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Our Complete Guide to Magnolia Essential Oil: Benefits, Uses and Cautions

Magnolia oil has been used in aromatherapy for centuries, particularly in China and southeast Asia where the plant grows abundantly. Magnolia essential oil was, and still is, widely used in the perfumery industry. When spritzed or diffused in the air, magnolia imparts a calm and serene atmosphere due to its creamy but light floral scent. This sublime-smelling essential oil helps to relieve stress-related tensions and anxiety, calms and nourishes your skin, and relaxes the body, mind and soul.

If you’d like to learn more about magnolia essential oil benefits then this guide is for you. We’ve explained all there is to know about this essential oil, its benefits, uses and how you can use it safely. Whether you want to use magnolia oil for skin care or any other purpose, this guide can help.

Content/Quick links

  • What is magnolia essential oil?
  • Magnolia essential oil - quick facts
  • How is magnolia essential oil made?
  • Magnolia essential oil benefits
  • Relaxation
  • Promoting and regulating sleep
  • Anti-aging and skin care benefits
  • How to use magnolia essential oil
  • Topically
  • Aromatherapy massage
  • Inhalation
  • Bath
  • Magnolia essential oil research
  • Relaxation effects of magnolia essential oil and linalool - 2016, 2020
  • Antifungal effects of magnolia essential oil - 2017, 2021
  • Side effects of magnolia essential oil
  • Contraindications of magnolia essential oil
  • Where to buy magnolia essential oil
  • Volant
  • Amazon
  • Pharmacies
  • DoTERRA
  • Magnolia essential oil FAQs
  • What is magnolia essential oil good for?
  • What essential oils go well with magnolia essential oil?
  • Which carrier oils blend well with magnolia essential oil?
  • Is magnolia essential oil safe for kids?
  • Is magnolia essential oil phototoxic?
  • In summary

What is magnolia essential oil?

Essential oils are volatile, active oils extracted from various parts of aromatic plants. These oils are used in aromatherapy to support health and well-being. These days, people around the world are choosing natural and organic oil products rather than relying on synthetic or pharmaceutical alternatives, and magnolia essential oil is becoming increasingly popular.

Magnolia essential oil is known for its numerous health and relaxation benefits. It has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, where the plant originates.

The magnolia was named by the famous Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus in 1737 in honor of the French botanist, Pierre Magnol (1638-1715). Magnolias are, however, one of the most primitive plants in evolutionary history, and fossil records show that magnolias were present in Europe, North America and Asia over 100 million years ago.

Today, magnolias are indigenous only to southern China and the southern US.

The earliest western record of Magnolias in cultivation is found in Aztec history where there are illustrations of what we now know are the rare Magnolia dealbata. This plant survives only in a few places in the wild, and, although climate change is largely to blame, the Aztecs cut the flowers for festivals, and this prevented the plants from seeding. The plant was found by a Spanish explorer called Hernandez in 1651.

There are about 80 species of Magnolia, of which about half are tropical. In their native countries, magnolia trees can grow up to 80 feet tall and 40 feet wide. They bloom in spring, with the flowers reaching their peak in summer.

The petals are traditionally hand-picked, and harvesters have to use ladders or scaffolds to reach the prized flowers. Other names for magnolia include white jade orchid, white champaca and white sandalwood.

Interestingly, the closest genetic relation to the magnolia is the buttercup.

Magnolia essential oil - quick facts

💮   Latin name: Magnolia alba / Michelia alba

💮 Also known as: White jade orchid, white champaca, white sandalwood, bailan

💮   Countries of origin: 🇨🇳 China, 🇲🇾 Malaysia, 🇮🇩 Indonesia, 🇹🇭 Thailand

💮   Scent note: Top

💮   Annual production: 1,200,000 kilograms of flowers in China

💮   Popular uses:  Aromatherapy, relaxation, anxiety, skin care

How is magnolia essential oil made?

