Bay Laurel – the Oil for Courage and Strength

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Just to take a drop of Bay Laurel oil on your fingertip and smell it is quite an experience. You are right away taken into a spicy fresh energy which – within seconds – enlivens your spirit from deep inside, as if a whiff of fragrant air breathes through you and imbibes the whole system with its radiance.

Bay Laurel is an ancient healer with a very special energetic outfit. I personally have this oil always with me on traveling, especially in the car, because it pushes away stress and fatigue during long driving hours. I like to say: Laurel gives courage in cases of challenge, whether they are physical, mental, emotional….And it heightens intuition and clear insights, focus and general mental awareness. In this sense Laurel is always the “victorious” one who builds you up with inner strength and gives you the necessary endurance needed to stand strong in the “special hours” of daily life.

The beautiful evergreen bush-like tree grows on well-drained soils in areas of moderate humid climate and low-medium high altitude. Native of the Mediterranean regions and widespread in the Tertiary era, the Laurel tree originally covered for millions of years vast spaces of the old continent.

As a highly adaptive specie Laurel – due to its vigorous properties – was able to survive even during harsh fluctuations of climate and habitat. Relics of the ancient forest flora still persist in regions like Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Syria and Madeira.

Bay Laurel differs a lot in its appearance and can reach a height even between 10-18 meters. But if cultivated, it is often kept smaller by pruning. Because of the uni-sexual (dioecious) properties of Laurel clusters of small pale yellow-green flowers in the spring develop on different male and female trees. And they prefer sunny exposure. In autumn its small purple-black fruits ripen on the female plants as blank berries in protecting foliage of glossy green fragrant leaves of medium size.

Laurel is able to deter pests even from neighboring plants. Due to its inborn vitality and resistance it withstands all sorts of common plant diseases. Bay Laurel is also a natural insect-repellent. Already this feature shows the protective character of this amazing plant.

The soap making industry benefits from the essential oil gained from the berries or leaves with berries. It is utilized as a fragrant component in detergents, toiletries, cosmetics and perfumes. The dried leaves of Laurel are well-known to enrich the kitchen as a popular culinary herb. The aromatic leaves with their noble herbal tinge raise the flavor of any possible dish.

The noble plant

The symbolic importance of Laurel brings us face to face with a plant highly revered in the context of the European cultural history. In the high period of the Greek civilization Bay Laurel figured as a plant which incorporated the promise of extraordinary human virtues. Owing to its widely praised mythological origin within the Apollonian mysteries the plant represented the access to the highest social status for human beings. Noble attributes of outstanding achievements were interwoven with Bay Laurel glorified in the shape of a garland or “Laurel wreath” round the heads of those who had won the famous prize during the Greek Pythian Games.

Also, its religious importance is expressed in its role as a ceremonial vehicle during the performance of the divination rites of Ancient Greece. None the less, also did the Romans honor high levels of poetic expression in the form of the “poeta laure-atus” ascribing to the Laurel-prize the qualities of highest merits and victory. Laurel also had a firm place within the Roman medicinal and culinary tradition.

Within the biblical context Laurel as an emblem often mirrors fame and prosperity whereas Christian tradition emphasizes the role of Laurel as a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. In Chinese folk-tradition the “moon-Laurel” stands for a tree which never can be felled.

The folk-medicinal and therapeutic side

Bay Laurel yields the maximum oil content in the season of early and mid-summer. The greenish-yellow-transparent essence with its spicy herbal odour is obtained by steam-distillation from the dried leaves and branches.  Diluted in carrier oil it plays a special role within the phyto-and aroma-therapeutical context. In form of herbal extracts Bay Laurel traditionally is used as a potent anti-dandruff herbal rinse. The liquid extraction of the leaves may be poured on to the head and can be applied for massaging the scalp. Here a few other virtues of Laurel:

  • Laurel alleviates ailments such as bronchitis, cough, flu, tonsillitis and viral infections. It helps well against fever and is known for relieving many different chest complaints.
  • Medicinal folk traditions swear on special applications of Bay Laurel leaves utilized as a concoction which was given to the patient for tonic effects on the bladder and stomach in cases of colic, indigestion, dyspepsia, flatulence, loss of appetite and other afflictions.
  • Bay Laurel is appreciated as a remedy against problems especially of the upper digestive system provoking the secretion of digestive juices and easing absorption of heavy food.
  • The oil or extract also help against arthritic pains and support a beginning menstruation.
  • Bay Laurel essential oil is also a good treatment for rheumatisms, arthritis, polyarthritis, skin infections, vaginal thrush, acne and psoriasis.

Bay Laurel oil blends well with Juniper, Clary Sage, Lavender, Rosemary, Myrtle, Cardamom, Frankincense, Cypress, Citrus- and Eucalyptus oils – and all kinds of spice oils. The high presence of eucalyptol (1.8-cineol) gives Bay Laurel its beautiful freshness. Other compounds, i.e. eugenol and methyl eugenol, add to the energy of the oil and make it appear spicy-fresh and warming. Also compounds such as geraniol, terpinol, linalool, pinene etc.  are present to remarkable degrees. Large amounts of tannins and resins are found in the leaves. Even the green-colored semi-solid fatty oil, once extracted from the fruits, contains measurable quantities of essential oil.

