Laurel - laurus
evergreen tree which, in its native Mediterranean
region, reaches a height of some 20m - although
elsewhere the Bay tends to be more widely grown
as a shrub or ornamental pot plant, which bears
black berries. The bark is smooth and blackish on
a young tree, older trees having paler cracks. The
leathery, lance shaped leaves are dark green, with
a yellow green underside and wavy edges, a dark
red vein at the base runs into the stem attaching
it to the branch. The leaves are aromatic when crushed.
The Bay Laurel, or Sweet Bay, is a popular culinary
herb throughout Europe, and has been associated
with fame, honour, and victory for centuries - worn
by Emperors, heroes and poets throughout many of
these. The mailcoaches of 1815, which carried news
of the victory at Waterloo, were decorated with
Before Neros death, all the bay laurels in
Rome were said to have died as a mark of respect.
Bay is a powerful antiseptic herb, and makes an
excellent tonic for your whole system, especially
in cold-weather, or post fever, bronchitis, and
the likes : Use one small Bay leaf to a coffee cup
of boiling water, add a couple of dried orange pieces,
cover, and leave to infuse for about 15 mins. Sweeten
with a little honey to taste.
Bay Laurel is sacred to Apollo and his son Aesculapius
- the God of Medicine.
Folk lore holds the bay tree as a protection against
lightning, storms, and snakebites. It was also believed
to keep away the plague if planted by the house
Place a bay leaf under the pillow for pleasant dreams.
Essential oil of Bay should not be used during pregnancy.
Use in moderation - possible narcotic properties