Bay berry is an aromatic tree growing unto 10 metres high. The leaves of the tree are 7.5 cms long, pale to rust coloured and alternate. The tree has hairy stalks with minute flowers growing solitary or on a common drooping stalk. It has wrinkled seeds. The herb contains tannins, triterpencee (including myricadiol),flavonoid glycosides, resin and gum. '
The bark of the tree is aromatic, stimulant, tonic and resolvent. It is useful in arresting secretion or bleeding and in expelling wind from the stomach. It is also an antiseptic, Myricitrin in bay berry is bactericidal and encourages the flow of bile. Another constituent of the herb, myricadiol is reported to cause retention of salt and excretion of potassium.
Bay berry is a valuable remedy in fevers and colds. Aha decoction of the herb can be taken in the treatment of feaver, catarrh of the mucous membranes, affections of the chest and typhoid. The powdered bark can be used as a snuff for congested nasal passages, which are relieved by sneezing. The decoction also makes a good gargle for throat infections.
Bay berry is also used to treat inflammation and infectious of the gastro-intestinal tract.
The herb taken internally can be used to treat post-partum haemorrhage. It can also be used as a douche for excessive menstrual bleeding and leucorrhoea, or white discharge.
Bay berry is highly beneficial in treating respiratory disorders like asthma and chronic bronchitis. Its bark may taken either in a decoction or powdered form, as in the case of fevers .and colds.
A paste of the bark made with vinegar can be used for strengthening gums and relieving toothache.
A compress of the herb can be used for dressing wounds and ulcers. The powder of its bark can be dusted over putrid sores.
Bay berry is useful in several other diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery and chronic gonorrhoea. A decoction of the herb can he taken with cinnamon in chronic cough and piles.