Planta Med 2008; 74(4): 381-384
DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1034320
Original Paper
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Magnolol and Honokiol Account for the Anti-Spasmodic Effect of Magnolia officinalis in Isolated Guinea Pig Ileum

Sunny Sun-Kin Chan1 , Ming Zhao1 , Lixing Lao2 , Harry H. S. Fong3 , Chun-Tao Che1
  • 1School of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, P.R. China
  • 2Center for Integrative Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  • 3Program for the Collaborative Research in Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Further Information

Publication History

Received: July 19, 2007 Revised: January 23, 2008

Accepted: January 25, 2008

Publication Date:
07 March 2008 (online)


Magnolia officinalis is a commonly used traditional Chinese medicine for treating gastrointestinal disorders. HPLC quantification analysis revealed that magnolol and honokiol were the most abundant constituents of M. officinalis extracts, with their contents in the ethanol extract being the highest, the water extract the least and the 50 % ethanol extract in between. In guinea pig isolated ileum, both magnolol and honokiol inhibited contraction to acetylcholine. The herbal extracts also produced inhibitory responses, in an order of decreasing efficacy: ethanol extract > 50 % ethanol extract > water extract. The differences in inhibitory efficacies among the three extracts were similar to the differences in their magnolol and honokiol contents. Further examination demonstrated that two mixtures containing solely magnolol and honokiol at concentrations identical to those determined in the ethanol and water extracts exhibited similar levels of anti-spasmodic effects as their respective extracts while a ”blank” ethanol extract free of magnolol and honokiol failed to produce any response. These observations suggest that the magnolol and honokiol contents account for the anti-spasmodic effects of M. officinalis extracts in guinea pig isolated ileum.


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Prof. Chun-Tao Che

School of Chinese Medicine

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Hong Kong

People’s Republic of China

Phone: +852-2609-8130

Fax: +852-22603-7203