Bark of root.
Despite the fact that none of the therapeutic properties of bayberry have been scientifically proved yet, this herb has been extensively used in traditional medicine to cure a number of health conditions. The most widespread uses of this herb are for improving the blood circulation, promoting perspiration as well as to avoid bacterial infections. It has been thought all the times that bayberry facilitates in reinforcing the opposition to infections locally. In addition, this herb is also preferred in treating common cold, coughs and flu and is considered to be helpful in constricting as well drying the mucous membranes. Taking a gargle with the herb is helpful in curing tender throats, while an infusion prepared with the root bark of bayberry is useful in making the spongy gums stronger. The astringent property of bayberry is believed to cure intestinal problems, for instance irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) as well as mucous colitis (irritable bowel syndrome distinguished by the passage of abnormally great amounts of mucus). Then again, a paste made with the powdered bayberry root bark is applied topically on the ulcers and sores. In addition, an infusion prepared with the root bark of bayberry is also believed to facilitate in treating excessive vaginal discharge. It may be mentioned that bayberry has a long history of therapeutic use. Members of Choctaw (a group of indigenous tribes of the North American Indians) boiled the herb and used it for treating fevers. Eventually, bayberry was accepted as a therapeutic herb, although just in the South. Way back in 1722, it was stated that the early European settlers in Louisiana drank a combination of hot water and wax to cure acute cases of dysentery. Then again, it was reported in 1737 that bayberry was used by people for treating colic, convulsions, seizures and even palsy. Beginning from the early part of the 19th century, Samuel Thompson, a herbalist, advocated the use of this herb for generating 'heat' inside the body and also as a remedy for diarrhea as well as various infectious diseases. Nevertheless, by the late 19th century, bayberry lost much of its popularity and, unlike before, people seldom used this herb to treat various ailments, counting its external applications to cure bleeding gums. Use of bayberry for therapeutic purposes had waned since the 19th century, when the popularity of this herb was at its peak. Nevertheless, some herbal practitioners as well as common people continue to use this herb even to this day to treat diarrhea, fever and a number of other health conditions. The herb's rook bark encloses a chemical compound called myricitrin, which is known to possess anti-fever attributes. Additionally, myricitrin together with the tannins present in the herb possesses anti-diarrheal qualities. While myricitrin acts as an antibiotic, tannins enclosed by bayberry work as astringents. Generally, bayberry is used either in the form of a decoction or tincture. In some cases, people also use infusions and pastes prepared with the herb's root bark for remedial purposes.
The fruits of bayberry have been traditionally used for craft purposes. Since long, they have been a natural supply of the wax for the conventional Christmas decorations known as bayberry candles. The wax from this herb was derived by simmering the berries and hiving off the suspended hydrocarbons. Subsequently, the fats obtained in this manner were boiled once again and filtered. The resultant liquid was used in making candles, either by means of molding or dipping. Nevertheless, it may be noted that bayberry is not the solitary plant whose fruits are used for making bayberry candles. Many of this plant's close relatives are also used for this purpose. Bayberry plant as well as its close relatives have been extensively replaced in candle manufacture by alternates prepared from paraffin. These substitute candles possess synthetic colors and aroma creating candles that appear and smell akin to the natural candles made with bayberry fruit wax.
Bayberry is indigenous of the coastal areas of the southern and eastern United States, where this herb is found growing in abundance. Apart from these areas, bayberry may occasionally be found growing in the far west in Texas. The best period to harvest the root bark of bayberry is during autumn or spring.
The root bark of bayberry is used in herbal medicines. Chemical analysis of the herb has revealed that bayberry encloses many organic chemical compounds, counting triterpenes, for instance taraxerol, myricadiol and taraxerone, in addition to chemicals like various flavonoids, resins, tannins, gums and phenols. Each of these different compounds has different actions or effects. While myricadiol has a somewhat influence on the potassium and sodium levels, another compound known as myricitrin possesses antibiotic attributes.
A decoction is prepared adding a teaspoonful of root bark of bayberry in a cup of cold water and subsequently boiling the mixture. Allow the resultant solution to cool for around 10 minutes to 15 minutes. To obtain the best results, you should drink this decoction thrice every day. Alternately, you may also prepared a tincture with the bayberry root bark and take it in the dosage of 1 ml to 3 ml thrice every day.
Although herbal preparations with bayberry are generally considered to be safe for use, this herb should not be taken by women during pregnancy. Besides, the action of tannin enclosed by the plant vis-�-vis curing cancer is still not scientifically proved. A number of researches undertaken by several scientists have hinted that this herb has pro as well as anti-cancer effects. Similar to any other therapeutic plants, bayberry ought to be used only under the guidance of a qualified physician.
The best time to dig out the roots of bayberry is spring or autumn. Soon after collecting the roots, their barks are removed and dried.