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  • Why Bay Laurel is Perfect for Nightowls

    Bay laurel has only been on my radar as an essential oil for a couple years, but in that time it has quickly made it’s way to my top 10. It’s my go oil to for the morning portion of continuing education classes and business events, both of which have the nasty habit of starting at ungodly hours like 8 or 9am.

    bay leaves spilling out of jar

    A Little About Bay Laurel

    In case you’re wondering, yes. This is the same bay that you use in cooking. In case you’re now wondering, no. They don’t smell the same. In fact, they smell quite different to each other, although there is some underlying similarity. That’s because 1) the oil doesn’t have all of the components that are present in the leaf – they don’t all come over in the distillation process for one reason or another because chemistry and 2) the essential oil is extremely concentrated compared to a single leaf or even a whole spice jar full of leaves.

    Some boring but useful info: Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an evergreen shrub or tree that’s native to the Mediterranean area and is a member of the lauraceae family of flowering plants. Laurus nobilis has many common names, including bay, sweet bay, bay laurel, true laurel, greek laurel, laurel tree, or simply laurel. However, throughout the world, there are many other plants which also use the name bay or laurel as part of their common name. That’s why aromatherapists are so insistent on knowing and using the latin names. In this plant’s case, it’s the only way to ensure which bay or laurel was distilled to make your essential oil. And yes, unscrupulous and/or clueless distillers and distributers will use cheaper plants with the same common name and if you buy it, you get a useless oil.

    Uses For Bay Laurel

    Most of the uses for the essential oil are mental and emotional (see precautions for details).

    Try using Bay laurel in a diffuser or aromatherapy jewelry for:

    • Uplifting mood
    • Grounding
    • Clear mental confusion
    • Clarify thought processes
    • Immune stimulant
    • Reduce medicinal smell of tea tree, manuka, inula. etc. blends
    • Prevent or combat respiratory infections (it is both antibacterial and antiviral)

    Bay Laurel Blends

    Try blending with one or more of these oils:

    • Atlas cedarwood
    • Black pepper
    • Cardamom
    • Cinnamon
    • Citrus oils
    • Clove
    • Coriander
    • Cypress
    • Eucalyptus
    • Frankincense
    • Geranium
    • Ginger
    • Juniper
    • Lavender
    • Marjoram
    • Peppermint
    • Rosemary
    • Tea tree
    • Thyme
    • Ylangylang


    While the Romans liked to soak in water that contained bay leaves, I wouldn’t recommend using the essential oil in the bath. It could irritate the skin and mucus membranes, especially in conjunction with the hot water.

    Bay Laurel Trivia

    Mythology: The Romans held bay laurel as a symbol of peace, protection, and wisdom.

    The god of healing, Apollo, was associated with the bay leaf.

    Superstition: There’s an old superstition that says if you sleep with a bay leaf under your pillow that you’ll have pleasant and prophetic dreams.

    Fun (or not): I hate to disappoint you, but this is NOT the bay that flavors West Indian Bay Rum; that would be Pimenta racemosa. See what I mean about different bays… Different uses. Not all are as useful as Pimenta racemosa either.







2 Responsesso far.

  1. Very interesting. How can you be sure when you buy bay essential oil, that it’s the right kind? Could the essential oil be used in soy candles?

  2. The only way to make sure you get the right bay essential oil is to buy from a company that lists the latin name (Laurus nobilis) on their website AND the bottle.
    The candle makers that I know tell me that it’s very tricky using essential oils in candles. Synthetic fragrance oils are most often used for a reason. That said, it can be done, but my understanding is that the specific waxes and their proportions can be tricky to get right. Whether soy wax is amenable in any way to EOs, I just don’t know. Your best bet for specific info would be to talk to some candle makers, especially those who use EOs in their candles.