Magnolia Bark and Asthma

Page content

Magnolia bark is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. People use the flower buds and bark of this plant to create medicine. This herb is purported to be a potent anti-fungal, anti-spasmodic, anti-stress and anti-bacterial herb. Other purported uses include anxiolytic, diuretic and antioxidant. Certain properties in this herb are purported to be effective in aiding in the treatment of asthma. Magnolia bark and asthma have been studied and while more studies are needed, some conclusions have been made. Before using this herb, talk to a medical doctor.


Magnolol and honokiol are the two main compounds in this herb. They are purported to help in balancing cortisol. In controlling cortisol levels, this herb may help a person breathe more easily in cases of respiratory illness or asthma. In Japan, magnolia bark and asthma often go hand in hand and it is often used to treat asthma, as well as other bronchial illnesses. It is also an ingredient in two bronchial asthma treatments in Japan, known as hange-koboku-to and saiboku-to. This herb is also said to help in relieving the cough associated with asthma. It is said to help in opening the airways, which in turn, improves asthma symptoms. In homeopathic medicine, magnolia is considered a minor remedy for asthma when a tincture of magnolia flower is made.

Other Uses

In addition to its purported uses for asthma, magnolia bark is said to have other uses. These include:

  • Abnormal growths
  • Anti-anxiety
  • Antioxidant
  • Cleansing
  • Digestive problems
  • Energy loss
  • Heart health maintenance
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle tension
  • Obesity
  • Tension
  • Weight Loss
  • Allergies
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Chest pain
  • Detoxification
  • Emotional distress
  • Fainting
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Insomnia
  • Nervousness
  • Stress and restlessness
  • Tension headaches

Side Effects and Warnings

Pregnant women should not use this herb. Those who are dehydrated should only use this herb under the close supervision of a professional. Breast-feeding women should avoid this herb. Two weeks before having surgery, this herb should be stopped. When combined with surgical medications and anesthesia, this herb may be dangerous because it slows down the central nervous system.

With normal doses, no unwanted side effects have been reported. In large doses, dizziness has been reported. Those with pollen allergies should use caution because allergic reactions have been reported.

Alcohol should not be consumed with this herb. It may cause drowsiness and sleepiness. The same goes for barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and central nervous system depressants. Any other sedative should be cleared with a doctor first before taking to ensure safety. Excessive sleepiness may also occur with the combinations listed above which can make it dangerous to drive or perform dangerous activities.


Iron Magazine. (2002). Magnolia Bark. Retrieved on March 15, 2011 from Iron Magazine:

Flora Health. (2011). Magnolia Bark and Flowers. Retrieved on March 15, 2011 from Flora Health: