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Bay: contains compounds called parthenolides, which help relieve migraines ...

Common Names: Bay, Sweet Bay, Bay Laurel

Botanical Name: Laurus nobilis

Family: Lauraceae

Plant Type: Hardy evergreen tree.

Parts Used: Leaves

Flowering: March to June

The bay laurel tree originated in Asia Minor, and spread to the Mediterranean and other countries with suitable climates.

Description: Bay leaves are flat, pointed oval, about 3 inches long, dark green and glossy. Both leaves and wood are strongly aromatic. In ideal conditions, the shrub will grow to 25 feet tall and up to 6 feet across. The stems are tough and woody and have a gray bark. The flowers, which appear in late spring at the base of the leaf stem, are small, yellow, and rather insignificant.

Cultivation: Bay leaf is not grown in Northern regions, as the plants do not thrive in cold climates. In the northern hemisphere it is best grown as a houseplant, for it is only hardy to zone 8. In autumn, take mature (5 - 6 inch) side shoots cut through the swelling where the shoot joins the stem. Plant under cover for 18 months, then plant out.

In warmer climates, take 4-6 inch long cuttings in spring when the new growth has hardened a little. The cuttings may not take readily, despite your best efforts. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone and pot in a good rooting medium. Once the plants are growing well, spray with water occasionally to keep the leaves glossy. If kept closely clipped, bay will continue to do well in its container.

When transplanting outdoors, choose a sunny location. The ground should be well prepared with compost and bone meal. Bay prefers moderately rich, well-drained soil, with a pH of 6.2, in full sun to part shade.

Harvesting: Harvest leaves any time.

Culinary Uses: Use in Spanish, Creole, and French dishes. Dried bay leaves can be used to flavor a variety of soups and stews and they also add a nice decorative touch to potpourri blends. Whole bay leaves are added at the beginning of recipes and removed, and discarded prior to serving.

Bay Magick

Protection. Purification. Healing. Psychic Powers. Strength

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Sun

Element: Fire

Dieties: Aesculapius, Apollo, Ceres, Faunus, Eros

Use bay leaves in clairvoyance and wisdom brews.

Burn or scatter bay leaves during exorcism rituals.

Place bay leaves under your pillow to induce prophetic dreams.

Mix bay leaves with sandalwood and burn to remove curses and evil spells.

A protection and purification herb extrordinaire - wear as an amulet to ward off negativity and evil.

Place in your windows to protect against lightning, and hang up in your house to prevent poltergeists from working any mischief in your house.

Herbal Healing With Bay

Medicinal Actions: Abortifacient, analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, antifungal, antineuralgic, antioxidant, antipruritic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hepatic, hypotensor, insect repellent, laxative, nervine, sedative, stimulant (digestion), stomachic, tonic

Medicinal Uses: Bay leaves have many properties that make them useful for treating high blood sugar, migraine headaches, gastric ulcers and bacterial and fungal infections. Bay leaf has been shown to help the body process insulin more efficiently, which leads to lower blood sugar levels. It contains compounds called parthenolides, which have proven useful in the treatment of migraines. Bay Leaf contains eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Bay leaf has also been used to treat rheumatism, amenorrhea, and colic.

Bay Oil, or Oil of Bays (Oleum Lauri) is used in liniments for bruising and sprains. Rub bay oil on arthritic joints to relieve pain and swelling.

Other Uses: Bay leaves add a strong, spicy fragrance to potpourri. To prevent silverfish damage to books or clothing, place a few leaves in drawers or on bookcases. A few leaves in the pantry shelves will keep weevils away.

Body Care with Bay

  • To halt a migraine, steam-iron several bay leaves and rest with the warmed leaves on your forehead for about 45 minutes.
  • To relieve aching limbs and joints, add 1 litre (4 cups) bay decoction into a warm bath and soak in it for 20 minutes.

Decoction: simmer 2 cupfuls of dried bay leaves in 2 litres (8 cups) water for 15 minutes. Strain

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness is free to access and use.
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