Magnolia has long been used as a medicinal plant and new research is showing more of this powerhouse’s uses. The new studies show that an extract from magnolia bark is a powerful anticancer agent that can be used to treat multiple different invasive cancers.
The bark, cones, and leaves from magnolia trees can be cooked and boiled down to produce honokiol a syrupy extract with amazing capabilities. Honokiol has been found to inhibit the growth of renal cancers, head and neck cancers, lung cell cancers, and several others.
The tree has been used medicinally in ancient Asian cultures and, more recently, magnolia has been used therapeutically across Europe and North America. Typically used for anxiety, stress, and breathing conditions,magnolia is complex and made up of many natural, healing compounds.
The chemical formula C18-H18-O2 (honokiol) is just one chemical compound in magnolia that helps inhibit cancer cell growth, but there are hundred’s of other active ingredients still being researched. The above compound is the main source of study for the anticancer properties of magnolia.
Head and Neck Cancers
Head and neck cancers are defined as tumors in the oral cavity, pharynx and larynx (the throat), and the sinuses and salivary glands. The term nasopharyngeal cancer is progressively being used to describe these cancers.
More than 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with one of these nasopharyngeal cancers every year. The survival rate for these cancers is around 50 percent. A recent study from the University of Alabama found that honokiol inhibits several types of head and neck cancers.
Using human cancer cell lines like oral cavity squamous tumor cells and those from the larynx, tongue, and pharynx the team found that honokiol induced apoptosis (cell death) in the cancerous cells.
“Conclusively, honokiol appears to be an attractive bioactive small molecule phytochemical for the management of head and neck cancer which can be used either alone or in combination with other available therapeutic drugs,” says Dr. Santosh K. Katiyar, the lead researcher in the study.
Moreover, the honokiol extract has been found to halt small-cell lung cancer, which is roughly a quarter of all lung cancers. More invasive and deadly than other forms of lung cancer, the majority of sufferers face death because of the invasive metastasis of the disease.
In a study from the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and the Peking Union Medical College found that the honokiol compound from magnolia tree bark stopped the growth of tumor cells. In fact, honokiol seems to turn on a kill switch for these cancerous cells.
Researchers from China’s Zhongshan Hospital and Fudan University studied honokiol’s use on gastric cancers. They found that the compound halts cancer cell growth by starting apoptosis among the tumor cells.
Quite an invasive cancer, the only way a doctor can treat this cancer is to remove the affected kidney. Cases of renal cancers have steadily been growing over the years and natural cures are needed. Researchers from Indiana University and California’s Amitabha Medical Clinic and Healing Center found that honokiol inhibited cancer cell growth:
“Our results showed that honokiol significantly inhibited the invasion and colony formation of highly metastatic RCC cells 786-0 in a dose-dependent manner.”
Every year millions of women are diagnosed with breast cancer and every year hundreds of thousands of die from the devastating cancer. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine tested honokiol against breast cancer and were surprised with the results.
Not only did the magnolia compound stop the cell growth, it interfered with the cancer cells’ ability to communicate, which means that growth and proliferation was stopped entirely. Researchers say:
“Our results show that HNK (honokiol) significantly inhibits leptin-induced breast-cancer cell-growth, invasion, migration and leptin-induced breast-tumor-xenograft growth. Using a phospho-kinase screening array, we discover that HNK inhibits phosphorylation and activation of key molecules of leptin-signaling-network.”