Bay Leaves have been around since the bay leaf tree was discovered. According to ancient lore, we have the Greek nymph Daphne to thank for its amazing mystical, medicinal and culinary properties. It is believed that Daphne fled Apollo’s advances and before he was able to capture her, she transformed into the slender Bay Leaf Laurel that we know today.
It has long been referred to as the tree of wisdom and honour. From Ancient Greece and Rome where its laurels crowned the heads of winning Olympic Athletes, heroes and nobility such as Julius Caesar, the Bay Leaf is today a staple herb in most household pantries.
It should come as no surprise then, that The Mystics used Bay Leaves to increase intuition, psychic ability, good fortune and success. Keeping a little Bay Leaf plant at the front door is believed to ward off evil and prevent dark magic from entering. And, it is even said to prevent being struck by lightning. It is the preferred herb for mental clarity, protection, purification and good fortune. When you write a wish onto a dried Bay Leaf and leave in the ink it is said to release your wish once alight.
It’s culinary uses abound. Grinding dried leaves or even using them whole add flavour to numerous dishes such as curries, soups and stews. But there’s more to the herb than meets the tastebuds. Not only does it add flavour, but consuming it ground up in moderation in these meals might also assist the health of the intestinal tract by easing symptoms caused by irritable bowel syndrome or Celiac Disease.
Moreover, it has powerful antioxidant compounds with anti-carcinogenic properties and may even be used by some healers to help lower bad cholesterol and make hearts a little happier. It is, however, also known to be a strong diuretic and moderation is always cautioned.
Bay Leaves have incredibly powerful antibacterial properties. Burning dried leaves and gently inhaling a waft or two of its smoke, on occasion, is said to cleanse the air of bacteria and assist open the lungs for better breathing.
It’s waxy fresh leaves on the other hand, also hold cleansing antibacterial oils which are extracted to produce an aromatherapeutic essential oil said to alleviate and be beneficial for numerous respiratory conditions. Inhaling the essential oil vapour may assist in loosening and clearing phlegm. The essential oil should be mixed into an aqueous cream or carrier oil base and rubbed liberally on the chest. Alternatively, place about eight to 10 fresh Bay Leaves in a litre of boiling water to steam, inhaling the vapours in this manner. Remember to wash the face afterwards.