Part Used: Dried root bark
Bayberry (Myrica cerifera) grows in thickets near swamps and marshes in the sand-belt near the Atlantic coast and on the shores of Lake Erie. Its height is from 3 to 8 feet, its leaves lanceolate, shining or resinous, dotted on both sides, its flowers unisexual without calyx or corolla, and its fruit small groups of globular berries, having numerous black grains crusted with greenish-white wax. These are persistent for two or three years. The leaves are very fragrant when rubbed. The active constituents of Bayberry are Tannins, triterpenes (including myricadiol), flavonoid glycoside (myricitrin), resin (myrinic acid), gum, volatile oil, etc. The wax consists of glycerides of stearic, palmitic and myristic acids and a small quantity of oleaic acid. There has been found in the bark of stem and root volatile oil, starch, lignin, gum, albumen, extractive, tannic and gallic acids, acrid and astringent resins, a red colouring substance, and an acid resembling saponin.
Historically, Bayberry was taken orally to treat colds and diarrhea. Large amounts were used to make individuals vomit. Its effects were moderate at best and it may have possibly serious side effects. Newer prescription and nonprescription drugs are much safer, as well as being more effective. Bayberry should not be taken by mouth. It is astringent and stimulant. In large doses it acts like emetic. It is useful in diarrhoea, jaundice, scrofula, etc. Externally, the powdered bark is used as a stimulant to indolent ulcers, though in poultices it should be combined with elm. The decoction is good as a gargle and injection in chronic inflammation of the throat, leucorrhoea, uterine haemorrhage, etc. It is an excellent wash for the gums. Topically, Bayberry acts as an astringent. An astringent shrinks and tightens the top layers of skin or mucous membranes, thereby reducing secretions, relieving irritation, and improving tissue firmness. A solution it may also be used as a mouthwash or gargle for soothing sore throat. It is a valuable astringent in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery and other inflammation and infection of the gastrointestinal tract. It stimulates bile flow. This herb is particularly valuable in mucous colitis. It may be used as a gargle for sore throats or as a douche for leucorrhoea, and can be used both systemically and locally for excessive menstrual bleeding. It is sometimes used to treat post-partum haemorrhage.
Drug Digest. https://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWho/0,3923,4074%7CMyrica+cerifera,00.html
Purple Sage Botanicals. http://www.purplesage.org.uk/profiles/bayberry.htm