BAYBERRY (Myrica cerifera)
Other names: Wax Myrtle, Candleberry
Both the botanical name and the common names of this fragrant North American plant indicates the fine yellow or light green wax which is produced on the berries as they ripen. Varieties of Bayberry species and substance have been used in soap making, candle manufacturing and as a valuable anti-diarrhoeic remedy, although it is now relatively unused outside of fold remedies. It is though, a constituent of some proprietary cold cures such as ‘Composition Powders’.
Bayberry is an astringent, a weak diaphoretic, a tonic, slalogogue, and is principally employed as a gargle, douche and poultice in the treatment of sore throats, leucorrhoea and ulcers. Bayberry may be used internally for mucous colitis, diarrhoea, the common cold and feverish conditions.
Powdered bark was formerly taken as a snuff in the treatment of nasal catarrh. Small pieces of Bayberry bark may be chewed to promote salivation, aid gingivitis and to reduce toothache. In olden times, Bayberry was taken as a tonic tea.
Bayberry Bark is associated with the Tarot card the Nine of Wands.
Bayberry Bark is a stimulant, an astringent and is used for colds and flu, to promote circulation, whilst at the same time toning and contracting flaccid tissue.
The powder of Bayberry Bark is used externally as a dentifrice for receding gums.
In large doses, Bayberry may become an emetic, and may cause excessive flatulence.