What is bayberry?
Originating from the genus Myrica, bayberries are found in five major continents including Asia, Africa, Europe, North & South America, leaving Australia. These are small shrubs, where some species are deciduous while some are evergreen. They do not need high content soil and thrive best in low-nitrogen profile soil and volcanic soils. The roots of these plants are enable to fix nitrogen and the fruits have a waxy coating. The wax from the fruits is used in making fragrances and candles. This feature on the fruits makes them less ingests by the birds except the Yellow-rumped Warbler. The fruits are bright red in colour and are covered with rounded lump. They are sweet and tangy to taste and the juice leaves stains on the hands as well as lips. Bayberries are a storehouse of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant properties which help body to fight harmful radicles. The Myrica gale type species favour cold climate of Northern Hemisphere, and on the other hand, the other species prefer the warm-temperate zone. The fruits are used in the preparation of juice, beer, shots, and other alcoholic beverages. They are commercial crops of China and are sold fresh as well as dried.
- The leaves boiled with tea are a medicinal remedy for stomach pains, gastritis, indigestion, and improper bowel syndrome.
- The root is useful to treat diarrhoea, colitis, vaginal discharge and during fever.
- It is helpful in sore throat, common cold, and flu.
- It is effective for gum bleeding, gum sores, sensitive gums, and healthy & white teeth.
- The herb is used as an ointment for infections, wounds, redness, and itchiness of skin. It also cures dandruff and hair loss.
- The herb also aids in treating cholera, typhoid, nausea, bronchitis, and others.
- The Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and boosts immune system of the body, reduces swelling and provides healthy hair & skin.
- It regulates the circulatory system.
- The powered root when inhaled causes sneezing or coughing.
- The properties if not suitable to individual can induce nausea and vomiting.
- The tannins present can increase the sodium of the level, which can give rise to high blood pressure.
- Bayberries are not suitable for those who are affected with edema. It may make it worse.
- It may have a harmful effect on liver and kidney.
Ways to prepare
Though bayberries are mostly used for making alcohols and related stuffs, they are also used in making muffins, cakes, and spicy foods with ribs, pork chops, and quail. The leaves are poisonous in nature and are boiled before use.
The leaves of the Myrica species are food for larvae, moths, caterpillars, and other insects. The foliage is used by the campers and travellers as it work as a repellent and prevent insect bites. The roots and barks have a pleasant fragrance but are very bitter to taste. They are the native foods of Southeast Asia, are either eaten raw or canned and dried.