BAYBERRY BARKMyrica cerifera
A native of North America, Bayberry is at home in the poor soils of the sandy coastal marshes near the Atlantic. From 1916 - 1936, Bayberry was one of the few herbs considered 'official' in the American 'National Formulary'. Native American healers used not only the bark but also the berries, and the wax that covers them for medicinal purposes. The wax has become quite unavailable and its uses are all but forgotten.
Bayberry is a useful medicinal herb to have at hand for flu, coughs and colds. It stimulates the circulation and acts warming and diaphoretic. It is antibacterial and stimulates the immune system while simultaneously drying out the mucous membranes. It is an excellent astringent for sore throats and for digestive problems such as colitis and irritable bowel syndrome. It also used to be used for dysentery with good results. Externally it can be used as a wash for skin ulcers and sores, or as a gargle for loose teeth. Native Americans made use of the herb to cure a fever and to dispel worms. It also played an important role in women's medicine.
Native American used Bayberry to banish the restless spirits of the dead and to protect against disease. In western magical herbalism it has been used as a money charm.