Bayberry is known as southern wax myrtle, southern bayberry, candleberry, bayberry tree, and tallow shrub.
It is a small evergreen tree or large shrub native to North and Central America and the Caribbean. It grows naturally in wetlands, near rivers and streams, sand dunes, fields, hillsides, pine barrens, and forests.
It can grow up to about 9 meters in height. The leaves are narrow and wedge-shaped.
The medicinal part is obtained from the root bark, but it is also possible to use the leaves, fruits, and wax extracted from the fruits.
Traditional Uses and benefits
Bayberry contains triterpenes (taraxerol, taraxeron, and myrikadiol), flavonoids (myricitrin), tannins, phenols, resins, and rubber substances.
Bayberry has historically been used to treat headaches, flu, colds, cough, throat infections, and sinusitis as a decongestant.
The wax derived from the plant is also used traditionally to remedy dysentery and treat ulcers in the digestive system.
Its antipyretic and astringent properties can be used to treat diarrhea, inflammation, and infections of the gastrointestinal tract.
Modern research has shown that bayberry contains astringent and antibacterial substances. The tannin in the plant causes the astringent effect. That is why the herbs were once a popular remedy for diarrhea, sores, and hemorrhoids.
Dosage and Precautions
Dosages for oral administration (adults) for conventional use are provided below.
0.6 g to 2 g by infusion or decoction three times daily
0.6 mL to 2 mL (1:1 in 45 % alcohol) three times daily
Warning: Research has shown that large doses can lower potassium levels and increase sodium in the body, causing fluid retention and hypertension. Bayberry should not be used in people with high blood pressure, cardiac issues, fluid retention, or impaired kidney function.
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