Did you know that there are two oils both commonly known as Bay Essential Oil? No? Well, yes there are! In this blog I will discuss both of them, their properties and their uses in aromatic practice.
The first on to investigate is Bay Laurel. This small tree provides the bay leaves we all use in cooking, Laurus Nobilis. Bay Laurel is an evergreen tree with dark evergreen, glossy leaves and black berries; often cultivated as an ornamental shrub. The essential oil of Bay is produced from the dried leaves and branches by steam distillation and is a greenish-yellow liquid with a powerful, spicy-medicinal odour.
Traditionally, the leaves were used by ancient Greeks and Romans to crown their Olympian victors after being woven into a crown. Both leaf and berry were formally used at that time for a variety of afflictions including hysteria, colic, indigestion, loss of appetite, to promote menstruation and for fever. Often called Sweet Bay, Laurel, Grecian Laurel, True bay, Mediterranean bay, roman Laurel, noble laurel leaf, this plant is from the Lauraceae family and is native to the Mediterranean
Properties of Bay Essential Oil include respiratory, carminative, digestive, antiseptic, antiviral, pain-relieving and emmenagogic. This means we can use Bay Essential Oil for many things, including dyspepsia, flatulence, loss of appetite, scanty periods, colds, flu, tonsillitis and viral infections. I have highlighted some of the main benefits below:
The essential oil of the bay laurel leaf is known to be an expectorant as it is able to help to reduce excess phlegm and mucus lodged within the respiratory tracts, relieving congestion of the nasal passageway. Bay Essential Oil is beneficial therefore for those suffering from coughs, colds, flu and bronchitis.
The antibacterial and antiseptic nature of Bay Laurel Essential Oil is helpful for killing off any bacteria or viruses that can cause infections, so helps prevent the onset of sickness and ailments. Along with the oil’s anti-spasmodic qualities, Bay Laurel Essential Oil is able to soothe any involuntary contractions, spasms and convulsions, to help to provide relief from painful coughing spells.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil has been used to stimulate menstrual flows, and it is a great natural remedy for irregular menstrual cycles. Bay Laurel Essential Oil also helps to ease menstrual cramps, given its antispasmodic qualities as it relaxes the uterine muscles and it relieves commonly associated problems, such as nausea and fatigue.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil is known for its analgesic qualities, and it is often used to provide pain relief to a variety of ailments like muscular and joint problems associated with arthritis, rheumatism, gout or to sore, aching muscles after an intense workout session. Besides offering muscular relief, the oil can help to alleviate pain arising from headaches or migraines.
Being antibacterial in nature, Bay Laurel Essential Oil can also be a great addition to your first aid kits as it helps to clean bacteria out from wounds, cuts, bruises or scrapes incurred. This helps to prevent infections from setting in and wounds from becoming septic.
The oil is thought to be good for the digestive system as it augments the digestive processes and helps boost appetite. Being an aperitif, it helps to promote appetite in those who suffer from loss of appetite due to various reasons, such as stress or pressure from the demands of working life. Bay Laurel Essential Oil can also help to remove excess gas from the stomach and intestines and prevents the formation of gases in these digestive organs as well, thus so helping to relieve indigestion, bloating or pain. Its antispasmodic qualities are also useful in helping to alleviate any gastrointestinal pain arising from spasms or contractions of the stomach and intestinal walls.
Bay laurel leaf oil is also thought to be a good tonic for the hair, as it boosts hair growth and prevents excessive hair loss. Because it is an astringent, it helps to tighten the grip of the hair follicles and the hair roots, helping to prevent loss of hair. Bay Laurel Essential Oil can also help with dandruff treatments. This is one of the properties that the two Bay oils share – care of the hair.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil blends well with pine, cypress, juniper, clary sage, rosemary, lavender, citrus and spice oils. The oil is relatively non-toxic and non-irritant but can cause dermatitis in some individuals if used excessively. The oil should not be used during pregnancy. The main chemical constituents include Cineol (30-50%) Pinene, linalool, terpineol acetate, and traces of methyl eugenol (which is why we don’t use it for pregnant ladies).
So after a quick look at Bay Laurel Essential Oil, lets now move on to investigate Bay Racemosa, commonly called West Indian Bay Essential Oil.
West Indian Bay Essential Oil (Pimenta racemosa) is also known as myrcia acris, myrcia, bay, bay rum tree, wild cinnamon, bayberry, and bay leaf (oil) – the latter name showing how easy it is to mix up the two of these essential oils. This oil comes from the Myrtaceae family and is steam distillation from the leaves of the tree. The trees are grown mainly in the West Indies, particularly Dominica, and they are wild growing tropical evergreen tree up to 8 meters high, with large leathery leaves and aromatic fruits.
