Magnolia: a Nature’s gift! The beneficial properties of the Eastern bark

magnoliaMagnolia officinalis is one of flowering plant of Magnoliaceae family, originating from Far East (China, Thailand, Korea and Japan). Several officinal extracts from bark and strobili have been used in traditional eastern medicine. In particular, special decoctions or teas from Magnolia bark have been used for 2000 years in traditional Chinese medicine for treating different disorders, such as cough, asthma and gastrointestinal or urinary tract illnesses. The eastern herbalist preparation, known as “Saiboku-to” – containing Magnolia bark – have been used up till now to alleviate asthma and  anxiety as well.

The majority of beneficial activities of Magnolia derive from certain allyl-phenols, such as magnolol and honokiol. Several pharmacological activities are ascribed to Magnolia:  the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotectant activities along with the ability to inhibit platelets aggregation. Among the new promising actions it should be cited the action in contrast angiogenesis and certain tumor mechanisms. Bioactive components of Magnolia (above all honokiol) have been attracted deep interest: scientific community is investigating beneficial activity toward anxiety, depression and stress treatment. Among documented scientific properties, particular attention is addressed to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepato-protective properties.

The relevant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Magnolia have been explored for cosmetic purposes, as well. Very recently, great interest have been addressed to antimicrobial activities in topical formulation: Magnolia shows beneficial effects in  young skin in limiting acne related bacteria such as Propionibacterium acnes. Moreover, recent studies on oral-care applications have been shown magnolol and honokiol are able to modulate cellular activities of microorganisms causing dental caries.

magnolia2Thanks to antibacterial properties of Magnolia, the bark extract have useful cosmetic applications both as new organic or natural preservative and as active ingredient with antiseptic and dermo-hugienic properties, useful in preventing skin infections. Magnolia officinalis could represent an alternative preservative in skin-care cosmetics and a functional ingredient being twice as precious and useful. For these reasons, we envisioned to include Magnolia extract in several products of our traditional BeC cosmetic line. In particular, it is an ingredient of Nuova Maschera and Pasta Idrogel, contributing to important dermopurifying properties. The soothing cream VelvÈ contains Magnolia extract (rich in magnolol and honokiol) that helps in tackling cellular aging, alleviates irritation phenomena and contributes to limit skin oxidative processes.

Thanks to its clean and eco-friendly production processes, approved by certification bodies like Ecocert, Magnolia extract could be included also in our new organic cosmetic line Terra biocare, We include it in the specifically designed formulation for delicate and impure skin: the face organic cream PuraBi.

Definitely, Magnolia bark with its synergic properties appears as a Nature’s gift: traditionally used for calming and relaxing properties since centuries, it has nowadays showed precious antioxidant, antimicrobial and dermohygienic properties, exploited with knowledge in natural cosmetics.

Radish sprouts, source of important nutraceuticals: isothiocyanates and anthocyanins

Raphanus sativus (L.) species comprises a large variety of dietary vegetables as radish and horseradish. Among the wide Brassicaceae family, radish represents one of the most consumed vegetables in the world: easy to grow and with a good, sharp and spicy taste. Mature radishes are rich of microelements such as vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3 e C) and minerals (iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, phosphorus) along with fiber.

ravanelli antocianine isotiacianati

Glucosinolates, which originate isothyocyanates, are the most interesting compounds of Brassicaceae endowed with strong smell and spicy taste. The isothyocyanates, diffused in several Brassica vegetables such as cabbage, radish, broccoli, mustard, rocket endowed with relevant antitumoral, antioxidant and detoxifying properties as shown by scientific in vitro and in vivo studies. Therefore, the intake of Brassica vegetables contributes to protect from several chronic degenerative disorders.

Contrary to other white Raphanus species, red radishes bear a lot of anthocyanins, the typical flavonoids, found in berries and red fruit as well. Natural occurrence of both groups of biocomponents (isothyocianates and anthocyanins) with important antioxidant properties makes cultivar Sango of Raphanus sativus one of the most interesting health promoting food. In particular, in R&D laboratories of BeC, we have recently studied juice of Sango sprouts. It contains a high amount of isothiocyanates comparable to other Brassica sprouts (see our article Food Chemistry 2012), but it contain surprisingly a huge amount of anthocyanins, found only in blueberry and raspberry. Moreover, sprouts offers a wide anthocyanins diversity in comparison to mature plant, where the differentiation produces only a few major components. As shown by several epidemiologic studies, anthocyanins endowed with protective actions from risks related to cardiovascular pathologies, cancer and other chronic degenerative disorders. Such richness and structural diversity in Sango sprouts could strengthen the important dietary value. During our Research project, we identified and characterized different unknown anthocyanins (see our article Food Chemistry 2015) which share cyanidin as structural motif making radish sprouts a unique food in vegetables.

Thanks to a proficient collaboration with University of Bologna it was possible to study antioxidant properties of isolated anthocyanins from Sango which were comparable to antioxidant profile of vitamin E. We highlighted the importance of structural diversity of Sango anthocyanins, responsible of red-violet colour of the sprouts and of the significant properties of sharp tasted isothiocyanates (vide supra).

Due to high content of dietary ingredients such as vitamins ad minerals, along with isothiocyanates and anthocyanins, Sango helps in strengthen muscular tissues and sight, it boasts antiseptic action and improves organism’s barriers, stimulates digestion and protect from action of free radicals.

We are proud to share with you our studies and we’ll let you know future developments.