Just like the other aromatic herbs that we have covered in our herb explorations so far, Bay (Laurus nobilis) not only enhances the flavour of our dishes but helps us to digest them. Culinary herbs, such as Sage, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay all have properties that help stimulate our digestion and helps calm the stomach, easing gas and cramps. These herbs, including Bay also help to ease symptoms of coughs and colds.
Bay leaves have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. Like Lavender, Bay leaves contain Linalool a compound with relaxing properties when inhaled. Bay is also an antirheumatic and can help ease arthritic aches and pains.
Bay is associated with the Sun. Symbolically it represents triumph and victory. Thought to arise from Greek mythology, the laurel wreath, made of Bay leaves has long been used to crown successors from sports events to graduates. The term ‘laureato’ in Italian, referring to a student that has graduated. The evergreen is also thought to protect the home.
Ways to enjoy Bay
- Like the other culinary herbs, fresh or dried Bay leaves can be added to many dishes to enhance the flavour and help improve digestion.
- Steep a couple of Bay leaves in boiling water to enjoy its soothing properties. Leave for 10 minutes and enjoy as a tea.
- Burning dried Bay leaves can help calm the mind and body.
- Make a decoction of Bay leaves by gently boiling a handful in water for around 30 minutes and then add the water into a bath to help arthritic pain. Alternatively heat leaves gently in an oil such as sunflower to infuse and once cool enough, rub into sore muscles.
We always love to hear your favourite uses for herbs too, please feel free to leave us a comment.
When working with any plants it is important to do your own research to ensure they work for you. Bay is not recommended during pregnancy.