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Red Bay (Persea borbonia)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Red Bay
Persea borbonia

Wood – hard, heavy, close-grained, very strong, rather brittle[82, 229, 235]. It weighs 40lb per cubic foot[235]. The wood works well and is suitable for interior uses such as cabinets, but trees with large straight trunks are not sufficiently common to make the tree of commercial interest[229].

  • Medicinal Use

    Red bay was widely employed medicinally by the Seminole Indians who used it to treat a variety of complaints, but especially as an emetic and body cleanser[257]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

    The leaves are abortifacient, analgesic, antirheumatic, appetizer, emetic and febrifuge[257]. An infusion can be used to abort a foetus up to the age of four months[257]. An infusion is also used in treating fevers, headaches, diarrhoea, thirst, constipation, appetite loss and blocked urination[257]. A strong decoction is emetic and was used as a body purification when treating a wide range of complaints[257]. A decoction of the leaves is used externally as a wash on rheumatic joints and painful limbs[257].

  • Edible Use

    The fresh or dried leaves can be used as a flavouring in soups etc[229].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – we have no information for this species but suggest sowing the seed in a greenhouse in early spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first 2 winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and give some protection from winter cold for their first winter or two outdoors.
We have found no cultivation details for this species in Britain, though the tree is likely to require a well-drained light to medium soil in a sunny sheltered position[K]. It is only likely to be hardy in the mildest areas of the country[11].
South-eastern N. America – Virginia to Florida, west to Texas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.