Bayberry – A Very Useful Shrubbery

by Jerem on August 10, 2013

natural medicineThe Bayberry, or Myrica Cerifera, grows along the east coast of the United States from southern Florida to New Jersey as well along the Gulf Coast to Texas. Other species within the Bayberry family can be found widely around the world including Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. It is conspicuously missing from Australia. Bayberry can range from a 3 foot shrub up to a 30 foot tree in warmer weather. The leaves are long and thin and are dark and shiny on top. The name Myrica originates from the Greek word “Myrike” which means aroma, or frangrance. This shrubby tree bears fruit that has many uses along with its bark, roots, leaves and branches.

Bayberry is also known as Wax Myrtle, Myrica, Candle Berry, Myricae Cortex, Tallow Shrub, and Wachsgagle depending on where they are located.

These plants are very popular because they are attractive, fast growing shrubs and respond very well to pruning. That makes it easy to cultivate and care for them and they are used widely as ornamental plants in gardens. Bayberry best known use is for making candles. In the book, Swiss Family Robinson the family uses the wax from the Bayberry fruit to make candles to keep their huts lit. The is encased in a waxy coating that has a very pleasant fragrance. By combining with beeswax you can stretch the candle to last longer and mute the fragrance slightly (bayberry is pretty strong by itself). These candle are burned mostly during Christmas, New Year and other special occasions and is believed to bring good luck for the coming year.

But bayberry has many other practical uses as well. Its fragrance has long been used as an insect repellent by campers. Twigs can be placed in home closets and drawers to keep cockroaches out. In China these shrubs are sold fresh, canned, juiced and also used in alcoholic beverages. In Denmark bayberry is used to spice beer. The waxy berry fruits of these shrubs are a high energy food for some bird species during winter times.

Bayberry leaves also used to relieve colds and fever. Bayberry powder can be sniffed up the noze to induce sneezing in order to clear mucus from the sinuses. It can also be taken orally to excite coughing to make it more productive to eliminate mucus.

Bayberry is an astringent and is very useful in stopping menstrual cramps especially when used in combination with cayenne pepper. It is also very useful in stopping internal bleeding like hemorrahage of the uterus and lungs.

It is excellent for gum and oral health as well. Bayberry tea makes an very effective mouth wash and will help bleeding gums. Putting bayberry powder around your teeth also helps to tighten gums. Bayberry tea is good for diarrhea and dysentery. Bayberry can used as a gargle to relieve sore throat. Bayberry also helps in stimulating the circulatory system and helps in getting rid of mucus from arteries and capillaries in the human body.

Therefore Bayberry has many uses and it is usable from leaves, twigs, branches, bark and even roots. Not only does it look great in your garden, it is a very useful plant for your health.

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