Bayberry is an aromatic shrub growing over most of the U.S. It is considered by many to be one of the most useful and valuable herbs in the botanic field.
The fruit, or BERRIES, are covered with a whitish coating of wax which is separated for use. This vegetable wax is some- times substituted for bees wax in the formation of plasters. The name “candle-berry” was given to it because it was used in the making of tapers and candles. It is somewhat fragrant, when burning, but emits a less brilliant light than common lamp oil.
The process of collecting the wax is simple. The berries are boiled in water, the wax melting and floating on the surface, or allowed to concrete as it cools, is removed in the solid state. To render it pure, it is again melted and strained. It has a feeble odor and a slightly bitterish taste.
This wax possesses mild astringent properties, and has been popularly employed as a remedy for diarrhea and dysentery, and we are told it was found to be of great advantage during an epidemic of this complaint. The powdered wax was mixed with a syrup and taken in doses of 1 t., frequently repeated.
The OIL distilled from the BERRIES is used in bay rum as a hair dressing.
The BARK of the root is the official part. It should be collected in the latter part of the fall. When thoroughly dry, pulverize and keep in a closed container. Water is employed to extract the astringent principles and alcohol to extract its stimulating properties. The taste is astringent, bitter, and pungent. The odor is slightly aromatic.
Its stimulating properties arouse the whole circulation. If combined with a little capsicum in a warm infusion, it will improve arterial and capillary circulation and tone up the tissues.
As an astringent, it will not dry the mucus membrane but will promote glandular activity and restore the mucous secretions to a normal activity.
In sore throat, especially a putrid sore throat, gargle with an infusion of 1 t. to 1 pint boiling water. It will clean the mucous membrane of all morbid matter. After the gargle, a drink of the infusion will clean the most vile matter out of the stomach in 3 minutes. The infusion is also a good wash for ulcers and for spongy and bleeding gums.
Large doses may induce nausea and vomiting. Its promptness in this respect, however, has caused it to be used with success in narcotic poisoning and mercurial cachexia. If the poison is still in the stomach after a strong, hot infusion of bayberry, follow up with a lobelia emetic, and the poison will be expelled by vomiting.
In hemorrhage of the uterus, bowels, lungs, Leucorrhea, and in excessive menstruation, an infusion of bayberry is most valuable. It is recommended in prolapsus uteri, and in partuition it will be directly manifest in firmer contractions and will check possible flooding. Its influence on the uterus is very positive.
In goiter, good results have been had from doses of 10 gr. of the powder 3 times daily.
In buboes, carbuncles, scrofulous ulcers, gangrenous sores, etc., apply the powder as a poultice.
In adenoids, nasal congestion or catarrh, the powder, as a snuff, will give fine results. Dip one end of a straw in the powder, placing the other end in the nostril, and have someone blow the powder in or snuff it up. Sneezing follows, clearing out the mucus, and the adenoids will dry up.
An excellent composition powder is made as follows: All in powder form: bayberry bark 4 oz., African ginger 2 oz., hemlock spruce 1 oz., cloves 1 Dr., capsicum 1 Dr. Mix and pass through a fine sieve at least twice. The dose is 1 t. in 1 C. boiling water, sweetened. Cover and allow to stand a few minutes. Drink the clear liquid only.
This will raise the heat of the body, equalizing the circulation, and remove congestion’s, ease cramps and pains in the stomach and bowels, and is useful as a remedy in colds, beginning of fevers, flu, hoarseness, colic, clear canker of the stomach and bowels, and in acute” fevers.
If this composition was kept in every home and used as the occasion arose, there would be less sickness. Take it freely. It is thoroughly safe and effective.
Where the circulation is weak and obstructed, when older people need a stimulating drink, and where the lumbar region is painful, an addition of 1 or 2 oz. of powdered white poplar bark will be helpful. It will also help the urinary tract.
As a drink for a gentle stimulation and to warm up the body, take 1/2 t. powder in 1 Cup boiling water, sweetened.
It is claimed that bayberry will prevent scrofula and tuberculosis.
The Thompson Compound is now prepared as a reliable fluid extract and also as an essence which can be quickly converted to an infusion by adding hot water; the powder may also be taken in capsule form, drinking hot water after. This will get rid of the disagreeable taste.
In all infusions, be sure to leave the powder and drink the liquid only.