Family • Myricaceae - Myrica rubra S & Z - CHINESE STRAWBERY - Yang mei

Scientific names

Myrica nagi Thunb.
Myrica rubra Lour.
Morella rubra (Lour.) Siebold et Zucc.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Zhu rong, Shan yang mei, Zhu hong.
JAPANESE: Yamamomo.

Common names

Cham-poi (Tag.)
Cham-pu (Chin.)
Box myrtle (Engl.)
Bay berry (Engl.)
Chinese arbutus (Engl.)
Chinese strawberry (Engl.)
Yang mei (Chin.)


Cham-poi is an evergreen tree growing up to 20 meters high. Bark is brownish-gray, rough with deep vertical wrinkles. Leaves are crowded towards the ends of branchlets, obovate to elliptic, 5 to 10 centimeters long, entire or toothed, with a pale or rust-colored lower surface,minutely gland-dotted and aromatic. Flowers are minute and without perianth. Male flowers, in catkins, are 7 to 25 millimeters long, with 3 to 4 orbicular bracts. Stamens are 6 to 8. Female flowers are in axillary, erect spikes, 12 to 25 millimeters long, with 2 filiform stigmas. Fruit is a drupe, sessile, scaly, spherical, 12 to 18 millimeters in diameter, with a knobby and brilliant red surface, with a red flesh, the stone wrinkled and pitted.


– Found in the Zambales Province of Luzon, in Palawan and other higher mountain areas.
– Occasional cultivation in Manila.
– Occurs in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) Antitumor Principle Constituents of Myrica rubra Var. acuminata / LingpLing Yang et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2003, 51 (10), pp 2974-2979 / DOI: 10.1021/jf026188i

(2) Analgesic activity of myricetin isolated from Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc. leaves / Yan Tong et al / Archives of Pharmacal Research • Volume 32, Number 4 / April, 2009 • DOI 10.1007/s12272-009-1408-6

(3) Myrica rubra Extracts Protect the Liver from CCl4-Induced Damage / Lizhi Xu et al / eCAM, doi:10.1093/ecam/nep196

(4) Anthocyanins, Flavonols, and Free Radical Scavenging Activity of Chinese Bayberry (Myrica rubra) Extracts and Their Color Properties and Stability / Jinsong Bao et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2005, 53 (6), pp 2327-2332 / DOI: 10.1021/jf048312z

(5) Studies of cuticle drugs from natural sources. III. Inhibitory effect of Myrica rubra on melanin biosynthesis / Matsuda H et al / Biol Pharm Bull. 1995 Aug;18(8):1148-50 /

(6) Protective Effects of the Bark of Myrica rubra SIEB. et ZUCC. on Experimental Liver Injuries / Ohta Setsuko et al / Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan • 112(4) pp.244-252 19920425

(7) Prodelphinidin B-2 3,3′-di-O-gallate from Myrica rubra inhibits proliferation of A549 carcinoma cells via blocking cell cycle progression and inducing apoptosis / Kuo PL, Hsu YL, Lin TC, Lin CC / Eur J Pharmacol. 2004 Oct 6;501(1-3):41-8.

(8) Study on antioxidant activity of Myrica Rubra leaves, branches and barks extract / Fu Yan-ling, Zhang Ying, Wu Xiao-qin / Science and Technology of Food Industry, 2010-03

(9) Anti-allergic effect of the flavonoid myricitrin from Myrica rubra leaf extracts in vitro and in vivo / Shunsuke Shimosaki, Yoko Tsurunaga et al / Natural Product Research, Volume 25, Issue 4, 2011, Pages 374 – 380 / DOI: 10.1080/14786411003774320

(10) Biological Activities of Extracts from Chinese Bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.): A Review. / Sun C, Huang H, Xu C, Li X, Chen K. / Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2013 Apr 19

(11) Myrica rubra Fruit Drink Sub-Chronic Toxicity and Hepatoprotective Effect in Rats / Badraddin Mohammed Al-Hadiya, Mohamed Fahad AlAjmi* and Kamal Eldin Hussein El Tahir / Adv Pharmacoepidem Drug Safety 2013, 2:1

(12) Polyphenol oxidase from bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) and its role in anthocyanin degradation / Fang, Zhongxiang, Zhang, Min, Sun, Yunfei and Sun, Jingcai (2007) Polyphenol oxidase from bayberry (Myrica rubra Sieb. et Zucc.) and its role in anthocyanin degradation. Food Chemistry, 103 2: 268-273.

– Bark analysis yielded: tannic matter, 27.3; soluble non-tanning substances, 7.9%; fiber and insoluble matter, 52.3%; moisture, 12.5%.
– Bark also shown to contain tannin, saccharin matter and salts. Study isolated myricitrin.
– Major anthocyanin isolated from a study was cyanidin 3-glucoside (95%). Other pigments are pelargonidin 3-glucoside and delphinidin 3-glucoside. Anthocyanins are responsible for most red, blue and purple colors of flowers, fruits and other plant tissues.
– Fruit is a rich source of cyanidin-3-glucoside, accounting for 85% of the anthocyanins in the fruit.

Bark is considered aromatic and astringent.
Fruit is considered carminative.

