You are currently viewing The Materia Medica Of Bay Laurel

The Materia Medica Of Bay Laurel

Names & Personality: Bay leaf, Sweet Bay, Grecian Laurel, Laurel Nobilis, Gjethe dafine. A simple looking tree with leaves that’ll spice up your life.

Botanical Family: Laurels

Parts Used: Leaves: dried, crushed, or fresh all suffice

Preparations: Cooked in cuisines from the mediterranean to the Americas, Sweet bay is most commonly used for infusing dishes with an aromatic flavor. The oil can be used externally to nourish skin and used as the base for in a salve. .

Harvest In: Midsummer

Origin & Home: Indignious to the Mediterranean but today it is used all across the world. The mediterranean countries include Spain, France, Monaco, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco; Malta and Cyprus are island countries in the sea.

Indications: Diabetes, irritated and dehydrated skin, cancer, gas, dandruff, muscle and joint pain.

Cultural Use & Folklore: Mentioned in the Bible and Homer’s Odyssey, the bay leaf is most commonly known outside of cooking for its presence in wreaths presented to triumphant Olympic athletes. However, its history extends back into mythology when Daphne, a nymph was turned into a laurel tree to preserve her virginity after Apollo persistently pursued her. The Greeks still refer to the laurus nobilis as Daphne.

Medicinal Uses: Used historically as a medicine to treat colds/flu, headaches and migraines, congestion, bronchitis, arthritis, inflammation and muscle pain. It has also been known to relieve nausea and settle many stomach and intestinal issues. Bay leaf is a great source of Vitamin C, Vitamin A, folic acid, as well as antioxidants giving it anti-cancer properties.

Our relationship: I use bay leaves in my beans, my soups, my greens and a handful of other dishes, it must be them New Orleans roots. However, when it comes to smudging, I choose to use a single bay leaf to clear the energy and put prosperity and abundance in the air. Though I have native ancestry, this is a more respectful way for non-Native Americans to honor our Native community; rather than burning highly endangered herbs and woods, like sage and palo santo, that are sacred to the original people of the Americas.


Warning/Disclaimer: Consult with your doctor and an herbal professional before using herbs internally. It is important that you innerstand your body, the herb, and its effects on your body before using any herb. Pregnant & Nursing Mothers take precautions, not considered safe to ingest. Do not take for an extended time, this is a short term treatment herb.



Leave a Reply