Herb: Laurel Magnolia

Latin name: Magnolia virginiana

Synonyms: Magnolia glauca

Family: Magnoliaceae (Magnolia Family)

Medicinal use of Laurel Magnolia:

A tea made from the bark is antiperiodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, laxative, stimulant and tonic. It has historically been used as a substitute for quinine in the treatment of malaria and is also taken internally in the treatment of colds, bronchial diseases, upper respiratory tract infections, rheumatism and gout. The bark has been chewed by people trying to break the tobacco habit. The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. It does not store well so stocks should be renewed annually. A tea made from the fruit is a tonic, used in the treatment of general debility and was formerly esteemed in the treatment of stomach ailments. The leaves or bark have been placed in cupped hands over the nose and inhaled as a mild hallucinogen.

Description of the plant:


10 m
(33 feet)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Wet acid sandy barrens and swamps at low elevations.

Edible parts of Laurel Magnolia:

The leaves are used as a condiment in gravies etc. A tea is made from the leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil from the flowers has been used in the manufacture of perfumes. Wood - straight-grained, light, soft, easily worked, finishes well, aromatic and yellow in colour. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot. Used for furniture, broom handles, bowls and light woodenware articles etc.

Propagation of Laurel Magnolia:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed must be kept cold over the winter and should be sown in late winter in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in the spring but it can take 18 months. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. They can be planted out into their permanent positions when they are more than 15cm tall, though should be well mulched and given some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors. Layering in early spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet acid sandy barrens and swamps at low elevations.

Known hazards of Magnolia virginiana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.