9 Ways Bay Laurel Essential Oil Helps Mind, Body, Emotions
Mar 05, 2019
Your first encounter with bay laurel might be through soups, stews, and Italian food. You may have also seen it on the heads of popular poets and philosophers of the Middle Ages...
...But apart from being a food flavoring and a symbol of prestige, bay laurel offers so much more. The herb, which is renowned for its intoxicating fragrance, provides amazing therapeutic benefits.
The bay laurel tree, botanically known as Laurus nobilis, is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean region. It has been around for centuries, considered to be highly sacred by the Greeks because of its medicinal properties. Ancient priests and priestesses were known to burn the leaves of bay laurel to enhance their mind and intuitive abilities.
Today, modern science is starting to support the traditional uses of bay laurel in its essential oil form.
The leaves and branchlets of the bay laurel tree go through steam distillation to extract a more potent version of the plant. The oil is a pale-yellow to olive-green liquid with a strong but sweet, camphoraceous fragrance.
Here are some of its well-known benefits:
1) Respiratory Relief
In aromatherapy, bay laurel essential oil is used frequently as an inhalant for the respiratory system. It is highly recommended to those suffering from cough, colds and flu.
It is an effective mucolytic and expectorant that helps clear up excess phlegm along breathing tracts—relieving nasal congestion and promoting unobstructed breathing.
Bay laurel’s antibacterial properties can kill pathogens that may cause further harm to the respiratory system. This means it can even prevent the onset of respiratory illnesses. Combined with its anti-spasmodic qualities, it also works to stop painful coughing spells.
2) Remedy for Pain
According to studies, bay laurel essential oil offers an analgesic and anti-inflammatory effect that is comparable to morphine and piroxicam.
It can help alleviate pain associated with muscular and joint problems due to gout, arthritis, or rheumatism. It can also be used for headaches, migraines, or your aching muscles after an intense workout.
3) Assist Wound Healing
Studies have shown that bay laurel’s antimicrobial activities work against different types of bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
This makes it a great addition to your first aid kit. It can be useful for cleaning wounds, cuts, or healing bruises, in that it helps prevent infection and speed up the healing process.
4) Regulate Menstruation
Based on traditional beliefs, bay laurel is a natural cure to amenorrhea or the absence of menstruation and irregular periods. In the past, the leaves were seeped into hot water and served as tea.
Some scientific theories suggest that bay laurel contains emmenagogue properties, which means it can stimulate menstruation and regulate the flow.
What’s more, given its antispasmodic nature, it can also help ease those painful menstrual cramps and relieve associated symptoms like nausea. Consider massaging the diluted bay laurel oil onto your abdominal area.
5) Support Digestion
Traditionally, bay laurel has been used to support the gastrointestinal system. It may be related to its ability to promote urination, which helps release toxins from the body.
It contains enzymes that soothe an upset stomach, reduce bloating, and eliminate gas. Overall, bay laurel can enhance digestion and improve nutrient absorption.
6) Promote Hair Growth
Bay laurel oil is an effective hair tonic. Being a spicy oil, it can improve blood circulation on the scalp and stimulate hair growth.
On the other hand, its potent anti-fungal properties help combat dandruff, which is known to lead to hair shedding. Given its antiseptic nature, bay laurel can get rid of microbes that disrupt the healthy pH balance of the scalp.
Because bay laurel oil is also an astringent, it can tighten the grip of hair follicles and roots, preventing further hair loss. For beautiful hair, dilute bay laurel oil and apply onto the scalp and hair, rinsing it off after a few minutes.
7) Potent Insect Repellent
Bay laurel contains chemical compounds myrcene and eugenol that have the ability to repel nuisance insects like ants, wasps, flies, fleas, and cockroaches.
Compared to commercial insecticide, it’s safer for use in homes with children and pets. Simply add a few drops of oil to your diffuser or include it in a mist to spray onto surfaces and cracks.
8) Fight Stress and Anxiety
Bay laurel is an age-old remedy for anxiety. Even in the ancient times, adding leaves to dishes was believed to be effective in calming the mind.
This has remained true for bay laurel essential oil. Chemical compounds present in the oil, such as linalool and cineol, have been found to reduce anxiety and lower the levels of stress hormone.
9) Increase Mindfulness and Focus
The same compounds above in number 8 are also proven to increase mindfulness and focus. This may explain why many cultures burn bay leaves during sacred rituals and meditation, and inhale the smoke.
Nowadays, you can inhale bay laurel in a safer way using a diffuser, portable mist, or blend created for direct use underneath the nose.
How to Use Bay Laurel Essential Oil
Bay laurel essential oil can be applied topically as a compress, in the bath, through direct inhalation, or used with a diffuser. Once diluted into a healing oil base, you can massage it onto your sore muscles, neck and shoulders, joints, plus chest and heart center.
You can also add bay laurel essential oil to a spray bottle diluted with 6 oz water and 2 oz of food grade alcohol (vodka, white brandy, grain alcohol) for an uplifting room spray.
For a powerful immune and healing support blend, combine bay laurel with the following essential oils:
- cajeput: highly antibacterial; antiviral; immune strengthening support
- myrtle: soften anxiety & insomnia; protective immune support, soothe respiratory
- pine needle: antiviral; strengthening, refreshing; ease aches, clear congestion
- rosemary: aid memory & concentration; brighten mood; uplift mental fatigue
- eucalyptus: clear congestion; ease headache & overall malaise; vitalize; assist lungs
- cypress: fight infections, relax muscles; aid respiratory, ease anxiety; anti-rheumatic
- jasmine absolute: improve sleep; lower anxiety; brain performance; cheer; uplift fatigue
- clove bud: clear respiratory/sinus; soothe aches; antiviral/bacterial/fungal; ease nausea
- juniper berry: sore throat, respiratory, muscle & joint aches, fatigue, insomnia, digestion
Bay laurel leaves can be a healthy addition to your kitchen in all types of stews and seafood recipes to help support greater health for yourself and family. Using the essential oil gives you a simple, effective way to glean greater benefits and be able to target clear mind function, body health, and a positive emotional state.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treat. This information is based on research and knowledge by the author, and the ideas are not intended as substitute for medical advice. As with any products it is suggested that you check with your medical practitioner prior to use. The author disclaims any liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any products mentioned herein.