Botanical Description & Habitat
Magnolia acuminata or Magnolia virginiana
Beaver tree Holly bay Red laurel Swamp laurel Swamp sassafras Sweet magnolia White bay
Found along the eastern seaboard of the United States, the Midwest and the South. It is an evergreen tree usually found in swamps and morasses, widely dispersed west of the Rocky Mountains.
Magnolia can grow up to 40 feet in height and has smooth ash-colored bark. The leaves are oval, alternate, petiolate, and glabrous with a yellow-green upper surface and a pale glaucous color beneath. The flowers are cream-colored, large, terminal, solitary, with a strong scent and bloom from May to August.
Bark of stem and root
Historical Properties & Uses
Magnolia bark is a rich source of tannin, which is responsible for the herb's astringent properties. In folk medicine, magnolia bark is used to treat dysentery, diarrhea, erysipelas, and various skin disorders. Its astringent tannins make the herb effective as a douche for leukorrhea, and when taken internally to help stop hemorrhaging.
Diaphoretic, febrifuge, and stimulant properties of the herb, though often observed clinically, have not been experimentally investigated. Marked hypotensive activity has also been found in magnolia bark components, but it is unknown how this effect translates into therapeutic benefits.
Magnolia is nontoxic in normal dosages and is often used as a tonic. Magnolia tea is also used as a tobacco substitute, but its effect is unsubstantiated.
Method of Action
Magnolia is an astringent herb
The astringent property of magnolia is undoubtedly due to its tannin content.
Magnolia has marked hypotensive activity
Extracts of magnolia leaf have a marked hypotensive action. The alkaloids magnolin and magnolamin, both benzylisochinolines, have been found to inhibit the vasomotor center and exhibit peripheral adrenolytic activity. Magnolin also inhibits cholinesterase. Magnolamin's hypotensive action is nearly five times stronger than magnolin: in dogs it lasts for 5-6 hours. The hypotensive action of the two alkaloids is due primarily to vasomotor center inhibition and adrenolytic action.
Drug Interactions & Precautions
Safety Factors & Toxicity
The toxicity level of magnolia has not been determined at this time.
Preparation & Administration
Three times a day
made from 1 tsp of powdered bark
1:8 in 45% alcohol, 8-15 ml
Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.
Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.
Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.
Committee on Pharmocopaeia of the Am Institute of Homeopathy, The Homeopathic Pharmacopaeia of the United States. 8th ed., Vol 1. Otis Clapp and Son, Agents, Boston, l981.
Culbreth, D.M.R. A Manual of Materia Medica and Pharmacology. reprinted by Eclectic Medical Publications: Portland, Or, 1983
Felter, H.W. & J.U. Lloyd. King's Am Dispensatory, 18th Ed. 1898. reprinted by Eclectic Medical Publications: Portland, Or, 1983
Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. MacMillan, NY.
Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.
Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).
Lewis, Walter H. & Elvin-Lewis, Memory P.F. Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Man's Health, John Wiley and Sons. New York, l977.
List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Martin, E.W. 1978. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.
Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.
Turova, A.D. Medicinal Plants Of The Ussr And Their Use. Moscow, Medizina, 1947, P. 424.
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