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26 January 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Bay Laurel Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Bay laurel was once believed to contain 'magical' disease-curing properties.

Bay Laurel Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Not to be confused with oil from the West Indies bay tree, or Pimenta Racemosa, bay laurel oil comes from the Laurus nobilis, otherwise known as the bay laurel tree.

Bay laurel was a very important plant in both Greek and Roman culture, believed to contain magical properties which could ward off evil and disease. This ‘magic’ is now explainable by science, and bay laurel is still used for the same benefits that the Greeks and Romans considered it sacred for – namely its expectorant, antispasmodic, and insect repellent qualities.

Bay laurel essential oil can provide respiratory relief.

A known expectorant, bay laurel can help to shift excess phlegm and mucus lodged within the respiratory tract. This makes it a great agent against coughs and cold. Its antimicrobial properties are also effective in preventing the return of these pathogens. Interestingly, a study in 2020 of the effectiveness of Mediterranean herbs against symptoms of COVID-19 found that bay laurel can help to combat these symptoms. It is also anti-spasmodic, which makes it great at treating coughing spells and relaxing the muscles in the chest.

It can help manage menstrual pain.

Lots of people have found bay laurel useful for managing the pain of menstrual cramps. This is also likely due to its antispasmodic properties – the uterine muscles are relaxed by the oil and so pain is relieved. A few drops of bay laurel oil diluted with a carrier vegetable oil and rubbed on the abdomen may help to achieve this. The analgesic (pain-relieving) properties of bay laurel have been suggested to be useful against a number of ailments, however more research is needed in this area.

It can increase appetite.

One of bay laurel’s more unique qualities is that it can help to stimulate appetite. By increasing the secretion of digestive fluids, bay laurel can help to force a desire to eat in people whose appetites are affected by stress or a busy schedule. By promoting a regular schedule of meals, bay laurel can help improve digestive health and keep us nourished and energised. Many people have found that applying bay laurel topically to the stomach can help to trigger these effects.

It repels insects.

Bay laurel has also been used as a pesticide. The Greeks and Romans believed that bay laurel, through its magical powers, could protect them from plague – putting two and two together, we might guess that it was actually protecting them from the creatures carrying the pathogens. Spraying areas in your home that you want to keep bug free with a solution of bay laurel and water could help to keep bugs at bay, with no toxic effects to anyone else living in your household.

    Bay laurel’s wide array of uses has led many to wonder why it is often neglected in conversations about aromatherapy. However, even in the last couple of years there has been some exciting research, and it seems we are positioned to discover much more about this oil in the years to come.

    Shop our bay laurel essential oil here.

    Bay Laurel Essential Oil

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