One of my favorite herbs at the moment is Magnolia. Most of us are familiar with the beautiful flower and its magical scent, but for herbal medicine, the bark is of particular interest.
In the clinic, we use it to calm the central nervous system, and help improve mood. It is able to do this through modulating GABA serotonin and the HPA axis. This means it impacts the neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of happiness, relaxation, sedation as well as balancing the stress response. Many of our clients come in already caught up in a pattern of chronically elevated stress hormones which disrupt sleep, cortisol response, and metabolic homeostasis.
This then manifests in a number of ways, including anxiety and/or mild depression, insomnia, addiction, impaired memory, metabolic syndrome, carbohydrate craving, and digestive disturbances such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
Magnolia can be likened to a soothing balm for the nervous system. It provides a place for the mind to rest and unplug where anxiety and neurosis threaten to overwhelm.
Used as a synergist with other herbs, it also improves insulin sensitivity, protects the heart, and reduces inflammation overall.
Traditionally, Magnolia comes to us from Chinese Herbalism. When we consider the far-reaching effects of stress and the many ways it manifests, it is no surprise that these beautiful herbs are becoming more recognized in our modern chaos as safe and effective remedies to support us.