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25 January 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Bay Leaf Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Bay leaf oil extracted from Pimenta racemosa is often called West Indies bay oil.

Bay Leaf Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

The benefits of bay leaf essential oil can be a little confusing as different bay leaf oils derive the oil from different plants, which means that two oils with the same name can have different properties.

Oil extracted from the Laurus Nobilis, sometimes known as bay laurel oil, can also be known as bay leaf. However, another oil also goes by the name bay leaf oil. This oil is extracted from the West Indies bay tree, Pimenta Racemosa, related to but still distinctly different from the Mediterranean bay laurel tree. Oil extracted from the Pimenta Racemosa is sometimes call West Indies bay oil, or bay rum oil. This is the oil that we will be discussing today.

Bay leaf essential oil is present in bay rum.

A famous product of the West Indies that became the world’s most popular aftershave in the mid twentieth century, bay rum was created after sailors in the West Indies noticed that rubbing bay leaves on themselves could help to mask the personal odour that came from long days and weeks spent on deck. Its distinctive, spicy scent is still present in male-targeted haircare and skincare products, and it was a key ingredient in medicine cabinets for decades.

It’s a natural aftershave.

It’s easy to see why bay leaf has been such a popular scent for so long. The scent of bay leaf oil not only warm and spicy – it’s also strong and long-lasting. This makes it a great natural aftershave or perfume. Try mixing a few drops of bay leaf oil with a carrier oil and applying in place of regular aftershave.

It can clean and strengthen hair.

Bay leaf oil has several key properties that make it a great choice for hair and beard care. Firstly, it’s a stimulant, which means that it boosts blood circulation to the scalp. Many people have found that this encourages hair growth and helps to make hair and beards thicker and healthier. It also has anti-fungal properties, which can help it to eliminate common scalp conditions like dandruff. Lastly, it’s antimicrobial, which makes it an effective agent against the microbes that disrupt the pH balance of the scalp.

Bay leaf oil should always be diluted before being applied to the scalp – you could try adding a few drops to your regular shampoo or conditioner.

It can be good for the skin.

Bay leaf oil has astringent properties which allow it to tighten the skin and inhibit the production of oily sebum. This can leave skin looking younger, brighter, and less oily. Its antimicrobial properties also help it to clear bacteria from pores and leave skin clean and healthy.

    Despite the historic confusion, oil from the West Indies bay tree has its own unique set of properties and benefits that distinguish it from bay laurel oil and make it a useful, interesting oil in its own right. It’s hardly a new discovery – its cosmetic uses can be traced back at least over a century – but the timeless warmth of its scent ensures that it will never go out of style.

    Shop our bay leaf essential oil here.

    Bay Leaf Essential Oil

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