10 Impressive Benefits of Magnolia

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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The most impressive health benefits of magnolia include its ability to treat menstrual cramps, improve respiratory health, detoxify the body, boost cognition, act as an anticancer agent, soothe the digestive system, stimulate the appetite, reduce stress, and protect against severe allergic reactions.

What is Magnolia?

Magnolia is a broad term that encompasses more than 200 different species within the Magnoliaceae family of flowering plants. Native to East and Southeast Asia, particularly China, this ancient type of flower has been around for more than 100 million years, predating even the evolution of bees.

Some types of magnolia are also endemic to North America, Central America, and parts of South America. The hardy nature of the shrubs and trees on which these flowers grow have allowed it to survive and thrive in harsh conditions over so much evolutionary time, and it has developed a unique nutrient and organic compound composition over that time as well, representing potentially powerful health benefits for humans.

The flowers and bark of magnolia plants have been praised for their multiple medicinal applications, some of which are based in traditional medicine, while others have been revealed through modern research into the precise chemical components of the flower, its extracts, and the composition of the bark. It has long been praised in Chinese traditional medicine but is now widely regarded as a beneficial supplement or herbal remedy around the world.


Health Benefits of Magnolia

Health benefits of magnolia include:

Anticancer Potential

According to a study conducted by Lin S. et al, magnolol, a compound found in Magnolia officinalis, might prove useful in restricting the proliferation of cancer cells. Another compound present in this flora, honokiol, is also looked at as an anticancer agent. A 2012 research published in the Current Molecular Medicine journal has encouraged clinical trials to explore the potential of this compound as a natural, novel anticancer agent.

Menstrual Cramps

The volatile components found in magnolia flowers and bark are also considered soothing or relaxing agents, reducing inflammation and muscle tension when consumed. When it comes to menstrual cramps and discomfort, its supplements are often recommended, as they can provide rapid relief, as well as improve mood and prevent the emotional peaks and valleys associated with the pre-menstrual period.

Alzheimer’s Disease

For people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or showing risks of other cognitive disorders, magnolia can be a very powerful strategy to increase cognition. The magnolol found in it stimulates acetylcholine levels in the brain, which is what amyloid plaque in the brain can reduce. Honokiol present in magnolia is also linked to increased brain function and neural activity, thereby reducing memory loss and increasing cognition.

Anxiety Treatment

Honokiol has certain anxiolytic qualities that directly impact the hormonal balance in the body, particularly in terms of stress hormones. By regulating the endocrine system, magnolia might help reduce anxiety and stress by soothing the mind and lowering hormone release in the body. A similar chemical pathway allows it to help relieve depression as well, by stimulating the release of dopamine and pleasure hormones that will turn your mood around in no time!

Respiratory Issues

Magnolia has long been used to relieve certain respiratory conditions, including bronchitis, coughing, excess phlegm, and even asthma. Asthma is a particularly challenging respiratory condition to treat and typically requires the use of a steroid inhaler. However, it naturally stimulates the corticosteroids in the body to respond to conditions like asthma, thereby relieving inflammation and preventing asthmatic attacks.

Controls Diabetes

One of the reasons that magnolia has gotten so much press in recent years is its bark’s active compounds’ ability to mimic cortisol, the stress-hormone reducing factor in our body. By acting as cortisol, magnolia can also help the body control its release and management of blood sugar, effectively helping to prevent the development of diabetes. If you already suffer from diabetes, then it can keep your blood sugar levels stable and help you avoid any diabetic episodes.

Promotes Weight Loss

Although magnolia bark can actually increase weight by stimulating food cravings due to its corticosteroid nature, regular magnolia supplements can help suppress appetite, which can help anyone trying to lose weight and avoid snacking in between meals. Be sure you speak to a professional herbalist or alternative medical professional to get the best advice on which parts of magnolia would best serve your needs.

Improves Liver Health

Along with stimulating the lymphatic system and increasing the level of toxins being eliminated from the body, magnolia has also been linked to reducing the build-up of fat around the liver, one of the primary causes of liver failure following excessive alcohol consumption, also called ALD (Alcohol Liver Disease). Researchers have shown magnolia to be a promising remedy for this widespread problem for people who drink excessively and want to retain a high quality of life as they age.Health benefits of magnolia - infographic


In a similar vein to magnolia’s effects against asthma, the steroid-mimicking properties of its extracts help prevent allergic reactions in those who regularly suffer from these symptoms. If you have hay fever, seasonal allergies, or specific allergen sensitivity, magnolia supplements can help strengthen your resistance and keep you feeling your best!

Word of Caution: Magnolia extracts and supplements are extremely powerful. Hence, it is not recommended in large doses. Moreover, they shouldn’t be used by pregnant women,  as they are known to cause vertigo, dizziness, and headaches. Its bark contains high concentrations of chemicals and can cause respiratory paralysis in animals or infant children, so should be avoided in those situations.

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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