Honokiol is a potential natural compound that exerts multiple effects on different cellular processes in various cancer models. Honokiol has been shown to regulate cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, necrosis, and autophagy, as well as the inhibition of metastasis and angiogenesis through various signalling pathways.

Cancer Treatment Options 

Page updated 2024

Please share this page to help others