Myrica cerifera

An evergreen shrub, Bayberry grows to a height of 10m (30ft). The leaves are glossy, lanceolate in shape, resinously dotted on both sides and fragrant when rubbed. The flowers are small, yellow catkins. The fruits are globular, grey, waxy berries. The bark is covered with a thin mottled layer, the cork beneath this is red/brown in colour and smooth.

Family: Myricaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Bayberry is a key herb in Breathe

Habit and cultivation: Found in the coastal regions of Eastern and Southern USA, it grows in the thickets near swamps, marshland and the sandy belt along the coast. Grown from seed or cuttings and harvested in autumn.

Actions (known for): Carminative, galactogogue, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, aromatic, diuretic, oestrogenic.


The North American settlers used it to treat flatulence, colic, palsies, convusions and epilepsy. Used in Thomson’s Composition powder (no. 6).

Parts used:

Root bark.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Phenolic acids including cynarin (hepatoprotective qualities). Also contains alkaloids, coumarins, pseudotannins, polyacetylenes and cynarase a curdling agent.

Nutritional constituents:

Minerals: Iodine.


Hepatoprotective properties.


Dry leaf: 1-4g daily.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

As a tea 3 x daily.

Cautions for therapeutic doses

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