Laurus is derived from the Celtic, lawr, verdant, because of its
evergreen nature and nobilis from Latin, high rank, due to the fact it was
used to crown heroes and poets. The modern term 'bachelor' which is used for
degrees is derived from the laurel berry, baccalaureus, through the French
bachelier. There are many folk names for this herb some of which are Baie,
Bay, Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Daphne, Greecian Laurel, Laurel, Laurier
d'Apollon, Laurier Sauce, Lorbeer, Noble Laurel, Roman Laurel, Sweet Bay,
The Bay Laurel will grow in the garden in the mild climates of Zones
8-10, otherwise it is grown in a container and must remain indoors through
Outdoors it must be protected from harsh winds and grown in a
shaded area. Inside it does best in a cool greenhouse situation but can be
grown in a home if given cooler temperatures and direct sunlight for at least
four hours a day. Keep the soil moist in the spring but allow it to dry out
thoroughly between waterings the rest of the year.
The leaves can be used
fresh or dried, and can be harvested at any time of the year.
In Greek and Roman mythology the nymph Daphne daughter of the river god
Peneus was being chased by an enamored Apollo, desperate for her love. She
grew weary of the pursuit and begged her father to turn her into a laurel
tree. Apollo placed his affections for Daphne to the tree and declared it
sacred and that men who returned victorious would wear a crown of its leaves.
The Oracles at Delphi (priestesses of Apollo) chewed bay leaves and inhaled
their fumes to induce prophetic visions.
The leaves are used at the pagan
celebrations of Yule for their evergreen characteristic, to bring the light
of summer into the darkest days of the year.
It has also long been given to
anyone who distinguishes him/herself of a worthy deed.
Bay leaf is a flavoring agent utilized extensively in French as
well as many other cuisines. It has a wide variety of uses in bouillon,
soups, stews, meat, fish, poultry and marinades. Always discard the leaf
Spiritual Properties and Uses in Magic
Bay Laurel is one of the very best protection and purification herbs.
Worn as an amulet or used as a talisman it wards off negativity and evil.
Placed on a window sill it protects against lightning strikes and used in the
home will prevent the mischief created by poltergeists.
It can be used as a
smudge or burned as incense in exorcism rites.
The leaf of the bay is used
to sprinkle water during rituals and the leaves mixed with sandalwood can be
burned to remove evil spells and curses.
Placed beneath one's pillow it
induces prophetic dreams, it is used in clairvoyance and wisdom teas, and the
smoke can be inhaled to bring prophetic visions.
If a couple takes a twig
from a Laurel tree then breaks it in two, each keeping half, it will ensure
that love will stay.
Write a wish on a bay leaf and then burn them to make
them come true.
This is the herb of fame and glory, it grants strength in
athletic competitions if worn as an amulet.
Use laurel in any incantation
and you will see the ways to put yourself on the course of immortality.
Healing Properties and Uses
The leaves and the fruits of the Bay Laurel are used medicinally.
When taken internally it aids in digestion and is slightly tonic and
It is used for nervousness, paralysis and as an aid in urination
Applied externally bay is a deodorant and soothing, and is
used in salves for itching, sprains, bruises, skin irritation, and rheumatic
Simmer the leaf and berry until soft and use as a poultice with honey
for chest colds.
It is relaxing when used in a bath, use eight tablespoons
crushed leaf and berry for every quart of water and steep for forty-five
minutes; add to bath water.
Bay leaf and laurel are the same word (laurier) in French. Do not confuse
with Mountain Laurel, a native of the United States, which has poisonous