Herb: Chinese Bayberry

Latin name: Myrica rubra

Synonyms: Myrica nagi

Family: Myricaceae (Bayberry Family)

Medicinal use of Chinese Bayberry:

Astringent, carminative, vulnerary. The stem bark is used as a wash in the treatment of arsenic poisoning, skin diseases, wounds and ulcers. The fruit is carminative, pectoral and stomachic. The seed is used in the treatment of sweaty feet. The plant is used in the treatment of cholera, heart ailments and stomach diseases.

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Forests of C. and S. Japan. Coastal districts in warm countries.

Edible parts of Chinese Bayberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Succulent and aromatic, it has an agreeable sub-acid taste. Juicy, sweetish and sour according to another report. The fruit soon rots so it is difficult to grow commercially because of the problems of getting it to market in good condition. The fruit is up to 25mm in diameter. The seed is said to be edible.

Other uses of the herb:

A yellow dye is obtained from the plant. (The part of the plant is not specified).

Propagation of Chinese Bayberry:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame. Barely cover the seed and keep it moist. Stored seed germinates more freely if given a 3 month cold stratification and then sown in a cold frame. Germination is usually good. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the cold frame for the first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Pot up and overwinter in a cold frame. Fair to good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in November/December in a frame. Layering in spring. Division of suckers in the dormant season. Plant them out direct into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Forests of C. and S. Japan. Coastal districts in warm countries.

Known hazards of Myrica rubra:

Although no reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, there is a report for some members of this genus that some of the constituents of the wax might be carcinogenic.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.