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Southern Bayberry (Myrica carolinensis, Myrica cerifera)


astringent, diaphoretic, pain relieving, antipyretic, antibiotic

Areas of application:

Diarrhea, colitis, indigestion, gastrointestinal problems, colon inflammation, dysentery, ulcers, cold, sore throat, sore throat, promotes blood circulation, fever, muscle pain, arthritis, joint pain, seizures, colic, fainting

Plant parts used:

Root, bark, leaves, berries

Collection time:

Root bark in late autumn

Fruits in autumn

To find:

In North America, in moist bogs, swamps and thickets near sandy coasts.


Myricitrin, tannins, triterpenes, flavonoids, resin, gum, phenols


☕ Tea: 1 tablespoon of dried leaves or crushed root is brought to a boil with 1 cup of cold water. Then let the leaves steep for 10 to 15 minutes and the roots for 20 to 30 minutes. Then strain the tea and drink it hot or cold.

Southern bayberry is an evergreen shrub that can reach heights of 6 to 12 feet. It belongs to the Gagelbusch family (Myricaceae). The plant has elongated, leathery, dark green leaves with serrated edges that hang from thin, small stems. The bushes produce either only male or only female flowers. The male flowers have 3 to 5 stamens, while the female flowers produce spherical, wax-coated fruits. The flowers appear in spring to early summer, the fruits follow in late summer and autumn.

Another Myrica species, Myrica pensylvanica, grows further north, but the range overlaps. You can easily distinguish the bushes by their leaves. The leaves of the pensylvanica are greener and have no hairs on the pericarp and no papillae. They are also rounder at the tips, whereas they taper to a point in Myrica carolinensis. Myrica pensylvanica does not have all of the healing properties of Myrica carolinensis. Myrica pensylvanica is also similar to Myrica cerifera, but only has scent glands on the underside of the leaves and is not particularly aromatic overall, whereas Myrica cerifera has glands on the top and bottom of the leaves and smells aromatic when the leaves are crushed.

In the kitchen you can use the berries raw or cooked and the leaves can be used like bay leaves for seasoning.

Myrica caroliniensis and its relatives are used as ornamental plants in parks and gardens. Where one cannot tolerate the cold, the other can tolerate it and so they replace each other.

The fruits of Myrica caroliniensis were traditionally used in the South to make wax for old-fashioned Christmas decorations (bayberry candles). The wax was extracted by boiling and the wax floating on the surface was then skimmed off. The fats were boiled again and then strained. The liquid was then suitable for making candles by drawing or molding. However, Myrica carolinensis is not the only plant species used for this purpose; their close relatives are also useful.

Myrica caroliniensis and its relatives have largely been replaced by substitutes such as paraffin in candle making. Food colorings and fragrances are added to the substitutes so that they look and smell similar to the natural products. (Wikipedia)

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