The multifunctional antioxidant ingredient you wouldn’t expect: Magnolia

Known as a symbol of longevity, strength, and purity, Magnolia is widely documented for its many biological activities and benefits to human health.

The bark is the main part of medicinal interest, as it is rich in biologically active compounds and has been used for centuries in traditional Oriental medicine as a remedy for gastrointestinal disorders, anxiety, allergies, insomnia, and proposed as an antioxidant, antispasmodic, and antimicrobial.1

The principal phytoconstituents responsible for Magnolia bark’s beneficial properties are magnolol and honokiol, two neolignans (a particular group of polyphenols), with numerous citations in the scientific literature describing their mechanisms of action and a broad spectrum of biological activity.

The two polyphenols, magnolol and honokiol, are, in fact, natural micronutrients known to be powerful antioxidant agents, protecting against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals.

With our exploration of new formulations combining unconventional active ingredients, backed by sound scientific rationale, we deepened our knowledge of the Magnolia extract’s distinctive qualities in HAP Body Brain Skin®, both in the nutraceutical and dermo-cosmetic fields, as a valuable plant source possessing high biological potential.

From this new perspective, Magnolia transcends the simple, evocative image of elegance and beauty and, in every respect, becomes a valuable innovative formulative ally, a key active ingredient in the three HAP Body Brain Skin® line products, contributing to the promise of the best possible long-term well-being: promoting Body, Brain, and Skin health in the natural aging process (Healthy Aging).

Next, we explore the preventive effects and benefits of signs of aging for the organism’s health while respecting its physiological balance.

Benefits of Magnolia

Body 9:9® Food Supplement:

In the exclusive Body 9:9® combination, the Magnolia extract, with the other active ingredients, helps to effectively counteract the 9 Hallmarks of Aging, particularly via its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action.

Benefits for body health in Body 9:9®:

  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity

The active compounds extracted from Magnolia bark provide valuable support in controlling inflammatory conditions and oxidative stress, which are responsible for biochemical imbalances, thereby preventing the action of the 4 primary hallmarks: genomic instability, telomere attrition, epigenetic alterations, and loss of proteostasis.

Magnolol and honokiol are implicated in many inflammation signaling pathways in this specific instance. They exhibit synergistic action by inhibiting NF-kB and PPAR, which are responsible for producing and signaling cytokines and proinflammatory mediators such as COX, PGE2, and iNOS.3

  • Counteracting cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction

The anti-inflammatory action enables the control of excessive inflammatory stress associated with cellular senescence and mitochondrial dysfunction, counteracting the toxic communication mechanism of the senescent cells.4

  • Hypoglycemic action

Magnolol and honokiol exhibit hypoglycemic action, i.e., they reduce blood glucose concentration by promoting glucose uptake (absorption) and inhibiting alpha-glucosidase.

Furthermore, hypoglycemic activity also stimulates proper nutrient sensing, favoring the control and prevention of metabolic diseases3, including the containment of insulin resistance.

Brain 5:5® Food Supplement:

In the exclusive Brain 5:5® combination, patent-pending, Magnolia phytoconstituents combine anxiolytic and neuroprotective activity with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. Thanks to their high lipophilicity, magnolol and honokiol are able to cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the central nervous system to promote the 5 main cognitive functions.

Benefits for brain health in Brain 5:5®:

  • Neuroprotection

Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, magnolol and honokiol counteract in vitro neuronal damage induced by toxic stimuli such as glucose deprivation or stimulation with excitatory amino acids (e.g., aspartate). They prevent neurodegeneration following ischemia-induced damage and lower the rate of neuronal death caused by beta-amyloid, which is currently the leading cause attributed to the pathogenesis of degenerative Alzheimer’s disease.5

Compared with other polyphenols, honokiol also plays a comparatively more significant neuroprotective role due partly to potent neurotrophic activity that fosters healthy connections between nerve cells.6

  • It stimulates acetylcholine release

The concomitant treatment with magnolol and honokiol stimulates the release of acetylcholine (a neurotransmitter critical for cognitive function) in the hippocampus, positively impacting memory and preventing age-related learning impairments.7

  • Anxiolytic

Magnolol and honokiol exhibit agonist activity on GABA receptors, thereby fostering anxiolytic activity.6

Dosage in our food supplements: 2

Of the ingredients in dietary supplements, the Magnolia officinalis Rehder & Wilson variety is listed among the botanicals permitted by the Italian Ministry of Health. In our Body 9:9® and Brain 5:5® food supplements, we offer an extract of Magnolia officinalis bark titrated to 2% honokiol, with a dosage of 100 mg/capsule (for a maximum of 200 mg per day, consistent with safety considerations for use).

