Introduction of Bayberry:Southern Bayberry or Candleberry.

Popular Herbs. ✵The article gives records of the herb Bayberry, its English name, Latin name, common names, property and flavor, its botanical source two plant species, ①.Myrica cerifera L., ②.Myrica pensylvanica L., with a detailed introduction to the botanical features of these two plant species, the growth characteristics, and ecological environment of these two plant species, the features of the herb Bayberry, its pharmacological actions, medicinal efficacy, and administration guide.

Bayberry(southern bayberry).

a tree of Myrica cerifera grow near a building English Name: Bayberry.
 Latin Name: Myrica cerifera L and Myrica pensylvanica L.
 Common Names: Candleberry, southern bayberry, southern wax myrtle, tallow shrub, waxberry, wax myrtle.
 Property and flavor: The fruit tastes astringent and bitter, the leaves have an aromatic odor.

 Brief introduction: Bayberry is used both in the garden and for candle making, as well as a medicinal plant. Myrica cerifera is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 9 meters tall. It is harvested from the wild for local use as food, medicine, and a source of materials.

 Botanical source: Common herbal classics defined the herb Bayberry as the fruits or berries of the species (1). Myrica cerifera L., or (2).Myrica pensylvanica L. They are plant species of the Morella genus, the Myricaceae family (wax myrtle family). In North America, the dried root bark is used medicinally. In Europe, the dried root bark and the wax extracted from the berries are used medicinally. These two commonly used species are introduced:

(1).Myrica cerifera L.


 a growing tree of Myrica cerifera with many leaves Botanical description: Myrica cerifera is an evergreen small tree or large shrub, it grows up to 6~7.5 meters tall, or even up to 10 meters high, but usually is much shorter. The light olive green leaves are alternate with a toothed edge, it has a spicy aromatic odor when crushed, and there are yellow resin dots on both surfaces. The bark is thin, smooth, and gray-brown, almost white, the bark has a white and peeling outer layer, which covers a red-brown inner layer. In spring, small male and female slim, cylindrical flowers mature. The small tree produces a bluish-white drupe that matures in clusters on short stalks and lasts through the winter. Some are dioecious and some are monoecious, which means that in some cases only the females produce fruit.

 The flowers are unisexual and have no calyx or corolla, small and yellowish in scaly catkins. The small groups of round, gray-white berries contain numerous black seeds and have a crust of usable greenish-white wax, the wax helps keep the berries in a suitable state for germination for a period of 2 to 3 years.

 Ecological environment: Myrica cerifera is native to North America, the shrub is adaptable to many habitats, it grows naturally in wetlands, near flowing bodies of water, dunes, fields, hillsides, pine barrens, thickets on sandy soil near swamps and marshes, and in both needleleaf and mixed-broadleaf forests, also on dry arid hills in which situation it is often only a few centimeters tall. The plant grows from Central America to Delaware and Maryland in USA (the United States of America), it is successfully cultivated as far north as southern Connecticut and Long Island on the U.S. east coast, South-eastern North America. It also grows in Bermuda and the Caribbean, possibly naturalized in South England.

 Growth characteristics: Myrica cerifera grows under almost any condition. It makes a nice bush for xeriscaping as it needs no attention. The plant prefers moist soil, lime-free loamy or peaty soil, it grows well in an open position in well-drained soil in sun or light shade. It thrives in any ordinary garden soil according to one report, whilst another says that it thrives in acid soil.

 Myrica cerifera enjoys light, salt, and alkali resistance, water and humidity resistance, is suitable for coastal areas and marshes, and is the main tree species of the wave-breaking forest. Myrica cerifera has high salt tolerance, so it can be planted on the beach with salt concentration below 0.6% and popularized on the beach with salt concentration below 0.4%.

 Characters of herbs: The fruit of Myrica cerifera is also known as southern Bayberry, the fruit is a source of food for a lot of bird species, wax myrtle is harvested in the autumn, thoroughly dried then powdered, and kept in a dark place in an airtight container.

 The fruit is about 3 mm in diameter with a large seed. There is very little edible flesh. Leaves and berries are used as a food flavoring. They make an aromatic, attractive, and agreeable substitute for bay leaves, and can be used in flavoring soups, stews, etc. The dried leaves are brewed into a robust tea.

