Other names: Candleberry, Tallow

Scientific name: Myrica cerifera

Common names:

Ayurvedic names: Katphala

Chinese names: yang-mei

Bangladesh names: Kaiphala

Arabic names:    الآس الشمعي (al aas ash-sham’i)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Root

Collection: Early spring

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 9 feet

Actions: Astringent, circulatory stimulant, diaphoretic, emetic, tonic

Known Constituents: Tannins, resin

Constituents Explained: 

Description: 

Bayberry is a different herb than Bearberry (Uva-Ursi) and Barberry (a commonly used liver herb).

Traditional Use:

To enhance circulation.

Was once commonly employed as a gargle for sore throats(1).

Also used as an emetic, and was at one stage commonly used before Lobelia to induce vomiting(1).

Its astringent properties see it taken to help halt bleeding and for its toning effect on the female reproductive organs, especially on the uterus during pregnancy(1).  

Used as a tea(1) for goitre, and to induce perspiration.

Clinical Studies: 

Chinese bayberry fruits are used as a folk medicine to cure diarrhea. It was found that bayberry fruit extract showed significant antibacterial activity against Salmonella, Listeria, and Shigella.

Positive relationships were found between the antibacterial activity and the total polyphenol and flavonoid contents of samples using different extraction times. The active compounds showed green or blue fluorescence under UV light using the bioautography method and were purified using a polyamide column.

The fraction F1 with the most activity was comprised of flavonoids, which included cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, myricetin deoxyhexoside, quercetin-3-O-glucoside, and quercetin deoxyhexoside. These findings provide scientific evidence for the antidiarrheal function of bayberry.

Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role during the islet transplantation procedure, and antioxidant supplementation may protect grafts against oxidative injury. Chinese bayberry is one of six Myrica species native to China, and it was demonstrated that anthocyanins from Chinese bayberry extract (CBE) protect pancreatic β cells (INS-1) against hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced necrosis and apoptosis.

Anthocyanins time- and dose-dependently upregulated heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) gene expression in β cells and primary islets. HO-1 knockdown increased H(2)O(2)-induced cell death and attenuated the cytoprotective effect of anthocyanins.

Additionally, β cells pretreated with anthocyanins displayed a decreased extent of apoptosis after transplantation. These results suggest that anthocyanins in CBE protect β cells from H(2)O(2)-induced cell injury.

References:

Yao WR, Wang HY, Wang ST, Sun SL, Zhou J, Luan YY. “Assessment Of The Antibacterial Activity And The Antidiarrheal Function Of Flavonoids From Bayberry Fruits.” 2011 May http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21469731

Zhang B, Kang M, Xie Q, Xu B, Sun C, Chen K, Wu Y. “Anthocyanins From Chinese Bayberry Extracts Protect Beta Cells From Oxidative Stress-Mediated Via HO-1 Upregulation.” 2011 January http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21166417