The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names

Bayberry foliage

  • Myrica cerifera L.
  • Myricaceae
  • Myrtle family

Common Names

  • American bayberry
  • American vegetable tallow tree
  • American vegetable wax
  • Bayberry bush
  • Bayberry wax tree
  • Candleberry
  • Candleberry myrtle
  • Katphala (Sanskrit name)
  • Myrtle
  • Tallow shrub
  • Vegetable tallow
  • Wax berry
  • Wax Myrtle
  • Yang-mei

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Parts Usually Used

Bark, leaves, flowers
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Bayberry fruit

Coarse, stiff, shrub or small, slender, tree; to 3-8 feet. Bark is brownish-gray and smooth; leaves narrow at the base. Young branchlets waxy. Leaves oblong to lance-shaped, 1-4 inches long, reduced at the tip of the branches, often sparingly toothed, dark green and shiny above, paler and sometimes hairy beneath; leathery, evergreen, with waxy globules. Flowers appear in early spring, March and April, before or with the new leaves. Fruits, borne against the stems, 1/8 inch across. The green berries are covered, when mature, with a pale blue, lavender or grayish-white aromatic wax in microscopic rounded particles used in making candles which burn with a pleasing fragrance. Bayberry needs lime free soil.
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Where Found

Sandy swamps, thickets, marshes and wet woodlands. Southern New Jersey to Florida, Texas to Arkansas. West Indies
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Medicinal Properties

Stimulant, astringent, emetic, antispasmodic, alterative, expectorant, diaphoretic, tonic. Leaves – aromatic, stimulant
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Biochemical Information

Volatile oil, starch, lignin, albumen, gum, tannic and gallic acids, acrid and astringent resins, an acid resembling saponin
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Legends, Myths and Stories

One of the most versatile herbs, this native American plant is highly regarded by herbal practitioners. Nineteenth century physicians used to prescribe a hot tea made from the powdered bark of the bayberry at the first sign of a cold, cough, or flu.

Wax of the berries is used to make fragrant candles. To obtain the wax, boil the berries in water. The wax floats to the surface and can be removed when hardened.

Gather root bark in the fall. Cleanse it thoroughly and while fresh separate the bark with a hammer. Dry the root completely and keep in a dry place; when dry enough to pulverize do so and store in a dark glass or pottery sealed container.
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Bayberry is considered one of the most useful in the Medical Herbal practice. Its popularity has had respect for generations.

Candle wax is produced from the fruits.

Root bark formerly used in tea as an astringent and emetic for chronic gastritis, diarrhea, dysentery, leukorrhea, mouthwash for sore, bleeding, or sensitive gums, is good for circulation, catarral states of the alimentary tracts, jaundice, scrofula, bowel inflammation, excessive menstrual bleeding and uterine discharge, and indolent (hard to heal) ulcers. Leaf tea was used for fevers, sore throats, bronchitis, cholera, typhoid, epilepsy, indigestion, hemorrhoids, externally as a wash for itching. Powdered root bark was an ingredient in “composition powder”, once a widely used home remedy for colds, flu, laryngitis, sinusitis, asthma, and chills.

Bayberry bark powder makes an excellent toothpowder, combined with cinnamon bark powder, myrrh, salt, and echinacea root. Good results used for goitre.

A decoction is used as a wash or poultice for varicose veins, chronic sores, boils, or the powdered bark may be directly applied to wounds. The oil of Bayberry is good for bruises.

Bayberry is excellent as an emetic after narcotic poisoning of any kind. It is good to follow the bayberry with lobelia.
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Formulas or Dosages

Tea: steep 1 tsp. in 1 pint of boiling water for 30 minutes. Use as a gargle for sore throat or for chills (drink 1/2 cup warm every hour until relief).

Extract: mix 10-20 drops in juice or water.

Mouthwash: gargle with liquid mixture made of extract or powder as needed.

Powder: mix 1/2 to 1 tsp. in 1 cup warm water.

Tincture: 1/2 to 1 tsp. is taken in a small glass of water, 2 or 3 times daily.

Externally: rub liquid mixture on varicose veins or hemorrhoids as needed.
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How Sold

Capsules: take 1 capsule 3 times daily as needed.
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Wax is irritating. Constituents of the wax are reportedly carcinogenic.
Avoid in very hot temperatures. Avoid if hypertensive.
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Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

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