"[Bay laurel essential oil] is the fragrance of victors and poets, who have each used imagination and inspiration to attain their goals," according to aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She also writes the emotional benefits of bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) are to support confidence, inspiration, creativity, and direction.
Plant family: Lauraceae
Production: Steam distilled from the leaves and branches of the bay laurel, which is an evergreen shrub or small tree. A small amount of essential oil can be distilled from the berries, but a berry oil is more likely to be a pressed fruit oil than an essential oil.
Aroma: Spicy, sweet, fresh, balsamic
Perfume/Aromatic note: Top to middle
Is bay laurel safe to use during pregnancy? No, according to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy.
Is bay laurel safe for children? Do not use with children under age 2 due to the 1,8-cineole content. Some sources recommend not using with children under age 5.
Cautions: May irritate sensitive skin. Frequent use on skin may cause sensitization. Too much of the fragrance may cause headaches.
Do not confuse bay laurel essential oil (Laurus nobilis) with West Indian bay (also called bay rum) essential oil (Pimental racemosa). Though they have some broad aromatic similarities, they are very different oils.
Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.
Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: The scent is stimulating, improves memory, relieves headaches and stress, and may stimulate digestion.
Aromatherapy for Dummies: Bay laurel is a heating, penetrating essential oil that can help relieve muscle tension. Use in a massage oil to stimulate lymph and blood circulation. The scent may repel fleas and flies.
Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit: In Traditional Chinese Medicine the primary energetic actions of bay laurel are to circulate and regulate Qi and to clear cold phlegm. The essential oil is indicated for chilly, congested people who lack energy and self confidence.
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: Bay laurel oil is useful to help relieve indigestion, flatulence, loss of appetite, scanty periods, colds, and flu.
Essential Oils: All Natural Remedies: Use bay laurel to sooth aches and pains, for colds and flu, and for sleep. The oil is associated with peace, wisdom, and inner confidence.
To make a massage oil, add 5 drops bay laurel to 2 teaspoons carrier oil. You can use the massage oil for sore muscles or on your abdomen for digestive problems.
To help relieve congestion from cold or flu, use bay laurel in a diffuser blend or in a steam inhalation. For swollen lymph glands Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy recommends rubbing a few drops of the essential oil over the glands.
Make a cleansing, uplifting room spray: Blend 9 drops bay laurel oil and 4 drops rosemary essential oil with 1/2 cup distilled water in a spray bottle.
Make a body scrub that supports the lymphatic system:
Blend all ingredients in a glass jar. Use as desired for a body scrub.
Make a forming soap:
Blend all ingredients in a 2-ounce (60 ml) foam pump bottle.
I recommend Laurus Nobilis essential oil from Young Living.