Bay Laurel Essential Oil
Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis, also known as sweet bay, is an evergreen tree or small tree shrub that is part of the laurel family and is native to the Mediterranean. The bay laurel leaf is the "bay leaf" that is used in cooking.
According to Greek mythology, the nymph Daphne was transformed into a laurel tree by her father in order to escape the unwanted affections of the god Apollo. Since Apollo could not have her as his wife he took the bay laurel tree as his emblem. In ancient times it was believed that the bay laurel tree held magical powers, warding off evil witchcraft and disease.
Bay leaves contain antiseptic and astringent properties. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation. The oil has a strong, spicy, herbaceous, and sometimes medicinal scent that may differ depending on the region in which it is grown. For example, the oil produced from trees in Italy or France has the scent we associate with the bay leaves used in cooking. While the oil produced from North Africa varieties has a more pungent aroma reminiscent of eucalyptus.
The essential oil of the bay laurel is quite strong and must always be diluted in order to prevent skin irritation. When mixed with a carrier oil it can be used topically as a remedy for aching muscles and joints and sprains. In hair care, the oil is also considered to be a good tonic to stimulate hair growth and remove dandruff.
When it is used in aromatherapy, it emits an uplifting scent that promotes peace of mind, confidence and encourages creativity and inspiration.
Note: Bay Laurel Essential Oil and Bay Essential Oil (West Indian Bay--Pimenta racemosa) are sometimes confused with one another since their common names are similar. Although they do share some broad similarities, they are very different essential oils.
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