People use the bark and flower buds of the plant, magnolia, to make herbal medicine. It is used for weight loss, problems with digestion, constipation, inflammation, anxiety, stress, depression, fever, headache, stroke, asthma, stuffy nose or runny nose, common cold, sinus pain, hay fever, headache, and facial dark spots. Some people apply magnolia flower bud directly to the gums for toothaches.

Magnolia seems to have anxiety-reducing activity in animals, and it might also increase steroid production by the body, which can help treat asthma.

In traditional Chinese and Japanese (Kampo) medicine, magnolia bark is an ingredient in Hange-koboku-to, which is composed of five 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.

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