The magnolia flowers are harvested, washed and then crushed. After drying, the flower crush is then subjected to steam distillation, from which the volatile oils are obtained. Steam distillation is used in China, and France uses the fractional distillation method where the chemical compounds are separated by heating and distilling. The oil’s color can vary from a citrusy yellow to a warm amber color. Magnolia essential oil is produced in China, India, France and the US.

Magnolia flower essential oil contains about 73% linalool and small amounts of α-terpineol, β-pinene and geraniol. Magnolia essential oil has a floral, sweet, champagne-like and herbal scent.

Magnolia essential oil benefits

Magnolia essential oil is commonly used in skincare products, perfumes, cosmetics and as food flavoring. It has a wide range of benefits for beauty, relaxation and well-being. Magnolia essential oil has been found to have tyrosinase inhibition, photoprotection, anti-stress, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, anti-gout and antimicrobial activities. Linalool, the major component of magnolia essential oil, has been shown to have beneficial effects on cellular growth, inflammation, nerve health, blood pressure, mood, skin health, and more!

Due to its properties, this oil is fast becoming one of the most sought-after essential oils for health and skincare globally. Some of the main magnolia essential oil benefits

  • 💮   Relaxation
  • 💮   Promoting and regulating sleep
  • 💮   Anti-aging and skin care benefits

Let's take a look at these magnolia essential oil benefits in more detail.

Relaxation

Many subspecies of magnolia have been used traditionally as a natural sedative thanks to its content of α-pinene and β-pinene. As magnolia essential oil has a high linalool content, it offers potent soothing and relaxing benefits to your emotions. Experimental research suggests inhaling magnolia essential oil may help to promote feelings of calmness and relaxation, reduce stress and have antidepressant effects.

Promotes and regulates sleep cycles

As magnolia essential oil promotes relaxation, restores calmness and acts as a mild sedative, it aids in regulating your sleep cycle.

Magnolia oil for skin

woman focused on working while inhaling essential oil

Magnolia essential oil is very nourishing for the skin. Containing various compounds including beta-caryophyllene, magnolia oil shows powerful anti-inflammatory properties, reducing redness and puffiness. It leaves the skin luminous and more even.

Alpha-terpineol, a component of magnolia essential oil, inhibits tyrosinase and melanin production, making it useful to lighten the skin. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, protecting the skin from free radical damage.

The polyphenols in other types of magnolia extracts also offer powerful sun protection for the skin and boost collagen production and skin quality; however, polyphenols are not found in magnolia essential oil.

Magnolia essential oil also has powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal activities, offering additional protection for your skin.

Finally, magnolia’s high linalool content makes it helpful in treating psoriasis, calming inflammation of the skin and reducing severity.

How to use magnolia essential oil

  • Magnolia essential oil can be used in many ways, depending on its intended purpose.

    Here are some of the most common ways to use magnolia essential oil:
  • 💮   Topically
  • 💮    Aromatherapy massage
  • 💮    Inhalation
  • 💮   Bath

Topically

When you are feeling anxious, use a drop of magnolia essential oil on your wrists and pulse points mixed with some carrier oil.

As a perfume, it can be used on the pulse points, wrists, throat, behind the ears and inside your elbows.

When your skin needs some tender loving care, especially for psoriasis, use magnolia essential oil for skin diluted in a carrier oil. Use magnolia essential oil in your daily skincare routine to help keep your skin youthful and protected.

And last but not least, pamper yourself and your feet by smoothing magnolia essential oil on the soles of your feet to benefit from magnolia’s antibacterial and antifungal benefits.

Aromatherapy massage

Since magnolia essential oil is good for your skin, helps you relax and smells amazing, why not use it in your massage oil? Simply dilute a few drops in a tablespoon of carrier oil like jojoba oil and massage it into your skin. You’ll enjoy both the psychological and physical benefits of magnolia essential oil.

volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil for your hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil packaging. best for hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil rich with the beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, D and E, making it holistically great for your body.

