Bayberry (Myrica cerifera)

Family: Myricaceae

Parts commonly used: Root bark, small rootlets.

Properties/energetics: Astringent, diaphoretic, and stimulant. Warm; spicy, astringent.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, circulatory, and skin.

Uses: Bayberry, not to be confused with barberry (Berberis vulgaris) or bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)is a circulatory stimulant, helpful in many conditions improved by increased circulation of blood and lymph. It is a strong stimulant that disperses coldness in the body and increases vitality and resistance to illness. It is a reliable astringent for treating diarrhea and dysentery, and, as a gargle, it is helpful for sore throats. It is valuable for allaying hemorrhaging in the lungs and bowels.

Combinations: Combines with Cayenne to increase circulation of the blood and lymph, thereby stimulating more rapid healing of congested or infected mucous membranes. Use with Yerba Mansa as a tonic for a sluggish respiratory tract secreting thick excessive mucus.

Affects on specific body types: As a tonic, this herb is best suited to the Monarch. Its astringent qualities tighten the overly relaxed membranes the Monarch often features, decreasing excessive mucus production. Its circulatory stimulating properties bring oxygen and nutrients to tissues while carrying away waste products, which allows the membranes to function more actively. Bayberry is useful for treating chronic problems in the upper gastrointestinal tract that are characterized by hypoactivity. When the tongue and gums appear flabby and pale, good results can be expected from it in relation to stomach function. It can also help in chronic intestinal imbalances that exhibit mucus in the stools, but it should be avoided when there is acute inflammation of the intestinal membranes. In the respiratory tract, bayberry may be helpful when the mucous membranes are overly relaxed and secreting excessive amounts of thick, viscous mucus.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: 1/2 cup three times a day. Tincture: 1020 drops one to three times a day. Externally: Bayberry is applied as a fomentation at night to relieve or help prevent varicose veins.

Precautions: Dilute initial doses, for this herb can be irritating. Take sparingly if you experience any inflammation or stomach irritation. Can be emetic in large doses.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal