Bay Laurel Essential Oil
Anecdotal Folklore of the Benefits of Bay Leaf
Tracing the Bay Laurel species, Laurel Nobilis L., into the 1600’s, Bay Leaf was used for warding off all negative witchcraft and evil. Laurel wreaths were traditionally worn by esteemed leaders to keep them safe from evil and harm. Warriors and athletes were valued and protected with Bay Laurel.
As a ceremonial sign of their deep love and promise of fidelity, couples were known to split a bay leaf using half for each lover to keep in remembrance of their devotion and plans to reunite.
Bay Laurel continued to be used throughout centuries, believed to keep out unwanted visitors, their footprints were swept from the doorstep, then scrubbed with bay leaves to prevent their return. In modern times, these efforts to prevent “unwanted guests” like insects are successfully thwarted with the use of bay leaves and their essential oils kept in storage containers with foods like grains and rice.
The essential oils extracted fro Laurus nobilis, bay leaf, are studied in a broth micro-dilution process to determine the antibacterial activities against 5 particular bacterial strains. The essential oils extracted from Laurus nobilis L., bay leaf, are introduced to the following strains to examine the effects:
- Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923
- Staphylococcus epidermis CIP 444
- Pseudomonas aeruginso ATCC 27853
- Escherichia Coli ATCC 35218
- Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212
The study results show promising antibacterial capabilities that have useful medical and nutritional applications.(1)
History of the Medicinal Use of Bay Leaf
Bay Leaf is a diocecious culinary and medicinal herb used for it’s healing and pain reducing properties. Leaves taken from this evergreen tree or shrub were first found in the southern Mediterranean area. These trees reach 60 feet or more in height when growing in their preferred habitat, which is rocky and in well-drained soil.
Dioscorides, a physician ad botanist of 1st Century AD., Greece, first used Bay Leaf to fortify the liver and kidneys. The cleansing and fortification properties of bay leaf worked to improve the health of the stomach and bladder. As a natural pain reliever, treatment as a salve for bee sting pain, skin disorders, as well as uterine problems, but not for internal use.
The leaves and berries of the Laurel nobilis L. plant became very popular for use in treating disorders of the digestive tract, to stimulate the appetite, and improve digestion.
Methods for applying bay leaf were also developed in bath soaks, essential massaging oils, and in creams or slaves like the “soldiers’ ointment” for skin ailments, aches, pain, arthritic pain, and even to promote the onset of menstruation.
2) Chevallier, A. (1996). Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. London: Dorling Kindersley Limited. Print.
3) Crellin, J. K. and Philpott, J. (1997). A Reference Guide to Medicinal Plants: Herbal Medicine Past and Present. Duke University Press.