Jojoba Carrier Oil

14 €

Inhalation

Promote relaxation while you’re preparing for bed by warming the oil in your palms and inhaling the beautiful scent. Or even simpler, put some in your bedside diffuser while preparing for sleep, or even after a long day to help you de-stress and relax.

volant clay essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant clay essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant's clay diffuser brings the joy of the Mediterranean into your home
volant clay diffuser parts unassembled
volant clay diffuser for diy bathroom spa

Clay Volant Diffuser

97 €

Bath

What could be better than melting into a luxuriously sweet, floral-scented bath with magnolia essential oil? It will melt away the day’s stress, boost your mood, help you prepare for a good night’s sleep, treat your skin to an anti-aging lather and fight off any impending skin infections. Simply dilute a few drops of magnolia essential oil with a carrier oil and add it to your hot bath and enjoy!

volant grey essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant grey essential oil diffuser for aromatherapy
volant's grey diffuser pairs perfectly with any interior thanks to its minimalist design
volant grey diffuser parts
volant grey aromadiffuser diffusing tea tree essential oil

Grey Volant Diffuser

97 €
volant plum oil carrier oil bottle. High concentration of vitamin E and antioxidant
volant plum oil carrier oil bottle. High concentration of vitamin E and antioxidant
volant plum oil carrier oil. Perfect for diluting essential oils as it offers a non-greasy feel that hydrates the skin and adds shine to the hair.
volant plum oil carrier oil packaging
volant plum oil carrier oil for glowing skin

Plum Carrier Oil

14 €

Magnolia essential oil research

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Many magnolia species are used in Asian traditional medicines and have been shown many benefits in modern research. However, research on the flower essential oil of the specific species of Magnolia alba, or Michelia alba, used in essential oils and fragrances is limited.

In recent years, there has been more research on compounds found in magnolia essential oil. Let’s take a brief glance at some of this groundbreaking research.

Relaxation effects of magnolia essential oil and linalool - 2016, 2020

A study in 2020 observed the brain wave effects of subjects after they had inhaled either magnolia essential oil or pure linalool. Both oils reduced beta brain wave activity associated with alertness and increased fast alpha wave activity associated with relaxation, showing the magnolia oil has sedative effects and can help reduce stress, likely due to its high content of linalool.

When a group of subjects with and without carpal tunnel syndrome inhaled linalool or a carrier oil, the linalool group experienced reduced blood pressure and pulse rate, showing its anti-stress effects. More impressively, simply inhaling the linalool also enhanced antioxidant activity in the blood.

Antifungal effects of magnolia essential oil - 2017, 2021

In one study, magnolia essential oil was found to have antifungal effects against various species of fungus and mold including Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium, Rhizopus, Fusarium and Cladosporium.

Another study looked at the effects of magnolia oil vapor on both mold growth and human brain activity. Like the studies above, this study found that magnolia oil vapor reduced mold growth and also enhanced alpha brain waves in human subjects, enhancing pleasant feelings of relaxation.

Side effects of magnolia essential oil

To use magnolia safely and effectively you need to ensure that you follow a few simple guidelines. Suffering from side effects from magnolia oil is extremely rare, but as with any oil, there can be some risks.

Always dilute magnolia essential oil in a carrier oil before using it on your skin to dilute its potency and avoid irritation.

Consider talking to your doctor before using any essential oil, especially if you are on chronic medication or have an ongoing illness. A medical practitioner may be able to advise you if there are any contraindications you need to be aware of.

Contraindications of magnolia essential oil

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, it is best to avoid using this oil topically for the time being.

Because of its respiratory risks, magnolia oil should not be used in infants. In fact, essential oils in general shouldn’t be used on babies under 3 months.

Where to buy magnolia essential oil

These days, magnolia essential oil is widely available to buy online and in stores. Just remember that when purchasing magnolia essential oil, you should always look for a 100% pure essential oil ̶ not an extract. This guarantees you're getting an authentic product with all the therapeutic benefits of magnolia essential oil. Of course, organic magnolia oil would be the best natural choice.

