1.1 What is a red bayberry?
Red bayberry (botanical name: Myrica rubra, also known as Chinese bayberry, Japanese bayberry, yumberry, waxberry, or Chinese strawberry Chinese Pinyin: Yang Mei, Simplified Chinese: 杨梅), is a species of small to medium-sized, evergreen, flowering and fruit bearing tree in genus Myrica in the Myricaceae family. The flowers are red or purple. The edible fruit is spherical, small in size between 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter with dark purple-red color. The plant can grow up to 15 m tall. Native to eastern Asia (mostly in south-central China) and now also cultivated in many other Asian countries (Japan, South Korea, India, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines), habitats of red bayberry include hillsides, valley and forest (usually from between 125 to 1,500 meters in elevation). Characteristics of red bayberry include tolerance for shade, cold and drought.
Other simplified Chinese names for red bayberry include: 圣生梅, 白蒂梅, 树梅.
1.2 How does red bayberry taste?
Red bayberry has a succulent, soft, meaty texture with a flavor that is tart, sweet and vibrant.
1.3 How is red bayberry used in traditional Chinese medicine?
The fruits and root of the red bayberry are considered to have sour, sweet, bitter, warm and nontoxic properties and to be associated with the lung and stomach meridians. It is used as secretory, antidipticum, digestion aid in traditional Chinese medicine (CTM) and widely adopted in treating different diseases and health problems, such as sunstroke.
1.4 How do I tell if my red bayberry are ripe?
Red bayberries are typically deep red in colour when ripe and about the size of a lychee. Good and ripe red bayberries are soft but firmed, those that are too soft are overripe and may have gone bad.
1.5 How to preserve red bayberry for a longer time?
Red bayberry has a very short shelf life though it can be preserved for a longer time by canning, drying, or pickling.
2. Uses, Health Benefits of Red Bayberry & Medical Formulas
2.1 Boost Immune System
Red bayberry is rich in vitamine C which is an important nutrient that boosts our body’s immune system, improves the body’s absorption of iron, helps metabolize protein and regenerates antioxidants in our body. Persistent lack of vitamin C in diet can lead to a condition called scurvy, symptoms of which include easy bruising, easy bleeding and joint and muscle pains (patient.info 2017). Thus, high dietary intakes of vitamine C is essential in boosting our immune system and hold off various possible diseases.
Red bayberries are an extraordinary source of plant-based flavonol compound, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs), which serve as a set of powerful antioxidants in our human body. OPCs can effectively protect skin cells against UV-induced oxidative stress which is considered to promote melanogenesis and serious skin damage. Studies also found out that OPCs have potential effects of photoprotection on human melanocytes by improving cell viability, scavenging intracellular ROS, adjusting cell cycle and inhibiting protein expression of melanogenic enzymes (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 2009). Therefore, eating red bayberries may help our skin stay young.
2.3 Cardiovascular Diseases
In addition, oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPCs) which are known to be 20 times more powerful than Vitamin C and 50 times more powerful than Vitamin E, may defend our body against cardiovascular diseases as well as degenerative diseases.
[CTM Formula] Ash of red bayberries is taken orally with rice soup to treat enduring diarrhea.
2.5 Relieve Headache
[CTM Formula] Dried red bayberries are powdered and snorted to relieve headache.
2.6 Skin Health
[CTM Formula] A decoction of red bayberry root can be used externally to treat malignant sores.
3. Contraindication, Side-effects & Cautions
Eating excessive red bayberries can cause negative consequences (phlegm).
Avoid eating green onion when taking medicine that contains red bayberries.
The Ben Cao Medical Book (also known as Compendium of Materia Medica or Ben Cao Gang Mu; Chinese: 本草纲目) is the most famous and comprehensive medical book ever written in the history of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Compiled and written by Li Shi-zhen (1518~1593), a medical expert of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) over 27 years.
The Ben Cao Medical Book records and describes all the plants, animals, minerals, and other objects that were believed to have medicinal properties in TCM. The book reflects the pharmaceutical achievements and developments of East Asia before the 16th century. On the basis of his predecessors’ achievements in the pharmacological studies, Li contributed further by supplementing and rectifying many past mistakes and misconception in relate to nature of many medicinal substances and causes of various illnesses. Charles Darwin, originator of the biological theory of evolution, regards the book as the “ancient Chinese encyclopedia”.
Disclaimer: The Ben Cao Medical Book is translated by ChinaAbout.net. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of CTM knowledge and information from the research and experience from the author Li Shi-zhen. Kindly be alert that the CTM knowledge and ancient formulas given above are likely NOT medically proven and may contain misconceptions.
List of reference
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov 2009 Oligomeric proanthocyanidins from grape seeds effectively inhibit ultraviolet-induced melanogenesis of human melanocytes in vitro. [online] link: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19148543
patient.info 2017 Vitamin C Deficiency [online] link: https://patient.info/health/vitamin-c-deficiency-leaflet