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Bay Leaf BAY LEAF  
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Botanical:  Laurus nobilis
Family:  Lauraceae (laurel)
Other common names:  Sweet Laurel, Roman Laurel, Grecian Laurel, Wreath Laurel, Bay Laurel, Daphne, Indian Bay, Sweet Bay, True Laurel

The "noble" Bay Leaf is not only an important herb in your kitchen, but it is also indispensable as a digestive aid for treating dyspepsia, stomach aches, gastric ulcers and colic, as well as bowel pain, headaches and infections.  Long associated with conquering heroes and Greek athletes, try Bay Leaf as a tonic for overall good health and "pick-me-up."

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

History:
The stately fragrant Bay tree has always symbolized glory and honor.  In ancient Greece, the Bay Leaf (Laurel) was sacred to Apollo, the Greek sun god, and was also dedicated to Apollo's son, Aesculapius (or Aesclepias), the god of healing and medicine.  At the temple of Delphi, the priestess ate a Bay Leaf before prophesying the future, and the roof of Apollo's temple was made entirely of Bay Leaves for protection against disease, witchcraft and lightning.  Planted in the sacred groves near the healing temples, Bay Leaves were woven into garlands and wreaths to honor the esteemed figures of the day, including artists, scientists, heroes and great athletes.  In Rome, Bay Leaf was a symbol of wisdom and glory, and the laurel wreath continued to be a mark of tremendous esteem, crowning the heads of Emperors and prominent heroes.  The Bay Leaf's botanical genus, laurus, translates from the Latin into laurel, and its botanical specific, nobilis, means "renowned and noble."  The Bay tree is native to the shores of the Mediterranean, reaching heights up to sixty feet, and is a hardy evergreen that grows wild or cultivated, and it thrives in well-drained soil in sun or partial shade with shelter from frost.  It is an aromatic, smooth-barked tree that prefers a mild climate, and along with its medicinal applications, Bay Leaf is considered one of the most important culinary herbs in virtually all types of cuisine and an important ingredient in a bouquet garni.  Native Americans and early settlers used its closely related California and Oregon species to treat headaches, stomach aches and rheumatism.  Bay Leaves have been used for many centuries to combat disease (especially plague), and today it is used medicinally in Europe as a general tonic to help digestive organs and expel gas.  Some of the constituents in Bay Leaf include bitter essence, limonene, catechin, proanthocyanidin, cyanidin, piperdine, eugenol, geraniol, alpha-pinene, astragalin, thymol, lauric-, caffeic-, palmitic-, oleic-, p-coumaric-, linoleic-, linolenic-, and cinnamic-acids, beta-sitosterol, campherol, essential oil, isoquercitrin, rutin, quercetin, quercitrin, mannitol, manganese, boron, copper, carvacrol, campesterol, humulene, linalool, myrcene, phytosterol and salicylate.

Beneficial Uses:
Aromatic Bay Leaf has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy for headaches.  It contains chemical compounds called parthenolides, which have proven useful as an herbal treatment for migraines.

Bay Leaf is a bitter, stimulant herb that has a gentle tonic effect that is considered warming and drying and aids the digestive organs.  This great culinary herb is an aromatic bitter that stimulates the appetite, improves digestion, helps expel gas from the stomach and bowels, and it relieves stomach pain, bowel pain, gastric ulcers and colic. 

By helping the body process insulin more efficiently, Bay Leaf has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels.

Bay Leaf is a potent antiseptic and was considered indispensable in earlier days during epidemics of contagious disease, such as smallpox, typhoid fever, measles and diphtheria.

Since Bay Leaf is regarded as a uterine stimulant, it may be helpful in cases of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

With powerful antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, Bay Leaf is useful in treating infections, sore throat, rheumatism, tonsillitis and bladder problems.

Topically applied, Bay Leaf is an antiseptic and has been an effective treatment for dandruff, rheumatic joints, sprains, bruises and scabies.

Contraindications:
Bay Leaf Herbal Supplement is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women, nor for those who are taking medication for diabetes.  As a uterine stimulant, it has been called an abortifacient.   Although an herb to calm the digestive tract, taken in large doses, Bay Leaf is considered an emetic that produces vomiting.

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Basil  |  Bayberry
 
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