Essential Oil Spotlight: BAY LAUREL!
Would you like to be transported to a land where the world is lush, green, fresh and sweet? Well, a nice deep breath of bay laurel essential oil may be exactly what brings you there. An aroma unlike many others, this oil jumped right to the top of my favorites list when it was first presented to me. Laurus nobilis, commonly known as Laurel or Bay Laurel, is a truly magnificent ingredient to work with. The essential oil is obtained via steam distillation of the leaves of the plant, which grows naturally in Mediterranean regions.
Throughout time, bay laurel has been prized in ancient Greek & Roman cultures and seen as a symbol of heroism, of success, and nobility. Pythian Game winners would proudly wear a crown of laurel to emphasize their achievements. This tradition has been carried down to present times, where laurel leaves symbolize academic achievement and the French word “baccalaureate” actually translates to ‘laurel and berries”.
Bay laurel essential oil is most commonly known for its benefits to the immune & lymphatic systems. This herbaceous oil can be applied undiluted to lymph nodes, or brushed with a dry brush in order to promote elimination of metabolic waste… making it the star ingredient of our “Circulate” Body Scrub!
The broad spectrum antimicrobial, immune enhancing, and expectorating qualities make for a perfect oil to go in a diffuser blend or become part of a favorite shower routine. (Try taking a shower with a bottle of bay laurel, applying the oil to your lymph nodes and glands, and taking a long pause to breathe in the steam!) Jennifer Rhind points out that “Based on its high 1-8 cineole content (up to 45%), bay laurel may have beneficial effects on the respiratory system, including an expectorant (to expel mucus and phlegm from the lungs) effect. ” (Rhind 135) *Note that essential oils with a high content of 1-8 cineole should not be applied to children under the age of five.*
Bay laurel essential oil also has a specific affinity with the musculoskeletal system, and has been shown to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities. In 2003, “An animal study (Sayyah et al.) indicated that the leaf oil had analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions which were comparable with conventional analgesic and non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications” (Rhind 83). These qualities are what make bay laurel a perfect component within our Tension Release Oil (previously known as Bone & Joint Support), which can be used to find relief from arthritic / rheumatic pain, and additionally makes for a fantastic analgesic massage oil. Laurel carries a natural ability to relieve muscle and joint stiffness, strains, and rheumatic symptoms.
Given all the recent events going on, I have taken a moment to step back and appreciate bay laurel a bit more than usual. I included it in a respiratory salve with eucalyptus, and I myself took one of those refreshing laurel showers that I spoke of previously. With any virus or infection, it is important to keep the channels of elimination open. This includes the skin, where scrubbing and brushing can work wonders. Breaking a good sweat is another remedy that simply cannot be underestimated! Remember to always take time to appreciate things with all of your senses, to step back and admire the small miracles that we tend to overlook (like the alchemy that is essential oils, and the perfection of plants in general). Remember to drink your tea, your coffee… and a whole lot of water. Most importantly, remember to breathe, into the deepest part of your lungs, as often as you can throughout the day!
Thank you for taking the time to learn about the magic of laurel leaf essential oil! I would love to hear your questions & thoughts in the comments section.
Is there a specific oil that you would like to learn about? Get in touch and let us know via email, at firstname.lastname@example.org !
“Essential Oils, a Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice” Jennifer Peace Rhind
“Aromatherapeutic Blending” Jennifer Peace Rhind