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Scientific Name(s): Myrica cerifera L., Myrica rubra (Lour.) Siebold and Zucc.
Common Name(s): Bayberry, Candleberry, Chinese bayberry, Red bayberry, Tallow shrub, Wax myrtle, Wax myrtle plant, Waxberry, Yang-mei

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 22, 2022.

Clinical Overview


Bayberry has been evaluated for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and cardiovascular effects, and has demonstrated activity in cancer and diabetes, with most data derived from animal or in vitro studies. Because clinical data are lacking, bayberry cannot be recommended for any indication.


There is insufficient reliable evidence to determine a standardized dosage for bayberry. Bayberry juice 250 mL twice daily for 4 weeks was used in one small clinical trial of patients with features of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.


Contraindications have not been identified.


Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Case reports are lacking; however, inhibition of CYP3A4 and 2C9 has been reported. Bayberry may interact with antihypertensive agents.

Adverse Reactions

Allergy, including anaphylaxis, has been documented with Chinese bayberry fruit. Cross-sensitivity with other fruits has been reported.


No data.

Scientific Family

  • Myricaceae (bayberry)


Bayberry is a large evergreen shrub or small tree that grows up to 13 m in height and is widely distributed throughout the southern and eastern United States. Bayberry is known for its small, bluish-white berries. Chinese bayberry is native to China and other Asian countries. Plant parts used include the fruits, leaves, bark, and roots. Geographical location and differing methods of harvesting, processing, and storage result in constituent variations in the juice and extract.Khan 2009, Sun 2013, USDA 2019


Bayberry is best known for its berries, from which a wax is derived to make fragrant candles. In folk medicine, bayberry was consumed as a tea for its tonic and stimulant properties, and for treating diarrhea. Chinese traditional medicine texts record a history of bayberry use for more than 2,000 years. American Indian tribes used the leaves for anthelmintic purposes, the leaves and stems for treating fever, and the roots as a poultice. Bayberry is also reported to have been used as a charm medicine to exorcise spirits of the dead and to prevent diseases. The dried root bark is often used medicinally and as a dyeing/tanning agent.Chistokhodova 2002, Fu 2014, Khan 2009, Sun 2013


A number of compounds have been identified in bayberry. In the bark, tannins, triterpenes (myricadiol, taraxerol, and taraxerone), flavonoid glycosides, astringent resin, and gum have been described. The leaves and fruit contain anthocyanins (eg, cyanidin-3-O-glucoside) and phenolic acids (ferulic, caffeic, sinapic, and salicylic). Spectroscopic and chromatographic methods for identification of myricetin, myricitrin, quercetin, and gallic acid have been described. The kernel contains proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, tannins, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.Fu 2014, Kang 2012, Khan 2009, Li 2011, Sun 2013, Wang 2012, Xu 2014

Uses and Pharmacology

Antibacterial activity

In vitro data

Antibacterial activity of Chinese bayberry, including against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis, Vibrio cholerae, and other human pathogens, has been demonstrated in vitro.Li 2012

Anti-inflammatory effects

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro studies of M. rubra leaf extracts suggest flavonoids, specifically myricitrin, have anti-inflammatory properties, including via inhibition of nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase-2.Kim 2014, Sun 2013 M. rubra leaf extracts resulted in down-regulation of serum immunoglobulin E levels in a mouse allergy model, and inhibition of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in macrophage cells.Kim 2013, Shimosaki 2011 In a murine model, myricetin inhibited colitis and colorectal tumorigenesis, and decreased markers of inflammation (TNF-alpha, interleukin 1 [IL-1] beta, IL-6, nuclear factor kappa B, cyclooxygenase-2, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and cyclin D1).Zhang 2018

Clinical data

A small, 4-week, randomized crossover study in young adults (N=44) evaluated the effect of 250 mL of bayberry juice twice daily on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease outcomes. Improvements in antioxidant status, as well as decreases in markers of inflammation (eg, TNF, IL-8) were observed.Guo 2014

Antioxidant effects

Animal and in vitro data

In vitro and chemical studies of bayberry leaf, bark, and fruit have identified several chemical constituents with antioxidant capacity, including anthocyanin, phenolic, and flavonoid content, specifically myricetin and myricitrin.Fu 2014, Sun 2013 Protective effects against apoptosis and cell necrosis have been shown in endothelial, pancreatic, hepatic, colonic, and neuronal tissues.Liu 2014, Sun 2013, Sun 2013

Myricanol from M. rubra exerted protective effects on neural cells by increasing cell vitality and preserving cell morphology after exposure to the neurotoxin H2O2.Chen 2017

Antiviral activity

In vitro data

In vitro, PB233'OG isolated from the bark of M. rubra exhibited antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 2.Sun 2013


In vitro data

An in vitro study compared the antiproliferative effects of various sesquiterpenes from M. rubra essential oil alone and in combination with doxorubicin. The tested sesquiterpenes in combination with doxorubicin exerted synergistic effects in a sensitive line of lymphoblastic cancer and in sensitive and partly resistant ovarian cancer cell lines.Ambrož 2017 In both mouse and human melanoma cell lines, a water extract of M. rubra inhibited melanin synthesis and tyrosinase activity and exerted antioxidant activity.Juang 2019 Various compounds from M. cerifera bark exerted activity against leukemia, lung, and breast cancer cells. Additionally, inhibition of melanogenesis in melanoma cells was noted.Zhang 2016 Proanthocyanidins from Chinese bayberry inhibited angiogenesis and induced G1 cell cycle arrest in cisplatin-resistant ovarian cancer cells.Zhang 2018 Additionally, myricitrin-rich flavonoids from Chinese bayberry induced apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest in ovarian cancer cells.Zhang 2018

