In general, Magnolia is a genus which has attracted a lot of horticultural interest. Hybridisation has been immensely successful in combining the best aspects of different species to give plants which flower at an earlier age than the species themselves, as well as having more impressive flowers. One of the most popular garden magnolias is a hybrid, M. × soulangeana (Saucer magnolia; hybrid M. liliiflora × M. denudata).
In parts of Japan, the leaves of magnolia obovata are used for wrapping food and as cooking dishes.
Magnolias are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Giant Leopard Moth.
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 may have demonstrated anti-anxiety and anti-angiogenic properties. Magnolia bark also may have 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.
Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnolia
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