Latin Name: Laurus Nobilis

Family: Lauraceae

Genus: Laurus

Common Names: bay laurel, sweet bay, bay, true laurel, Grecian laurel, laurel tree or simply laurel

Origin: native to the Mediterranean region

Distribution Area: It is widely cultivated in Europe, America and Arabian countries.

Botanical Information: Laurel is an evergreen tree or a high shrub, reaching 10-15 m in height, with a brown smooth bark and bare shoots. The crown is leafy, mostly pyramidal. Leaves are alternate, short-petioled, entire, glabrous, simple, 6-20 cm long and 2-4 cm wide, with a peculiar spicy odor; the base of the leaf is oblong, lanceolate or elliptical, dark green on top, light on the underside. Inflorescences are umbellate, numerous, collected mainly at the end of branches. Flowers are small, yellowish, same-sex. Blue stone fruits are of elliptical or ovate shape, about 1.5-2 cm long, with a large stone, ripen in October-November.


All parts of the plant contain essential oil, tannins, resins, bitter substances, which give them a typical fragrant smell and a pleasantly bitter taste. The content of essential oil in leaves reaches 3-5.5%, in fruits - up to 1%. In addition, in fruits, there are 25-45% of fatty oil, starch, phytosterol, laurane hydrocarbon, mucus, sugar.

The composition of essential oil of bay include pinene, cineole, myrcene, limonene, camphor, linalool, various organic acids and other components. Fatty oil consists of glycerin lauric and palmitic acids. Alkaloids actinodarphnin and launobin were isolated from the bark and wood of the bay, cultivated in Japan.


Bay has a lot of advantages. It improves appetite, normalizes digestion. Its leaves secrete phytoncides, it is believed that these substances are fatal for a tubercle bacillus. With the help of leaves you can treat severe inflammation of the mouth, cure a cold, sore throat.

Unique essential oil, which is easily obtained from the laurel, has many useful properties. It is an effective antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. This makes the oil a universal drug used for medical purposes.

The laurel also contains terpenoids, which allows the use of drugs from the bay with improper metabolism, rheumatism. Certain positive results of the use of laurel were seen in the treatment of the circulatory system and in diseases of the stomach.

Laurel has a large spectrum of action:

  • diuretic
  • expectorant
  • antiviral
  • antiseptic

Preparations with laurel leaf have long been used effectively in folk medicine in many developed countries of the world.

A small bay leaf perfectly calms the nervous system, relieves stress, relieves insomnia, activates protective functions of the body, helps to cope with depression, overwork. For this purposes, aromatherapy is carried out. The vapor of this oil is an antiseptic, which cleans the air in the room.

You can wear a medallion with a few drops of bay oil  for the purpose of special protection against infection, and you can also put a bay leaf in your pocket. In order to reduce joint inflammation, increase blood flow, relieve pain, it is recommended to rub essential oil into the skin. When having the diseases of the respiratory tract and acute respiratory viral infection, you can rub the oil into your back and chest.

Regular addition of bay leaves to food improves kidney function. Also the simplest procedure, such as chopping leaves and chewing them  will strengthen the protective properties of the body, prevent colds.

Medications with bay bark are used to maintain the functions of the bile excretory organs, for the treatment for cholecystitis. The fragrance of the bay will allow you to get rid of pests that live at home (moths, flies, cockroaches).


To strengthen immunity, you need to take the following decoction. It is necessary to take a handful of dry bay leaves and pour them with 500 ml of hot boiling water, boil for 5 minutes on low heat, then let it steep for 4 hours. Take a tablespoon several times a day. This decoction is recommended for rinsing hair. This will prevent various diseases of the scalp, fragility, help with increased dandruff.

When having inflammation of the skin, bay leaves are moistened in warm water and applied to the skin. They are fixed with a bandage and held for at least one hour.

When coughing, the leaves, moistened in warm water, are used as mustard plasters. They are put between the shoulder blades or on the chest.

In case of serious sleep disorders, the bay leaf has also found its application. Before going to sleep, the bay leaves should be placed into the water and then put them to the forehead and neck, tie with a handkerchief and leave for an hour.

You can prepare a miracle ointment with the addition of bay leaves. It will help with such skin diseases as dermatitis, eczema, scabies, with joint diseases. It can be rubbed into the skin when having strong bruises and sprains. Ointment is done this way: bay leaf powder, ground juniper needles and butter are thoroughly mixed and applied to affected areas of the body. The number of components is taken in the ratio 6: 1: 12.


  • acne or eczema

Pour 400 ml of vodka over 3 tbsp. of grinded bay leaves. Put it to the dark place for 14 days and shake the container periodically. When ready, strain the tincture and lubricate the affected areas of the skin.

  • back and joint pain

Take 17 large bay leaves, pour 500 ml of vodka over them and put the tincture in a dark place for 3 days, shaking it daily. When ready, make a compress.

  • rheumatism and osteochondrosis, headaches

Mix 1 part of the crushed bay leaves and 5 parts of 40% alcohol, put the mixture in a dark place for a day, then strain. Take 1 tbsp. three times a day before meals with headaches. The tincture can be used as embrocation for rheumatism and osteochondrosis as well.

  • atherosclerosis and oncological diseases

Pour 1 liter of vodka over 2 cups of grinded bay leaves. Leave the tincture in a dark place for 2 weeks, shaking it regularly. When ready strain and take 1 tbsp. three times a day for 30 minutes before meals.


Bay leaf consumption is forbidden in the following situations:

  • pregnancy
  • children's age
  • lactation period
  • kidney failure
  • decreased blood clotting
  • amyloid dystrophy

Like any other spice, the bay leaves can not only benefit, but also cause harm to the body. The use of a large quantity of bay leaves often leads to constipation. In addition, people with an individual intolerance can have signs of food allergy, even just from presence of it in small amount in food.


Major Interaction with Medications for pain (Narcotic drugs):

The body falls apart some medications for pain to get out of them. Bay might lessen the speed of the process the body throws off some medications for pain such as meperidine (Demerol), hydrocodone, morphine, OxyContin, and others. In this situation bay might strengthen the efficacy and undesirable effects of listed Narcotic drugs.

Major Interaction with Sedative medications (CNS depressants):

Bay as well as sedative medications can cause tiredness and somnolence. Concurrent using of the bay and sedative medications such as clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others can be the reason of a strong feeling of sleepiness. Before using, consult a doctor.

“Place bay leaves between the bottom sheet and the mattress of your bed. It’ll attract luck to you while you’re sleeping, and also promote a good night’s rest”

Bay Leaf Wishing Spells

*This article is for informational purposes only. We suggest consulting with a physician before using these or any other herbal supplements.