The laurel tree, also known as the bay laurel and the sweet bay, is a species of evergreen trees native to Mediterranean countries like Greece and some parts of France. Having the scientific name, Laurus nobilis, the laurel leaves are well-known in history because of its use as wreathes for athletes, poets, philosophers, and emperors of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. It is also known by the names Moon Laurel and Daphne Leaf.
The tree is closely linked to the Temple of Delphi and the Greek god, Apollo, because of its use by ancient priestesses in their religious rituals. The evergreen leaves of the tree produce a strong aroma when crushed and when steam-distilled, these are turned into the greenish-yellow Laurel Essential Oil. It has been recorded in medicinal records of Greece, Rome and the Middle Ages to have healing properties for various ailments including gout, fever, asthma, and migraines.
Historically, many parts of the laurel tree have been used from cooking to medicine and for adornment. The symbolic use of its leaves for emperors, poets, athletes, artists, and other figures is because of its association with wisdom and the god, Apollo. Many Mediterranean and European dishes use bay leaves for stocks, marinades, sauces, and pates because of the added taste they give to food.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil has been traditionally used for aromatherapy to promote a healthy lymphatic system. It can also help ease muscle pain, energize the body and provide a fresh scent to your home when used as an air freshener. The main components of Laurel Essential Oil include cineol, a-pinene, eugenol, geraniol, linalool, phellandrene, sesquiterpene and sesquiterpenic alcohol.
Laurel Essential Oil Benefits
Here are some advantages of using Laurel Essential Oil:
- Promotes a healthy lymphatic system
- Eases the effects of colds and the flu
- Provides comfort against inflammation for asthma
- Soothes muscle pain and sore muscles
- Inspires self-esteem and creativity
- Enhances focus for arduous tasks
- Influences positive dreams during sleep
- Creates a good ambiance for meditation
- Energizes the body and lessens lethargy
- Relieves stress and prevents migraines
Laurel Essential Oil Uses
- Laurel Essential Oil for Aromatherapy. It has a great fresh, fruity and herbaceous smell ideal for meditation or to increase focus while studying or doing creative work. Its strong aroma energizes the mind especially when inhaled through a salt pipe or diffuser.
- Laurel Essential Oil as an Air Freshener. As an organic air freshening spray, 10 drops of Bay Laurel Essential Oil can be added to five drops of rosemary oil in a bottle of water to enhance cleanliness and get rid of strong odors.
- Laurel Essential Oil for Massages. Laurel Essential Oil is ideal for muscle and joint pains when diffused with jojoba oil for kneading the neck and other sore areas. The strong aroma can also provide an enhanced feeling to refresh the body and mind.
- Laurel Essential Oil for Bathing. For baths, adding in five drops of Bay Laurel Essential Oil with 2 cups of aromatic bath salts in warm water can provide a rejuvenating experience, especially after a long day of stress and focus.
- Laurel Essential Oil as Expectorant. Clogged nasal passages due to colds and the flu can be treated by inhaling Laurel Essential Oil when it is used with a vaporizer. The sweet and floral properties of the oil are great for clearing phlegm and mucus.
- Laurel Essential Oil to Increase Appetite. Loss of appetite from stress and other factors can be avoided by using Bay Laurel Essential Oil. Its natural properties enhance the body’s system to consume food and remedy this condition.
- Laurel Essential Oil to Prevent Dandruff. Adding two drops of Laurel Essential Oil to your shampoo can help prevent the buildup of dandruff on your scalp.
Laurel Essential Oil Side Effects
- Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women. Consult a qualified health practitioner before using Laurel Essential Oil if you are pregnant or nursing.
- Some elements of the oil can cause allergies for children younger than 6 years old. This is because of its high 1,8-cineole content that can cause breathing problems for young children.
- Skin Irritation. Bay Laurel Essential Oil may cause dermal irritation, dermatitis or skin sensitization and must always be diluted before being used in aromatherapy, in any application onto the skin, or other uses.
How to Use Laurel Essential Oil
There are many ways to maximize the benefits of Laurel Essential Oil. Here are a few:
- By using a small portion of Bay Laurel Essential Oil in a diffuser (maximum 3%), you can create a great environment for focusing on tasks or for meditation. It also improves your mood energy because of its fresh scent. It also helps as an expectorant for those with a cold, cough or the flu.
- Massaging the neck with Laurel Essential Oil and jojoba oil can be a great remedy for stiff neck. By applying it to the chest, it also makes a great way to clear the lungs and respiratory system of any inflammation and discomfort, especially for those with asthma.
- Adding a few drops of Bay Laurel Essential Oil and a blend of rosemary and peppermint to your warm bathwater makes for an invigorating experience. The aromas and the effect of the oil on sore muscles are also used in spas and saunas for the same reason.
How to Make Laurel Essential Oil
The main process of making Bay Laurel Essential Oil involves steam distillation. This involves the use of scalding temperatures to separate the oil from the fresh leaves of the laurel tree from its other components. Trees are usually at least 5 years old before its leaves are gathered. Salt or seawater is also often added to the still during this process.
The highest quality Bay Laurel Essential Oils are from Corsica. The tree also grows in numerous areas like southern and western France, Italy, Greece, other parts of Europe, Turkey, Syria, and China. It thrives in warm coastal regions and on the slopes of tropical and subtropical mountains because of the high humidity and constant moisture in those areas.
Where to Buy Laurel Essential Oil
Bay Laurel Essential Oil is a popular type of essential oil because of its numerous healthy properties as well as the prevalence of bay laurel forests in many regions of the world. You are likely to find it in your local alternative medicine store or in many online essential oils providers like Mountain Rose Herbs, Floracopeia, Plant Therapy, and Eden Botanicals.
More Information on Laurel Essential Oil
- Bay Laurel Essential Oil or Laurel Essential Oil should not be confused with the California Bay Laurel (Umbellularia californica). It is known to produce migraines because of its strong odors.
- The eugenol content of the oil can irritate the mucus membrane and skin and must be used in very low concentrations. 3 percent is advised for topical application.