Bay berry is an aromatic tree with leaves 7.5 cm long, pale to rust colored and alternate. The tree grows up to 10 meters high and has hairy stalks with minute flowers growing solitary or on a common drooping stalk. It has wrinkled seeds.
The herb contains tannins, triterpenes (including myricadiol), flavonoid glycosides, resin and gum.
Botanical Name: Myrica nagi
Indian Name: Kaiphala
Below are some of the medicinal properties of bay berry:
- Bay berry is an effective remedy in fevers and colds. A hot decoction of it can be taken in the treatment of fevers, 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 a valuable herb in treating respiratory disorders like asthma and chronic bronchitis. Its bark may be taken either in a decoction or powdered form, as in the case of fevers and colds.
- It is also used to treat inflammation and infection of the gastro intestinal tract.
- Bay berry taken internally can be used to treat post partum hemorrhage. It can also be used as a douche for excessive menstrual bleeding and leucorrhea, or white discharge.
- It is useful in several diseases like diarrhea, dysentery and chronic gonorrhea. A decoction for the herb can be taken with cinnamon in chronic cough and piles.
- A paste of the bark made with vinegar can be used for strengthening gums and relieving toothache.
- A compress of bay berry can be used for dressing wounds and ulcers. The powder of its bark can be dusted over putrid sores.