Here are some of the places where you can purchase magnolia essential oil.

Volant

At Volant, you’ll find only the purest essential oils produced using high-quality plants. These plants are harvested and distilled with care to make 100% pure, organic oils that have no synthetic ingredients or additives. Due to its calming and respiratory benefits, Volant’s Breathe Essential Oil Blend contains magnolia oil.

volant breathe essential oil blend made with pure Wild Orange, Lavender, Copaiba, and Magnolia
volant breathe essential oil blend made with pure Wild Orange, Lavender, Copaiba, and Magnolia
volant white diffuser using breathe essential oil blend made with pure Wild Orange, Lavender, Copaiba, and Magnolia
volant breathe essential oil blend bottle packaging made with pure Wild Orange, Lavender, Copaiba, and Magnolia
woman meditating using volant black diffuser with breathe essential oil blend

Breathe

17 €

Amazon

Amazon is home to a vast number of online sellers that stock magnolia essential oil. However, when you shop at Amazon, you always need to ensure that the oil you’re buying is pure and organic, as different sellers stock varying qualities of products. Always read the reviews and check the ingredients list before purchasing.

Pharmacies

If you prefer to see and hold what you’re buying beforehand, purchasing magnolia essential oil at a pharmacy may be a possibility. Most pharmacies stock at least a small range of essential oils, and as magnolia is popular, it shouldn't be hard to find. Just be sure to check that it is pure.

doTERRA

doTERRA manufactures organic essential oils and is a reliable supplier of high-quality products. You can purchase magnolia oil from doTERRA with peace of mind.

Magnolia essential oil FAQs

What is magnolia essential oil good for?

The gorgeous scent is calming and can help ease worry and tension in both the mind and body. Magnolia oil is a super-nourishing tropical flower oil with emotionally soothing benefits. It is frequently used in aromatherapy and perfumes to soothe anxious feelings and in natural perfumes for its desirable smell. It’s also amazing for the skin, having anti-aging, protective, anti-inflammatory and skin lightening properties.

What essential oils go well with magnolia essential oil?

Oils that blend well with magnolia include bergamot, jasmine, melissa, lemon, ylang ylang, coriander, wild orange, grapefruit, lavender, neroli and rose.

Which carrier oils blend well with magnolia essential oil? 

Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil and rosehip oil.

volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba carrier oil bottle. the most popular carrier oils  for essential oils because it can be used on your hair or your skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil for your hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil packaging. best for hair and skin
volant jojoba oil carrier oil rich with the beneficial nutrients, including vitamins A, D and E, making it holistically great for your body.

Jojoba Carrier Oil

14 €
volant rosehip carrier oil bottle for skin routine
volant rosehip carrier oil bottle for skin routine
volant rosehip carrier oil rich in vitamin A and C
volant rosehip carrier oil packaging
volant rosehip carrier oil to help fight the effects of aging and the sun on your skin

Rosehip Carrier Oil

14 €

Is magnolia essential oil safe for kids?

No, do not use it on children or pets. Do not ingest magnolia essential oil, and store it in a dark and airtight container out of the reach of children.

Is magnolia essential oil phototoxic?

No, this oil will not become phototoxic when exposed to sunlight so it cannot cause blisters, burns or pigmentation of the skin. In fact, it may protect against UV damage and help lighten the skin. 

In summary

Magnolia essential oil has stood the test of time and is still used in Traditional Chinese Medicine thousands of years later. It’s one of the most beneficial and indulgent oils around with a wide variety of benefits and therapeutic properties. These include relieving anxiety, inducing calm, relieving menstrual cramps, aiding asthma and other respiratory problems and detoxifying and nourishing your skin. Many of these properties have been backed by scientific research, and some studies have even shown promising anti-cancer properties.

Magnolia essential oil is a must for your collection, and Volant stocks only the purest, organic products such as our Breathe Essential Oil Blend containing magnolia oil.

If you have any questions about this oil or any other essential oil-related queries, contact Volant at support@volantaroma.com.

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