According to research Laurel oil is efficient as a

  • Powerful broad spectrum antibacterial
  • Powerful antiviral
  • Remarkable fungicide
  • Powerful pain reliever
  • Regulatory of the nervous system
  • Mucolytic and powerful expectorant
  • Anticoagulant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Coronarodilator

Some recipes

Low blood Pressure

  • Rosemary borneone
  • Spike Lavender
  • Clove bud
  • Peppermint
  • Bay Laurel

1 ml of each in 50 ml hazelnut oil or Jojoba oil for massage

Influenza, viral and respiratory infections in adults

  • Ravintsara: 5 ml
  • Bay Laurel: 2 ml
  • Eucalyptus radiata: 2 ml
  • Thyme thujanol: 1 ml

8-10 drops on the chest and back  4 to 5 times per day – (NARD)

How to treat rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the most common chronic polyarthritis cause. It is characterized by an often bilateral and symmetrical joint involvement, relapsing to deformation and destruction of joints. Diagnosis can be difficult at the beginning of its development, because of the absence of specific clinical signs, the fickle nature of biological signs, and the delay of onset of radiological joint erosions.

  • Thyme satureoides 1 ml
  • Basil tropical 1 ml
  • Bay Laurel 1 ml
  • Rockrose (Cistus) 1 ml
  • Immortelle 1 ml

Blend to be applied topically on the painful area 4-5 times daily as needed Remedy of Dominique Baudoux, pharmacist aromatologist from Belgium

Lumbago

  • Bay Laurel : 1 drop
  • Peppermint: 1 drop
  • Eucalyptus citriodora: 2 drops

Apply locally 3 – 5 times per day – (Dominique Baudoux)

Influenza, viral and respiratory infections in adults

  • Ravintsara: 5 ml
  • Bay Laurel: 2 ml
  • Eucalyptus radiata: 2 ml
  • Thyme thuyanol : 1 ml

8 to 10 drops on chest and back 4 to 5 times a day

Breathe healthy with Bay Laurel

Not to forget: “Psyche” means “breath” in Greek language. We always have to link healthy breathing and good feeling. It is obvious that the bio-chemical element of eucalyptol in medicinal plants is not there coincidentally, but must have been “designed” by cosmic intelligence for purpose. For me personally I cannot but make the connection with “Prana” – the vital, intelligent life force in the Universe. So, for the “Yogis” of modern time, a good “pranayama” can be quite an experience on the “upper level” when we associate a drop of Bay Laurel on our fingertips to our exercise… 

Some medical research studies

Diabetes

A clinical study presented 2005, at the  Symposium of Aromatherapy and Medicinal Plants in Grasse by Dr. A.M. Giraud-Robert the efficacy of essential oils in the treatment of Hepatitis B and C, specifically anti-fibrotic and anti-viral effects. Essential oils chosen for their antiviral activity were Ravintsara, Bay Laurel, Niaouli, and Thyme thuyanol-4  type. (http://newpacificinstituteofaromatherapy.com/eo-effectiv-for-hepatits-b-and-c-new-clinical-study/)

Effective against tumour cells

R-(+)-limonene present in laurel oil fights against tumour cells. A research paper published in 2007 states that L. nobilis oil has antitumor potency and works best at a concentration of 75.45 µg/ml on amelanotic melanoma C32 / skin cancer and at a concentration of 78.24 µg /ml on renal cell adenocarcinoma ACHN/ cancer of the kidney.

Another paper published in the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology in 1996 claims that limonene has chemotherapeutic activity against the mammary, pancreatic, and prostatic tumours. Also, they are effective non-toxic dietary agents. (Dr Kamakshi Mahale   cf. https://uncategory.com/bay-laurel-oil/)

Reduces inflammation

1, 8 cineole,  R-(+)-limonene, and 1-(S)-α-pinene present in laurel oil have anti-inflammatory potential. It prevents the signs of inflammation like loss of function or difficulty in moving, swelling, redness, pain, and high temperature. The anti-inflammatory effects of laurel essential oil are comparable to the standard NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like piroxicam. Another study published in 2004 says that 1,8 cineole prevents colitis (inflammation in the bowel).

The study concludes the dietary use of 1,8 cineole as a flavouring agent prevents the inflammation of the GIT (Gastro-Intestinal Tract) and ulceration. (Dr Kamakshi Mahale   cf. https://uncategory.com/bay-laurel-oil/)

Image of green bay tree leaves (laurel / laurus nobilis)

To conclude: Bay Laurel is one of the many essential oils with such a rich bio-chemical profile that it is hard to not see numerous areas in our physiology which would withstand its curative impact.  Already standing in front of a Bay Laurel tree and rubbing a leaf between your fingers and breathing in the fragrance from them stimulates vigour, vitality, freshness, happiness. It is for sure oil which makes you “go”, makes you even “leap” inside, and bestows a spirit of being able to withstand everything. Even looking at the leaves there is a kind of signature reading possible: they are evergreen, strong, nearly leather-like, and full of a well-shaped, solid, character. According to Ayurveda an oil like Bay Laurel in its spicy freshness can very well balance an excess of Kapha dosha, the heavy body type imbalances – means for example: pull you out of lethargy, depression, lack of motivation, and the like.

What a gift again of the “Pranic intelligence” to bestow us humans with such a beautiful plant and essential oil!

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