Officinal Magnolia Flower
What is Officinal Magnolia Flower?
Officinal Magnolia Flower (Hou Po Hua, 厚朴花) comes from the Magnolia Tree (Magnolia officinalis), which Magnolia Bark too comes from. The tree has been around for more than 100 million years, predating even the evolution of bees. With fossils dating back over 20 million years, this herb is believed to be the earliest flowering plant. Hence, this plant depends on beetles for pollination. It has strong carpels to protect them from any potential damage to be caused by the eating habits of beetles.
This plant is native to East and Southeast Asia, particularly China, and grows throughout North America and Central America as well. The hardy nature of the shrubs and trees on which the Officinal Magnolia Flower grows have allowed it to survive and thrive in harsh conditions over so much evolutionary time. There are over 210 Magnolia species that vary in size, shape and colour.
The Officinal Magnolia Flower is cup-like and fragrant. It has six to twelve petals per flower, and it ranges in colours from white to pink to purple. The flower buds and petals are collected in early Spring when the bud is not yet in blossom, then dried in the Sun to be used in herbal preparations later.
As early as the 7th century, Asia has been cultivating the Officinal Magnolia Flower for its therapeutic and medicinal effects.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Officinal Magnolia Flower falls under the category of ‘Herbs that regulate qi’. Such herbs can help to treat Qi Stagnation and relieve related symptoms such as depression, irritability, mood swings, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menopausal symptoms, breast swellings and various digestive disorders.
Warm in nature, the Officinal Magnolia Flower helps to restore a healthy yin yang balance in individuals who have too much Cold in their body, such as those experiencing Yin Excess or Yang Deficiency. Bitter in taste, this herb also tends to have a cleansing action on the body by clearing Heat, drying Dampness, and promoting elimination via urination or bowel movements. In particular, the Officinal Magnolia Flower targets the Spleen and Lung.
Functions and Benefits of Officinal Magnolia Flower
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shows that the Officinal Magnolia Flower can expel Wind-Cold out of the human body, unblock nasal passages and relieve sinus headaches. For example, this herb is often used to treat symptoms related to Wind-Cold invasion such as stuffy nose, nasal obstruction, congestion, discharge, loss of smell, allergic rhinitis and related sinus headaches.
Today, the Officinal Magnolia Flower is also used to treat depression and anxiety. By regulating the endocrine system, this herb might help reduce anxiety and stress by soothing the mind, lowering hormone release in the body and stimulating the release of dopamine and pleasure hormones that can help turn your mood around.
Chemicals in the Officinal Magnolia Flower can also kill bacteria in the mouth which can help to prevent cavities and reduce gum swelling. As the herb can also reduce inflammation and muscle tension, the herb can help to relieve menstrual cramps and other menstrual discomfort.
Other Officinal Magnolia Flower benefits include strengthening the immune system to fight allergies, preventing cancer, improving brain cognition, improving Liver health and managing diabetes.
It was also suggested that extracts of the Officinal Magnolia Flower have been used historically in China to minimize the irritation caused by cosmetic ingredients. This herb has also been shown to help remove dark spots and whiten the skin. Hence, this herb is a favourite when it comes to restoring beauty for ageing skin.
How to Use Officinal Magnolia Flower
The recommended daily dosage of Officinal Magnolia Flower is 3 – 9g, if consumed. Larger amounts of the herb can be used if it is applied to the skin as necessary.
The Officinal Magnolia Flower can be found in a variety of forms, ranging from pills and powders to decoctions and ointments. They can be found in many herbal stores and Asian specialty stores. If being decocted, the herb should be wrapped in cloth before being placed in boiling water.
One popular way to consume Officinal Magnolia Flower is to brew it into Magnolia Flower Tea.
Cautions and Side Effects of Officinal Magnolia Flower
The Officinal Magnolia Flower is not recommended for individuals who are experiencing Heat Excess caused by Yin Deficiency. Also, as the extracts and supplements made from this herb are extremely powerful, they are not recommended in large doses. Large amounts may cause dizziness, vertigo, headaches and redness of the eyes. Thus, this herb should be avoided by pregnant women as well.
In addition, if the individual is already consuming medicine that aids sleep or reduces anxiety, he or she needs to use Officinal Magnolia Flower with extra caution.
It is advised that you should consult your healthcare provider before deciding to add Officinal Magnolia Flower into your diet.
Here is a summary for Officinal Magnolia Flower:
- Herb name (Chinese): 厚朴花
- Herb name (Pin Yin): hòu pò huā
- Herb name (English): Officinal Magnolia Flower
- Herb name (Botanical): Flos Magnoliae Officinalis
- Origin of species: Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et. Wils; Magnolia officinalis Rehd. et. Wils. var. biloba Rehd. et. Wils
- Part(s) of herb used: Flower
- Geo-specific habitat(s): Sichuan, Hubei
- Taste(s) & Properties: Bitter; Slightly warm; Administrates the Spleen, Stomach meridians
- Actions: Eases symptoms of indigestion, abdominal bloatedness and lack of appetite
Chen, Y. H., Huang, P. H., Lin, F. Y., Chen, W. C., Chen, Y. L., Yin, W. H., … & Liu, P. L. (2011). Magnolol: a multifunctional compound isolated from the Chinese medicinal plant Magnolia officinalis. European Journal of Integrative Medicine, 3(4), e317-e324. [Accessed on 15 October 2022]
Lu, B., Li, M., & Yin, R. (2016). Phytochemical content, health benefits, and toxicology of common edible flowers: a review (2000–2015). Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 56(sup1), S130-S148. [Accessed on 15 October 2022]
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