Latin: Magnolia officinalis (many others)
Parts Used: Bark, root bark, fruit, flowers
Taste/Energetics: Bitter, warming, drying
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, circulatory stimulant, analgesic, diaphoretic, nootropic
Actions: When we are talking about magnolia, we are really talking about over 200 species of flowering trees. There are a number of them that have a long history of medicinal use in Chinese and Japanese medicine. Magnolia is less known in the West but there is increasing attention paid to it due to its great medicinal effects. Magnolia is an aromatic bitter herb that is anti-inflammatory and stimulates circulation and helps reduce “stuck” pain such as arthritis and menstrual cramps.
Magnolia has two main constituents known as honokiol and magnolol that researchers have found to be useful for cancer prevention, reducing tension and anxiety and improving our adaptation to stress via the endocrine system. Honokiol has been compared to valium as an anxiolytic and appeared to be far stronger in effect. There is some evidence that these constituents also help to prevent the progression of alzheimer’s disease by encouraging the production of neuroprotective agents. Magnolia bark has also been traditionally used for conditions such as asthma that are due to stress and inflammation in the respiratory system.
Dosage: Often taken as a powder 250 – 500 mg to 2 x/day. Traditionally in Asia the 3-9 grams of the bark is decocted for one day dose. This is definitely an herb that can be toxic in high doses so one must be careful.
Contraindications: Avoid if pregnant, breast feeding, avoid for small children, elderly, those with respiratory conditions. Avoid taking with painkillers, sedatives. May cause vertigo in some.