Magnolia bark works as an anxiolytic, helping to lower anxiety and depression and reduce stress. Magnolia bark can also act as a sedative, directly helping to facilitate sleep. (Of course, it's anti-stress capabilities also help sleep, indirectly.)
Recent studies have discovered that the herb may help to inhibit the production of cortisol (the substance that encourages fat storage) and may be an effective support in weight loss programs.
In traditional Chinese and Japanese (Kampo) medicine, magnolia bark is an ingredient in Hange-koboku-to, which is composed of 5 plant extracts, and in Saiboku-to, which is composed of 10 plant extracts. These extracts are used to decrease anxiety and nervous tension and to improve sleep. Some researchers believe honokiol, a chemical in magnolia bark, is what makes these medicines work.
Magnolia is used for weight loss, problems with digestion, constipation, inflammation, anxiety, stress, depression, fever, headache, stroke, and asthma.
Magnolia flower bud is used for stuffy nose, runny nose, common cold, sinus pain, hay fever, headache, and facial dark spots.