 Bayberry bark is the bark from the trunk and branches of Myrica cerifera.

(2).Myrica pensylvanica L.


 Botanical description: Myrica pensylvanica is a broadleaf deciduous to semi-evergreen shrub, it grows up to 1.5~3.7 meters tall, with many upright stems, rounded, suckers, and forms colonies. Leaves are simple and alternate, obovate to oblong, 4~10 cm long and 3~4 cm wide, entire or shallowly toothed toward the apex, glossy dark green and pubescent above, it has an aromatic odor when crushed. Flowers are monoecious or dioecious, not showy, both male and female flowers in yellowish-green catkins. Fruit is grayish-white and covered with a waxy coating, evident in fall into spring.

 Ecological environment: Myrica pensylvanica grows in the eastern area of the North American continent, it is also naturalized in the New Forest of Britain. It grows in dry or wet sterile soil near the coast, spread in coastal dunes, pine barrens, pine-oak forests, old fields, bogs, edges of streams, ponds, and swamps from sea level to the area at altitudes of about 300 meters.

 Growth characteristics: Myrica pensylvanica prefers moist soil, it grows well in an open position in well-drained soil in sun or light shade, thrives in any ordinary garden soil, and prefers a lime-free loamy or peaty soil.

 Characters of herbs: The fruit of Myrica pensylvanica is also known as northern Bayberry, or Candleberry, the fruit is about 4 mm in diameter and contains a single big seed. There is very little edible flesh. The leaves and fruit are used as a food flavoring in soups etc. A bay leaf substitute, imparting a delicate aroma and subtle flavor. It is harvested from the wild for local use as food, medicine, and a source of materials.

 Pharmacological actions: ①.Astringent; ②.mineralocorticoid activity; ③.stimulate bile flow; ④.kill sperm and certain bacteria and paramecia; etc.

 Studies and experiment found that the herb Bayberry contains tannins and works as an astringent, mineralocorticoid activity of its triterpenes have been studied and researchers believe it can influence the body's metabolism of sodium and potassium; Its flavonoid glycoside myricitrin can stimulate bile flow which is beneficial for liver and gallbladder problems, also kills sperm and certain kinds of bacteria and paramecia. The active components of southern Bayberry have diaphoretic, stimulant, and astringent effects.

 Medicinal efficacy: Wax myrtle is a popular herbal remedy in North America where it is employed to increase circulation, stimulate perspiration and keep bacterial infections in check. The herb bayberry was used to control diarrhea, and treat ulcers, hemorrhoids, and sore throats. Traditionally it was used as an internal stimulant, tonic, fever-reducer, astringent for diarrhea and infectious diarrhea, headache, expectorant to clear congestion during colds and flu, douche is recommended for excess vaginal discharge, poultice for difficult ulcers, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins, gargle is used for sore throats, mouthwash for sensitive gums, the large dose was used to induce vomiting in poisonings. The root bark was used to treat colds, and fever in the nineteenth century, the wax fruit or wax berries have been used to make scented candles, so it is also known as Candleberry.

 In Europe, the southern Bayberry is recommended in folk medicine for coughs and colds internally, and externally for skin diseases and ulcers.

 Administration of Bayberry(southern bayberry): 
 
Reference: Administration Guide of Bayberry(southern bayberry)
Herbal classic books: North American herbalists recommended that "Bayberry should not be used medicinally", in Europe, the herb Southern Bayberry is recommended as a liquid extract for internal use, or in powder form, 450 mg as capsules or liquid extract at concentration 1:1.
 Contraindications, Precautions and Adverse Reactions: North American herbalists suggested the herb Bayberry is not suitable for medicinal use, mainly because its high tannin and phenols contents in the bark have close relationships with cancer risks in animal experiments, and in large doses, the herb can cause stomach irritation, nausea, and vomiting. Also, the plant should not be used during pregnancy. In Europe, the herb southern Bayberry is recorded as No health hazards or side effects are known with the proper designated therapeutic dosages, but higher dosages of the herb are said to trigger vomiting and are used as an emetic.

 

 
  

 

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References:
  • 1.Introduction of Bayberry:Southern Bayberry or Candleberry.

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