Parts utilized
Bark. roots, fruit.

– Fruits are eaten raw or cooked; also, preserved.
– Fruits may be dried, canned, juiced, soaked in baijiu (Chinese liquor) or fermented into alcoholic beverages.

– Decoction of the bark is used for asthma, diarrhea associated with phthisis, fevers, lung afflictions, typhoid, dysentery and for diuresis.
– Oil from the bark used as ear drops for earache.
– Bark used for scrofulous and aphthous affections, chronic bronchitis, gonorrhea and atony of the digestive tract.
– Powdered bark used as snuff in catarrh with headache; combined with ginger as a stimulant in cholera.
– With cinnamon, used for chronic cough, fever and piles.
– Mixed with vinegar, used to strengthen the gums.
– Bark is chewed for toothaches.
– Powder or lotion from bark is applied to putrid sores.
– Pessaries are made from the bark to promote menstruation.
– Myrtle wax, made from boiling the fruit, is used as a healing application for ulcers.
– In China, salted form or any preserved form of the plant used as pectoral and calming the stomach.
– Fruit is carminative, and used for digestive disturbances, including diarrhea and dysentery.
– Kernel of seeds used for sweating of the feet.
– Bark and roots used as decoction for treatment of wounds, ulcers, scaly skin afflictions and arsenic poisoning.
In Taiwan, used for stomach disorders and diarrhea.

– Dye: Dye prepared from the bark.

Study Findings
• Prodelphinidin / Anti-Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2: Study isolated prodelphinidin B-2 3,3′-di-O-gallate (PB233’OG) which was shown to exhibit anti-HSV-2 effects in various models of action.
• Cytotoxicity / Anti-Tumor Compounds: Study isolated epigallocatechin 3-O-gallate and prodelphinidin a-2,3′-O-gallate as anti-tumor principle components. Both compounds inhibited the growth of HeLa cells. Results suggest the compounds can induce apoptosis in HeLa cells, and their cytotoxic effect may be through activation of caspase-3.
• Myricetin / Analgesic / Cox Inhibitor / Antiplatelet Activity: Study isolated myricetin from the leaves of M rubra. Test results showed it possessed potent analgesic activity with peripheral rather than opioid system analgesia. It also showed to be a potent COX-1 inhibitor with antiplatelet activity.
• Hepatoprotedtive / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Damage: Study of fruit extract was shown to have hepatoprotective activity in carbon-tetrachloride induced liver damage in mice, possibly through regulation of mitochondrial VDAC (voltage-dependent anion channels), one of the most important proteins in the mitochondrion outer membrane.
• Hepatoprotective: Study of methanol extract of bark of MR show hepatoprotective effects on CCL4 induced liver injuries in rats and significant protective effects against cholestasis induced by ANIT.
• Flavonoids / Free Radical Scavenging: Studies of extracts from four Chinese bayberry varieties isolated one dominant anthocyanin, three major flavonols, myricetin and quercetin-3-O-rutinoside. The black varieties showed higher radical scavenging than the pink and yellow varieties attributed to the levels of anthocyanins, flavonoids and total phenolics.
• Tyrosinase Inhibiting Activity / Skin Whitening Potential: Ethanolic extract of dried leaves and bark of M rubra showed tyrosinase inhibiting activity, inhibition of the production of melanin from dopachrome by autoxidation, and SOD-like activity. Results suggest the leaves or bark of M rubra might be used as a whitening agent for the skin.
• Anti-Androgenic Activity: Aqueous ethanol extract of the bark of M rubra showed in vitro testosterone 5a-reductase inhibitory activity and in vivo anti-androgenic activity. Three main active principles were identified: myricanone, myricanol, and myricetin.
• Myricetin / Anti-Inflammatory / Anti-Allergic: Study on different in vivo models showed myricetin from MR leaves possesses potent anti-inflammatory function on acute and chronic inflammation via a mechanism that involves antioxidant activity. In a mouse allergy model, serum, there was down regulation of serum IgE levels.
• Prodelphinidin / Anti-Cancer: Prodelphinidin B-2 3, 3′-di-O-gallate (PB233’OG) isolated from the bark of Myrica rubra showed antiproliferative activity with inhibition of proliferation of A549 carcinoma cells by blocking cell cycle progression and induction of apoptosis.
• Antioxidant: Study showed MR leaves, branches and bark extracts showed stronger ability to scavenge free radicals compared to control. The branches showed the strongest ability to scavenge DPPH, followed by leaves and barks.
• Flavonoids / Anti-Inflammatory: Study investigated the anti-inflammatory effects of myricitrin, a flavonoid rich in the leaf of MR. M. rubra leaf extracts inhibited pro-inflammatory TBF-a production in a macrophage cell line.
• Hepatoprotective / Hypocholesterolemic / Anti-Anemic: Study evaluated Myrica rubra fruit juice in CCl4-inducted hepatotoxicity in rats. Results showed a stimulant effect on RCS and hemoglobin, possibly from stimulation of erythropoietin. There was also decrease in total and LDL cholesterol. The hepatoprotective effect may be from constituents acting as free radical scavengers. Study suggests the Myrica fruit drink to be anti-anemic, hypocholesterolmemic, and hepatoprotective.