Bayberry (Myrica cerifera), is an evergreen shrub that can grow from 3 to 8 feet with leaves that are lancet-like that are arranged spirally. It is widely distributed in Asia, Africa, Europe and North and South America. These dioecious plants can adapt to different soil conditions.
The fruit and the root bark of bayberry are processed to extract oils and wax for medicinal and commercial uses. There are numerous medicinal uses of bayberry. The root barks are boiled and concentrated into an extract and used as a natural treatment for variety of common sickness. These include fever, colds, diarrhea, sore throat, ulcers and minor wounds. Bayberry had been long used for treating dysentery. Its globular berries are coated with greenish-white wax that is used for making candles, scents, and other products such as shaving lather and sealing wax.
Bayberry is known for its astringent and stimulant properties. When taken in large amounts, it can induce vomiting (emetic). The decoction from bayberry is used as gargle to treat inflamed gums and mouth sores. The tea made from bayberry leaves is also proven to cleanse the gastrointestinal tract and helps the liver to excrete toxins. It also promotes blood circulation and helps to strengthen the immune system. The poultice made from bayberry with other herbs is used as topical treatment for itching, insect bites, skin infections and even hair loss. Although there are no concrete scientific study about the effects of bayberry, doctors and scientists have seen the effectiveness of this herb to treat common diseases and health benefits from them. The dried leaves and powdered root are also used to make tea that has very pleasing aroma. Bayberry has no documented side effects but it is not recommended for pregnant and breastfeeding women to take it by mouth because it is considered possibly unsafe.