In ancient Greek and Roman culture, bay laurel was a symbol of highest status and of victory. And we don’t have to wonder a lot why; we only have to look at its various preparations and medicinal uses.
Composition and properties
Bay laurel contains a lot of aglycones with high antioxidant potential and an essential oil in which there can be found many substances with therapeutic properties (eucalyptol, mathyleugenol, alpha-terminil acetate, linalool, sabinene, eugenol, alpha-pinene, camphor etc.), but it is also a good source of some vitamins (especially vitamin A: 6185 IU/100 g – 124%DV; vitamin B6: 1.7 mg/100 g – 87%DV; vitamin C: 46.5 mg/100 g – 77%DV; and folates: 180 mcg/100 g – 45%DV) and minerals (especially manganese: 8.2 mg/100 g – 408%DV; iron: 43 mg/100 g – 239%DV; and calcium: 834 mg/100 g – 83%DV), all of which account for its various medicinal and culinary uses.
Preparation, administration and medicinal uses
- Culinary preparations (especially Dalmatian and French cuisines)
- Uses: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disorders, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, gastric ulcer, degenerative disorders.
- Bay laurel essential oil (inhalations)
- Uses: General weakness, mental fatigue, depression, anxiety, nervousness.
- Bay laurel oil
- Internal uses (Take 1 teaspoon of oil after a meal.): colds, laryngitis
- External uses: Neuralgia, muscle spasms, sore muscles, poor peripheral blood circulation, arthritis, rheumatism, dermic infections, wounds, cuts, burns.
- Bay laurel soap
- Uses: dry and prematurely aged skin, spots, wrinkles, acne, itches, rashes, eczema, psoriasis, viral and fungal infections (including scalp herpes and athlete’s foot).
- Weak infusion (Add 10 leaves in a cup of hot boiled water and let steep for 15 minutes. Use as mouthwash and throatwash.)
- Uses: Hoarsness, toothache, gingival infections.
- Strong infusion (Add 20-30 leaves in a cup of hot boiled water and let steep for 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup, when needed.)
- Uses: Crapulence, intoxications, poisoning.
- Decoction (Add 2-3 leaves in 300 ml of water and boil for 5 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups a day.)
- Uses: Nervousness, slow digestion, stomach pain
- Macerate (Add 4 bay laurel leaves and an orange peel in 1 l of water and let the mixture macerate for 4 hours. Drink throughout the day.)
- Uses: Headache, flu, bronchitis, fever.
Bay laurel may act as an allergen, in which case it will be the cause of symptoms such as skin eczema on the hands, feet or face, dermatitis, and breathing difficulties.
Excessive use of bay laurel can lead to heightened senses, jitters, insomnia, nausea or diarrhea.
Bay laurel is contraindicated during pregnancy (though a moderate culinary use will do no harm), because it can act as an abortifacient.