The West Indian Bay tree is usually grown together with the allspice or Bay bush in groves. These are then dried and crushed together to form a powder for the preparation of the household allspice. The Bay Rum tree provides the basic ingredient for the famous old hair tonic. Bay Essential Oil is dark yellow mobile liquid with a fresh-spicy top note and sweet balsamic undertones – in fact the traditional aroma of allspice.
Traditionally West Indian Bay Essential Oil was used as an analgesic, anticonvulsant, anti-neuralgic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, astringent, expectorant, stimulant, and a tonic for hair. West Indian Bay Essential Oil is a wonderful scalp stimulant, and can be added to a hair rinse for dandruff, greasy, lifeless hair and promoting growth. West Indian Bay Essential Oil is also beneficial for muscular and articular aches and pains, neuralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism, sprains, strains. (West Indian) Bay Essential Oil can also be used to help treat colds, influenza and infectious diseases. The uses, as you can see, are similar to those of Bay Laurel Essential Oil – and I have highlighted some of these uses below:
West Indian Bay Essential Oil can be applied indilution to any areas where there is pain, as it has a local numbing or anesthetic effect rather similar to that of Plai Essential Oil. This anaesthetic effect can help suppress certain types of pain, including neuralgia, bone and muscular injuries, and joints, as well as those resulting from insect bites or stings.
The analgesic property of West Indian Bay Essential Oil comes from its anaesthetic property. It may have a numbing effect on the nerves which does not let the sensation of pain reach the brain or be felt by our nerves. This can help to overcome pain resulting from wounds, headaches, colds, arthritis, and gout, among others.
Antioxidants are agents that protect the body from the damage done by oxidation and free radicals. Oxidation is believed to be one of the prime causes behind aging and age-related damage to the body such as the weakening of muscles, hair loss, loss of vision and hearing, nervous disorders, macular and muscular degeneration and certain types of cancer. There are substances in our body, free radicals, that carry active oxygen and speed up oxidation of cells and promote aging. Antioxidants can help to slow aging by neutralising free radicals and help to repair the damage. West Indian Bay Essential Oil is quite a powerful anti-oxidant, and used in body lotions and bath foams, can help to give the body a fighting chance.
Infections can spread very quickly and can take over the whole body, but the antiseptic property of West Indian Bay Essential Oil can help to offer protection against such infections by inhibiting bacterial growth.
Being a tonic, Bay Essential Oil can speed up the metabolism, thus toning the liver, spleen, stomach, and nervous system, as well as the endocrine system and the metabolism.
West Indian Bay Essential Oil Blends well with Lavender, Lavandin, Rosemary, Geranium, Ylang ylang, Citrus and spice oils. However, it is moderately toxic due to high eugenol content – also a mucous membrane irritant – use in moderation only.
However, this oil does not cause dermal irritation or sensitization like Bay laurel. It can however cause irritation in the mucus membrane if used in high concentrations or in high dosages. Therefore, it should always be used in low concentrations and low dosages. The main chemical constituents include Eugenol (up to 56%), Myrcene, and Chavicol.
Pregnant women should also avoid using this oil.
To help your circulation and speed the metabolism use the recipe below:
Blend all the oils well into the lotion and put into a wide-neck bottle with pump. Apply to the body once a day after a warm shower.
For an effective pain relieving body lotion, use the recipe below. In a 100ml jar with cap use:
(30 drops is 1ml from a Penny Price Aromatherapy essential oil bottle)
Put the Blending Cream, Aloe Vera Gel and Arnica in a small basin and whisk together. Add the essential oils and stir well, then transfer to the jar, clean the edges and put the lid on. Use during the day whenever needed on painful areas of the body.
This recipe will help you to keep your digestion healthy. In a 100ml jar use the following recipe:
Put the Aloe Vera Gel into the 100ml jar and stir round to soften. Add the rosehip and stir again, then add the hydrolat and mix well. Finally add the essential oils in the order they are written in the recipe and stir well. Clean the edges of the pot and put on the lid. Use as needed on the abdomen throughout the day and before going to bed.
This is a really good way to keep Covid away! In a 100ml bottle with pump top blend the following recipe-
Put the bath foam into a small bowl and add the essential oils. Stir really well and then, using a funnel, put the blend into the bottle and apply the lid. This can take some time so be patient! Use first thing in your morning shower.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. We love to hear from you so do give us feedback on the blog and the recipes, and how they have worked for you or your clients. All the products mentioned are available from www.penny-price.com or you can phone your order through or get advice on 01455 251020. If you are interested in training with us, please call, or email Lizzie on firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading! Penny Price X