The term “bay” calls to mind fresh clear water of beautiful azure, creamy golden sands and radiant skies above. True to its name, bay is a fresh, spicy-smelling herb that channels a day at the beach.
Bay—also known as sweet bay and bay laurel–is used as an active ingredient in candles (indeed, you’re not likely to find a scents store without a full stock of bay-infused items) as well as potpourri, and is an essential ingredient in many aromatherapy treatments. Its scent is both powerful and therapeutic, and even mildly narcotic in some cases. Talk about an intoxicating herb!
What to look for:
Bay is also an herb of sublime beauty; it is culled from a shrub or small tree with dark purple berries, along with lush clusters of small, cream yellow flowers.
Mother Nature loves it:
Bay Laurel seedlings thrive best in frost-free or warmer climates where it does not reach freezing temperatures. It can grow into a large tree of 38 feet or taller, but an also grow into a small bush. It can also be grown in containers. Unfortunately, bay trees are hard to grow from seedlings due to the the low and slow germination period.
How to use it:
Beyond its rich aesthetic benefits, bay is a proven tool of healing. Useful for a vast number of therapeutic purposes, bay is utilized in treating everything from baldness to flatulence to digestive problems.
Internally, bay is used to relieve digestive disorders ranging from indigestion to dyspepsia and even flatulence, as well as to stimulate appetite and treat colic. It is also administered to remedy bladder and kidney ailments.
On the outside, bay is used to treat frequent, chronically troublesome disorders such as dandruff, rheumatism, sprains, bruises, atonic ulcers, as well as scabies. Bay promotes hair growth and alleviates the pain and strain of rheumatism and sprains. And this helpful herb can be used to treat bruises and inflammation, and to prevent scarring in many cases.
In the kitchen bay leaves are useful to add that extra spicy taste to dishes such as sauces, soups, stock, and stews, and can provide a spicy zing to the sweetest desserts. You can use bay leaves when packing licorice and figs, to discourage the intrusion of weevils, and to add an extra dash of flavor to a wide variety of liqueurs, condiments and a full range of meat products.
Bay is also a helpful agent used in astringents and insecticides, and is renowned for its numerous healing properties. Amazingly enough this single herb is known for being analgesic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, stimulating, and tonic.
Known as both a spicy food additive and as an agent of healing, the herb of bay is a vital addition to any household. Keep it in the pantry for cooking, the bathroom for medicinal purposes, or in the family garden; where its sublime beauty and intoxicating scent can be fully savored and enjoyed. Regardless of its use, bay is an herb to be treasured and coveted; pick up some bay today!