But does Magnolia extract also act on the skin? Yes!

We selected LEMA 14-A, an innovative multifunctional natural active ingredient with proven efficacy, rich in magnolol and honokiol thanks to supercritical CO2 extraction that ensures selectivity and purity, as the Magnolia bark extract for topical use.

The LEMA 14-A formulation is highly effective in improving skin cell health thanks to its countless properties derived from the same vasoactive compounds extracted from Magnolia bark.

Skin 3:3® Optimizing Face Cream:

Magnolol and honokiol molecules are potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatories for the skin as well. That is why they are utilized in our Skin 3:3® face cream, providing extensive and deep action across the 3 layers of the skin to counteract inflammaging, the underlying cause of skin aging.

Benefits for skin health of LEMA 14-A in Skin 3:3®:

  • Anti-inflammatory action and free radical scavenger (antioxidant)

Skin health is closely related to inflammaging, i.e., the chronic low-grade inflammation that progressively increases with age and is considered in all respects to be a marker of biological aging.8

The presence of magnolol and honokiol in the natural active ingredient LEMA 14-A promotes skin health by reducing crucial inflammatory signals, as demonstrated by the in vitro efficacy in inhibiting levels of proinflammatory cytokines 9,11, such as TNF-α and IL-6,3 and preventing the degradation of the dermal matrix.

  • Antimicrobial Efficacy

Due to the antibacterial properties of Magnolia phytoconstituents 9,11, LEMA 14-A is used as a natural booster in the final product’s preservative system.


  1. Sarrica A, Kirika N, Romeo M, Salmona M, Diomede L. Safety and Toxicology of Magnolol and Honokiol. Planta Med. 2018 Nov;84(16):1151-1164.
  2. Allegato 1, DM 10 agosto 2018 “Disciplina dell’impiego negli integratori alimentari di Sostanze e preparati vegetali”
  3. Zhang J, Chen Z, Huang X, Shi W, Zhang R, Chen M, Huang H, Wu L. Insights on the Multifunctional Activities of Magnolol. Biomed Res Int. 2019 May 23;2019:1847130.
  4. Melo Pereira S, Ribeiro R, Logarinho E. Approaches towards Longevity: Reprogramming, Senolysis, and Improved Mitotic Competence as Anti-Aging Therapies. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 21;20(4):938
  5. Lee YJ, Choi DY, Han SB, Kim YH, Kim KH, Seong YH, Oh KW, Hong JT. A Comparison between Extract Products of Magnolia officinalis on Memory Impairment and Amyloidogenesis in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. Biomol Ther (Seoul). 2012 May;20(3):332-9.
  6. Woodbury A, Yu SP, Wei L, García P. Neuro-modulating effects of honokiol: a review. Front Neurol. 2013 Sep 11;4:130
  7. Hou YC, Chao PD, Chen SY. Honokiol and magnolol increased hippocampal acetylcholine release in freely-moving rats. Am J Chin Med. 2000;28(3-4):379-84.
  8. Pająk, Justyna et al. “Inflammaging and Immunosenescence as Part of Skin Aging-A Narrative Review.” International journal of molecular sciences 24,9 7784. 24 Apr. 2023
  9. Jui-Lung Shen et al. Honokiol and Magnolol as Multifunctional Antioxidative Molecules for Dermatologic Disorders Molecules 2010, 15, 6452-6465.
  10. Riccardo Amorati et al. Antioxidant Activity of Magnolol and Honokiol: Kinetic and Mechanistic Investigations of Their Reaction with Peroxyl RadicalsJ. Chem. 2015, 80, 21, 10651–10659, October 8, 2015.
  11. Kun-Yen Ho et al. Antimicrobial Activity of Honokiol and Magnolol Isolated from Magnolia officinalis Phytother. 15, 139–141 (2001).


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