Every Spring since I've lived here, I've admired the magnolia tree across the street. And every year I tell myself to get over there and take some photos of it. Well, I finally did today since I remembered that it's "M" day for ABC Wednesday (hosted by Denise Nesbitt over at mrsnesbittsplace). I thought it might be interesting to look up "magnolia" on Wikipedia and I can't believe how much I learned about a flower/tree that seems so ordinary.
Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals. . .
The bark from M. officinalis has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is known as hou po (厚朴). In Japan, kōboku, M. obovata has been used in a similar manner. The aromatic bark contains magnolol and honokiol, two polyphenolic compounds that have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. Magnolia bark also has been shown to reduce allergic and asthmatic reactions.
Magnolia has attracted the interest of the dental research community because magnolia bark extract inhibits many of the bacteria responsible for caries and periodontal disease. In addition, the constituent magnolol interferes with the action of glucosyltransferase, an enzyme needed for the formation of bacterial plaque. (from Wikipedia)
Since the bark of the magnolia tree is used as an alternative for anxiety disorders, reduces allergies and asthma attacks, and keeps your teeth free from bacterial plaque I just might go and ask if I might harvest some of my neighbour's bark. Imagine the money I'd save on drugs! lol