Wrigley Company recently announced a new line of gum and mints that will include magnolia bark extract (MBE) – a natural ingredient proven to help kill the germs that cause bad breath. The gum will be produced under the Eclipse product line and will be the first in the U.S. to include MBE.
A 2007 Wrigley study revealed the germ-killing benefits found in MBE. The study found that Magnolia bark extract contains two compounds, magnolol and honokiol, that kill bacteria which causes bad breath (halitosis). In lab tests, magnolia bark extract killed virtually all of the oral bacteria it encountered. The study was published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 
In vitro results indicated mints containing 0.2 percent MBE reduced more than 99.9 percent of three oral bacteria within five minutes of treatment. In vivo results demonstrated mints containing MBE reduced total salivary bacteria by 61.6 percent at 30 minutes and 33.8 percent at 60 minutes after chewing. Gum with MBE reduced total salivary bacteria by 43 percent at 40 minutes, while placebo gum reduced total salivary bacteria by only 18 percent.
Magnolia bark extract also has origins in traditional Chinese medicine where it is commonly used to treat fever, headache and stress. The extract also has been shown to reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions as well as effectiveness against germs that cause ulcers. 
Eclipse gum with MBE will appear on store shelves this summer. Eclipse mints with MBE will be available in September 2008.