In a recent trip to the farmer's market, I bought an arrangement of dried flowers (see above) that included magnolia leaves. These leavees are used prominently in wreaths and other floral arrangement here, since they are so plentiful (even though Mississippi claims the magnolia as their state flower). Magnolia has received a lot of interest recently, not just from me, but as a new weight loss supplement too.

Magnolia bark is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a number of ailments, but primarily for coughs, asthma, and stomach problems. It is also a treatment for menstrual cramps, anxiety, depression, fever, abdominal bloating and gas, diarrhea, and vomiting. The flower is primarily used for nasal conditions like congestion, infections, sinus headaches etc. The flower bud extract is used in skin-care products as a natural skin whitener.

There seems to be little evidence that magnolia is effective for weight loss, but that is partially due to the fact that there are very few studies. It is believed that magnolia helps lower cortisol levels, and we know elevated cortisol levels promote fat storage. Magnolia's effect on cortisol levels sounds plausible and might be due to its ability to relieve stress and anxiety.

Even if you don't want to take the herb as a treatment or weight loss tool, enjoy the flowers and leaves in fall decorations and wreaths. The leaves are shiny dark green on one side and bronze colored on the other. The flower (although at the end of its season now) symbolizes different things in different cultures, but primarily represents nobility, dignity and purity.

Magnolia is a warming herb and hence appropriate for the fall and winter seasons. It currently has no known drug interactions. The herb is considered to be safe to use in proper dosages, except during pregnancy. The medical field has concerns about how it might interact with pharmaceutical drugs' efficacy. It might lower blood pressure, so taking both magnolia and a drug to do this job would be contraindicated. It would be nice if the government would fund truly unbiased studies on medicinal herbs. Wouldn't it be great to take an herb for high blood pressure rather than the current drugs that have so many side effects? In the meantime, you might want to talk to a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and trust thousands of years of experience using magnolia. I would still avoid any herbs or food products from China. Make sure the source of any herb is safe and reliable.


© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™