Bayberry

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What other names is Bayberry known by?

Árbol de Cera, Arbre à Cire, Candleberry, Cirier de Pennsylvanie, Morella caroliniensis, Morella cerifera, Morella pensylvanica, Myrica, Myrica caroliniensis, Myrica cerifera, Myrica heterophylla, Myrica pensylvanica, Myrica pumila, Myrique de Pennsylvanie, Southern Bayberry, Southern Wax Myrtle, Tallow Shrub, Vegetable Tallow, Wax Myrtle, Waxberry.

What is Bayberry?

Bayberry is a shrub that grows in Texas and the eastern US. The root bark and berries are used to make medicine.

Despite safety concerns, some people take bayberry for head colds, painful and swollen intestines (colitis), diarrhea, and nausea. In large amounts, bayberry is used to cause vomiting.

Some people also use it to stimulate the circulatory system.

Bayberry is sometimes used as a gargle for sore throat, as a douche for vaginal discharge, and as an ointment for skin ulcers and wounds.

In manufacturing, the wax extract taken from the berries is used in fragrances and candles.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Colds.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea.
  • Sore throat, when used as a gargle.
  • Vaginal discharge, when used as a douche.
  • Skin ulcers and wounds, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bayberry for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Bayberry work?

Bayberry contains chemicals called tannins. These tannins have a drying effect on the skin.

Are there safety concerns?

Bayberry is considered POSSIBLY UNSAFE when taken by mouth. Bayberry can cause nausea, vomiting, and liver damage. It also contains a cancer-causing chemical.

There isn't enough information to know whether it is safe to apply bayberry to the skin or use as a gargle or douche.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Bayberry may NOT be safe for anyone, but it is especially risky for people with the following conditions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Bayberry is considered POSSIBLY UNSAFE to take by mouth or apply to the skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding because it contains a chemical that can cause cancer. Bayberry can cause nausea, vomiting, and liver damage.

High blood pressure: Bayberry contains large amounts of chemicals called tannins. Tannins can increase the amount of sodium that the body retains. This can cause extra fluids to build up, and that can raise blood pressure. It's especially important to avoid bayberry if you have high blood pressure.

Water retention (edema): Bayberry might make edema worse. It's especially important to avoid bayberry if you tend to retain water.

Dosing considerations for Bayberry.

The appropriate dose of bayberry depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bayberry. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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