If you live in the South, you’ve probably seen ancient magnolia trees in the woods all your life, and possibly you’ve stopped by a local nursery on more than a few occasions to add the dark green leaves and white flowers to your yard. In Florida where I grew up, we had the Southern Magnolia and the Sweetbay Magnolia. Your local native nursery is a good place to start, or if you want to know more about the tree in general, stop by the Magnolia Society International and take a look at their resources tab for practical information.
The society notes that there are more than 200 species of the shrub/tree which are found in ” temperate, subtropical and tropical areas of southeastern Asia, eastern North America, Central America, the Caribbean and parts of South America. Many are now grown worldwide because of their beautiful flowers, shape and form.”
Like many plants, the bark and leaves of magnolias have been made into medicine. Purportedly, the magnolia has been used to combat indigestion, stress, headaches, stroke and other aliments–including toothache. I can’t speak to the safety or efficacy of any of these, though you can find a blurb about it on WebMD here.
In the conjure department
While researching my 2015 novella Conjure Woman’s Cat, I found that a lot of the plants I walked by in the Florida woods when I was young can be used for all sorts of magical purposes. For example, if you check out the web site of the Ritual Witch, you’ll find a section called Southern Magnolia Hoodoo. Oils, bath salts, candles and mojo bags with a magnolia flavor to them can ramp up your romance.
This is cheaper than hiring a private detective and supposedly stops any “oops moments” from happening. There are a few more graphic spells and mojo bags that I’ll leave to your imagination, most of which seem to be sought after by jealous wives–yes, that sounds sexist, but I’m just reporting facts from my research.
As Catherine Yronwode mentions in her very handy “Hoodoo, Herb and Root Magic Book,” Will Batts recorded a song back in 1933 that said he didn’t want a jealous women because she would “put somethin’ in the mattress, make you wish you was dead.” I have no experience with this, but why tempt fate?
Love magic and keeping your lover at home magic have always been a widely practiced area of conjure. Find a plant, and somebody has found a magical use for it. A quick Google search with the words “root doctor” or “conjure” in it along with the name of a plant or mineral will turn up more than most of us ever dreamt was out there.
Magnolia is more than a pretty flower it would seem.