The health benefits of Magnolia bark (Magnolia Offincinalis), also commonly called Houpu or Chinese Magnolia, have been known for centuries and is popular today as part of the system of traditional Chinese medicine. Magnolia is a truly ancient plant genus and related fossils have been found dating back 95 million years.
The two compounds, magnolol and honokiol, found present in Magnolia bark are those which give the plant its highly powerful curative properties.
Magnolia bark is said to have the following properties:
- anti-oxidant, said to be 1000 times that of Vitamin E
What is Magnolia bark Good For?
Here are a few health conditions that can be treated with magnolia bark.
1.) Anxiety and stress – the chemicals found in Magnolia bark are said to be particularly effective in combating anxiety and stress, with five times more potency than Valium and without any of the lethargy or addiction that can result from other anti-anxiety medicines. It is thought that the stress relieving properties of Magnolia bark are connected with its ability to balance cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress related hormone which increases blood glucose levels and suppresses immune functions – our ‘fight or flight’ hormone necessary for human survival instincts but bad for us in high levels or prolonged periods.
2.) Allergy reduction and asthma – Magnolia bark has proved to be effective as an ingredient in medicines which address allergies and most notably reduces asthma symptoms and conditions involving shortness of breath.
3.) Menstrual cramps, stomach aches and upsets – the anti-spasmodic properties of Magnolia bark are useful for stomach cramps and pains associated with menstruation or digestive upsets and diarrhea.
4.) Alzheimer’s disease and memory disorders – some preliminary findings suggest Magnolia bark may have some effectiveness in boosting brain function and is therefore beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
5.) Trapped gas and bloating – there can be much pain and discomfort associated with these conditions and Magnolia bark has been used for their relief for many centuries.
6.) Coughs and colds – in Chinese medicine Magnolia bark is often used in mixtures used for alleviating the symptoms and causes of coughs and colds. Its anti-bacterial properties can help combat viruses and can also help reduce excess mucous and catarrh associated with colds and flu.
7.) Weight loss – it is thought that ingesting Magnolia bark may prove useful as a dietary aid due to its cortisol balancing properties. Weight gain is thought to have connections with high cortisol levels which Magnolia bark inhibits.
8.) Immune system booster – again, this is thought to be connected with Magnolia bark’s ability to stabilize cortisol levels.
9.) Fever reduction – through its ability to raise perspiration levels, Magnolia bark is said to be effective in reducing fevers and has been used for treating both typhoid and malarial fever.
10.) Rheumatism – the anti-inflammatory properties of Magnolia bark are said to relieve the pain of rheumatism and gout.
11.) Dental benefits – more recently dentists have become interested in Magnolia bark as it appears to have some effectiveness in limiting plaque build up through interference with bacteria.
One of the major benefits of using Magnolia bark for its medicinal properties is the apparent lack of any adverse side effects. Pregnant women, nursing mothers and young children are advised to avoid its use but this seems to be precautionary rather than based on any concrete negative evidence. As with all remedies, natural or otherwise, it is recommended that dosage instructions are carefully adhered to.