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Sea Myrtle (Baccharis halimifolia), The Overlooked Coastal Herb

Mar 17, 2021

We have SO much to learn about our native medicinal flora.  Everytime I research and practice with a native herb, I am floored by its amazing values and effectiveness and then surprised again by its almost forgotten use.  

 The common names of this plant besides sea myrtle- consumption weed, sea sage, and silver sage, speak to its traditional use for consumption and respiratory issues. Consumption was an old name given to the bacterial lung infection known as tuberculosis. Sea myrtle continues to be used as a medicinal plant today to treat respiratory infections and fevers, and much more.  However, it is a widely forgotten herb in the Southeast.   

The leafy tips make a strong bitter tea. It is not surprising that this herb is reported as both antiviral and antibacterial. It is a powerful immune stimulant similar to many of its other aster relatives.  A decoction of the leafy tips results in a nice yellowish-green tea.  

In Louisiana, the herbal tea is know as Manglier tea and is used as folk remedy to treat fevers, the cold, pneumonia, chills, and congestion.  A significant amount of research has been done on this herb that has shown that it helps fight inflammation and restores metabolic function.  The herb could be helpful for people battling with obesity or diabetes.  Overall, this a worthwhile herb to befriend and to practice with.  It is one of the 50 plants we cover in Botanical Medicine Movement.

Warning: Not recommended for pregnant or nursing women. 

Sources: Julia Morton, "Folk Remedies of the Lowcountry". Blog post by Natural Health Centers Online.  Boudreau, 2018, Groundsel bush (Baccharis halimifolia) extract promotes adipocyte differentiation in vitro and increases adiponectin expression in mature adipocytes.  


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