Magnolia is an ancient genus. By the end of the 18th
century, Magnolia species were described in China and Japan. The first
Asiatic species were M. denudata, M. lilliflora, M. coco, and M. figo.
Its bark has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine where it
is called houpu.
Magnolia is a common name and large genus group of about 210 trees and shrubs in the flowering plant family Magnoliaceae, characterized by aromatic twigs and large showy flowers. It has an ecologically symbiotic relationship with beetle pollinators, providing nutrition and the benefit of pollination. (9)
Magnolia coco is a medium-sized shrub or a small tree growing to 3 meters. Leaves
are smooth alternate, acuminate, elliptic-oblong, up to 16 centimeters long,
dark green above, and waxy pale green below. Flowers are single, nodding, rounded like an egg or baby coconut, opening up with
6 white fragrant petals. Unlike most magnolias lacking nectar, Magnolia coco secretes a nectar-like substance inside the flower.
- Planted but not common in the Philippines.
- Propagated by seeds or marcotting.
- Considered an excellent indoor plant.
- Native to China.
• The aromatic bark contains
magnolol and honokiol, polyphenolic compounds that have antianxiety
and anti-angiogenic properties.
• Study on leaves yielded a new compound (N-acetylanolobine), among eighteen compounds including fourteen lignans, one coumarin,
and three alkaloids. (3)
• Study of leaves yielded a new amide, magnolamide and a new lignan, magnolone,
and 11 known compounds as follows: episesamin, sesamin, magnolol, fargesin, aschantin, epieudesmin, syringaresinol, syringaresinol-O-beta-D-glucopyroside, scoparone, oxoanolobine, and dicentrinone. (4)
• Study of chemical constituents of essential oil isolated fifty-six compounds comprising 87.46% of the total essential oils. The principle components were α-pinene, nerolidol, caryophyllene, germacrene D, bicyclogermacrene. (6)
• Unlike most magnolias, M. coco secretes a nectar-like substance inside the flower.
Bark, flowers, leaves.
Edibility / Culinary
- Flowers added to tea to enhance the fragrance.
- No reported folkloric medicinal use in the Philippines
Used in Japanese and Chinese
- In China, floral buds used for headache and stomachache.
- Used for insomnia, leucorrhea, productive coughing.
- Bark used for allergic and asthmatic conditions.
- Magnolia bark extracts also reported to inhibit bacteria responsible
for dental caries and periodontal disease.
• LDL Oxidation Inhibition: Inhibition of low density lipoprotein oxidation by tetrahydrofurofuran
lignans from Forsythia suspensa and Magnolia coco.
• Phytochemicals / New Constituents: Study yielded a new amide, magnolamide and a new lignan, magnolone with eleven known compounds from the leaves of Magnolia coco. (4)
• Oral Hygiene Component: Magnolia bark extract in combination with a surface active agent is a component of a chewable oral composition with cleansing, breath freshening and antimicrobial benefits. (Patent pending)
• Essential Oil Constituents: The principal constituents of essential oils in M. coco from Guangxi are α-pinene, nerolidol, caryophyllene, germacrene D, bicyclogermacrene. (6)
• Antioxidant Activity / Tetrahydrofurofuran Lignans / Stems: Major antioxidants were identified from the fruits of Forsythia suspensa and stems of Magnolia coco. Of the bioactive tetrahydrofurofuran lignans, pinoresinol, phillygenin, and syringaresinol were found to be more potent than probucol. They were shown to exhibit antioxidant activity due to inhibition of oxidation of low-density lipoproteins (LDL). (8)