Bay Laurel was used to crown the head of winners in the ancient Pythian games of classical Greece, and the wreath of bay laurel was one of the identifying symbols of the god Apollo, in whose honour the games were held. According to ancient myth, the nymph Daphne metamorphosed herself into a bay laurel bush in order to avoid the amorous pursuits of Apollo, and daphne is the Greek word for laurel today.
Today, bay laurel is still used as a culinary herb and can make a wonderful sculptural garden plant. However, here at our lovely Jersey Lavender Farm, we also cultivate bay laurel to extract its wonderful essential oil.
Bay Laurel has a number of uses in both massage- and aromatherapy:
Relieving muscular and arthritic pain
Bay Laurel oil can be used to relieve the symptoms of muscular and arthritic discomfort. It is often combined with other essential oils, such as some of our wonderful lavender essential oil, and the diluted into a carrier oil. For example mix 1 to 2 drops of bay laurel oil and 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil into 10ml of olive or sweet almond oil and massage into the affected area.
Clearing congestion / expectorant
Bay Laurel can be very effective in relieving symptoms of congestion and encouraging the clearing of mucus and catarrh. A few drops added to an oil burner or a vaporiser, or simply inhaled from a handkerchief can help to encourage the opening of congested airways and promote a more productive cough.
Although not an aromatherapy use, bay laurel is quite simply a fantastic scent; it has a wonderful herbal and inviting fragrance. Add a few drops to an oil burner or vaporiser and you will immediately be transported to the scents of home cooking, log fires and Christmas Trees. So come New Year when your Christmas Tree is beginning to droop and has lost most of its scent, a little bay laurel oil will help you feel like it is fresh and new again (or use all the time if you are an artificial tree fan!).
PRECAUTION – BAY LAUREL OIL CAN CAUSE AN INCREASED LIKELIHOOD OF SKIN REACTION OR DERMATITIS, SO IF TO BE USED TOPICALLY IT MUST BE VERY HIGHLY DILUTED. AS WITH ALL ESSENTIAL OILS IT SHOULD NOT BE USED WHILST PREGNANT, BREASTFEEDING OR EPILEPTIC.