Cardiovascular effects

Animal and in vitro data

Antithrombotic activity has been described for the root bark of bayberry in vitro.Chistokhodova 2002 In a murine model of atherosclerosis, myricitrin from M. cerifera inhibited oxidized low-density lipoprotein endothelial apoptosis and attenuated plaque formation early in the disease process.Qin 2015 In an in vitro model involving vascular smooth muscle cells, myricitrin reduced the expression of vascular adhesion molecules, which are important in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.Yan 2017

Cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury

Animal data

In a murine model of ischemia/reperfusion injury in mice, anthocyanin extracts from M. rubra reduced cerebral infarction volume, damage from disease, and nitric oxide and malondialdehyde contents after 1 week of treatment.Cui 2018


Animal and in vitro data

Cyanidin-3-O-glucoside from Chinese bayberry fruit administered to mice with induced diabetes decreased blood glucose and improved glucose tolerance. A protective effect on pancreatic tissue was also observed in microscopic analysis.Sun 2012 Flavonoids from Chinese bayberry demonstrated alpha-glucosidase activity, suggesting a potential mechanism of action in diabetes.Yan 2016

Clinical data

No effects on plasma glucose, insulin parameters, or lipid profile were observed in a study conducted in young adults with features of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.Guo 2014

Mitochondrial damage

Animal and in vitro data

Protective effects of myricitrin and M. rubra extracts on hepatic and neuronal mitochondria have been described in in vitro and animal studies.Gou 2013, Wang 2014, Xu 2011


Animal data

In a murine model of obesity, proanthocyanidin extracts from M. rubra reduced weight and improved lipid parameters.Zhou 2017


Clinical trials are lacking to guide dosing of bayberry. Bayberry juice at a dosage of 250 mL twice daily for 4 weeks was used in one small clinical trial of patients with features of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.Guo 2014

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


Case reports are lacking; however, inhibition of CYP3A4 (midazolam-like) and CYP2C9 (tolbutamide-like) has been reported.Guo 2014

Antihypertensive agents: Herbs with hypertensive properties may diminish the antihypertensive effect of antihypertensive agents. Monitor therapy.Jalili 2013

Adverse Reactions

Allergy, including anaphylaxis, has been documented with Chinese bayberry fruit. Cross-sensitivity with other fruits has been reported.Wang 2012


The elevated tannin concentration of bayberry bark is carcinogenic in rats, which precludes general internal use of the plant bark in humans. The triterpene myricadiol has been shown to be spermatocidal, and antiandrogenic activity of the bark extract of M. rubra has also been reported.Khan 2009, Sun 2013

Index Terms

  • Morella cerifera (L.) Small.



This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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Ambrož M, Matoušková P, Skarka A, Zajdlová M, Žáková K, Skálová L. The effects of selected sesquiterpenes from Myrica rubra essential oil on the efficacy of doxorubicin in sensitive and resistant cancer cells lines. Molecules. 2017;22(6).28632185
Chen P, Lin X, Yang CH, et al. Study on chemical profile and neuroprotective activity of Myrica rubra leaf extract. Molecules. 2017;22(7).28737731
Chistokhodova N, Nguyen C, Calvino T, Kachirskaia I, Cunningham G, Howard Miles D. Antithrombin activity of medicinal plants from central Florida. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002;81(2):277-280.12065163
Cui HX, Chen JH, Li JW, Cheng FR, Yuan K. Protection of anthocyanin from Myrica rubra against cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury via modulation of the TLR4/NF-ԟB and MLRP3 pathways. Molecules. 2018;23(7).30036952
Fu Y, Qiao L, Cao Y, Zhou X, Liu Y, Ye X. Structural elucidation and antioxidant activities of proanthocyanidins from Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) leaves. PLoS One. 2014;9(5):e96162.24805126
Gou W, Xu L, Wang Y, et al. Mitochondrial protective effects of Myrica rubra extract against acetaminophen-induced toxicity. Am J Chin Med. 2013;41(5):1053-1064.24117068
Guo H, Zhong R, Liu Y, et al. Effects of bayberry juice on inflammatory and apoptotic markers in young adults with features of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Nutrition. 2014;30(2):198-203.24377455
Guo YJ, Zheng SL. Effect of myricetin on cytochrome P450 isoforms CYP1A2, CYP2C9 and CYP3A4 in rats. Pharmazie. 2014;69(4):306-310.24791597
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Juang LJ, Gao XY, Mai ST, Lee CH, Lee MC, Yao CL. Safety assessment, biological effects, and mechanisms of Myrica rubra fruit extract for anti-melanogenesis, anti-oxidation, and free radical scavenging abilities on melanoma cells. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2019;18(1):322-332.29460390
Kang W, Li Y, Xu Y, Jiang W, Tao Y. Characterization of aroma compounds in Chinese bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) by gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and olfactometry (GC-O). J Food Sci. 2012;77(10):C1030-C1035.23009608
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