Herbal and Essential Oils Education

Magickal and Medicinal Herbs: Bay Laurel 101

Bay Leaves

Laurus nobilis

Did anyone else ever see the whole bay leaves in their mother’s spice cabinet and feel totally justified in all of your backyard potions? Just me? Bay was my first legitimate introduction to using whole herbs. Sure, I had heard the call of nature and concocted any number of “natural remedies” but I had never really known up until that moment that those things were actually real. Most of my initial cooking experience was baking which included lots of chocolate chips and a handful of powdered spices. Maybe if I had paid more attention during dinnertime I might have started my education earlier. At any rate, every time I add a bay leaf to something I think fondly of how far it inspired me to come in my herbal studies and reminds me that there are still plenty of plants out there to meet.

Dried bay leaves can be used whole or crumbled into cooking. They are an important ingredient in many French, Moroccan, and Turkish dishes as well as joining with parsley and thyme to become the blend Bouquet Garni. This subtle yet flavorful blend enhances soups, stews, and sauces. Bay leaves can also be steeped as a tea.

Besides their culinary uses, bay leaves have an interesting mythical history dating back to the Greeks and Romans. It is said that the nymph Daphne was a fiercely independent, rather wild creature who was transformed by her father, the river god Ladonas, into the bay tree to avoid the persistent and unwanted advances of Apollo. Apollo was so astounded by the tree’s beauty that he claimed the laurel as his own and dedicated it to reward the highest achievements of Greek civilization.

Bay leaves not only protected people from thunderstorms and evil spirits but also helped the priestesses at the Temple of Delphi with divining the future. Today bay leaves are still a relevant and easy to use spell component. The simplest spell is to write your wish on a dried bay leaf and then burn it to make your wish come true. Bay is considered a dual-fold herb and can remove evil from a dwelling as well as bless it with positive energy.

Medicinal Properties:

  • antibacterial
  • anti-fungal
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiseptic
  • anti-parasitic
  • astringent
  • carminative
  • diaphoretic
  • digestive aid
  • diuretic
  • emetic
  • emmenagogue
  • expectorant
  • lowers blood sugar levels
  • narcotic
  • nervine
  • contains parthenolides

Holistic Uses:

  • may treat migraines
  • may help with diabetes by utilizing insulin more efficiently
  • amenorrhea
  • hysteria
  • reduction of anxiety and stress
  • digestive aid
  • relieves gas
  • head and chest colds (poultice)
  • arthritis and joint pain(massage oil)
  • muscle aches and pain (massage oil)
  • bruises, itching, and other mild skin irritations (salve)
  • aids with vaginal infections (added to bath)
  • aids with perineal healing after childbirth (added to bath)
  • aids with urinary tract infections (added to bath)
  • may help with dandruff and hair loss (hair rinse)

In large doses, bay will increase blood pressure, pulse, and possibly produce vomiting. Berries are potentially abortifacient. Whole leaves should not be consumed as they do not break down well and can cause choking.

Culinary Uses:

  • Use whole leaves to flavor soups, stews, roasts, sauces and other dishes that simmer for long periods.
  • Bay leaves should be added at the beginning of cooking as they impart the best flavor when simmered for a long time.
  • Add to a bouquet garni.

Household Uses:

  • Bay leaf is very aromatic and holds it shape and fragrance well when dried making it a nice addition to many potpourris, wreaths, and other herbal crafts. It blends well in aromatherapy combination with bergamot, cedar, lemon, rosemary, and patchouli.
  • It can also be added to sachets to keep moths out of your closets. A bay leaf dropped in a bag of flour may also help keep bugs out of that.

Magickal Associations

Deities: Adonis, Apollo, Aesculapius, Ceres, Cerridwen, Cupid, Daphne, Eros, Gaia, Faunus, Ra, and Vishnu

Magickal Correspondences

Zodiac: Leo
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Gender: Masculine
Crystals: Amethyst, Lapis Lazuli, Citrine

Magickal Properties

  • Strong healing power
  • Protection
  • Psychic work
  • Success
  • Strength
  • Repels Negativity
  • Wishes
  • Love
  • Attracts Romance
  • Creativity
  • Banishing
  • House and Business Blessings
  • Protects from Lightning

Simple Spells:

  • Sprinkle around a place of business to draw customers.
  • Add oil to green candles for money spells.
  • Cook bay leaves in a soup for protection.
  • Add to any spell or potion designed to enhance psychic ability. Bay is a great addition to a psychic dream pillow.
  • Burn bay leaves in a sick room to purify it.
  • Wear wreaths of bay leaves during healing ceremonies.
  • Bay leaf is extremely useful as a fumigant during banishing or exorcism rites.
  • Mix with sandlewood to break curses.
  • Carry to protect against misfortune and to brink luck in athletic competitions.
  • Write your wish on a dried bay leaf and then burn it to make your wish come true.
  • May be used to decorate altars to Apollo.
  • May be used as decoration during sun festivals.

To purchase dried bay leaves, visit the APOTHECARY.

Increase your herbal education by Digging Deeper into other herbs and essential oils.

Disclaimer: Please note that I am a not medical professional and everything written here is a product of my own research. Don’t take any advice given here over that of a trained doctor. If you ingest any herbs, always make sure that you’re 100% sure that they’re safe. If you’re pregnant or giving to a child, always consult a doctor before ingesting herbs and plant you aren’t familiar with. Magickal instruction and spells are for personal entertainment purposes only. The desired result/outcome cannot be guaranteed as a result of using any magickal item, and should not be used as a replacement for medical/professional assistance.

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