Bay laurel is an evergreen shrub or small tree belonging to the Laurel family, Lauraceae. An indigenous plant to Greece, it grows in humid places such as ravines and gorges at a variety of soil substrates and at altitudes of 150 – 900 meters. In Greece, bay laurel has been known since ancient times. It was considered as a sacred tree, dedicated to the god Apollo. Homer also makes reference to the bay laurel. First the Greeks and then the Romans used bay laurel leaves to adorn the laurel wreath, which crowned the winners of athletic competitions and games. To this day, bay laurel symbolizes glory, victory and excellence.Finally the Pythia, the oracle at Delphi, would chew bay laurel leaves before responding.
All parts of the bay laurel tree have many medicinal properties such as diuretic, spasmolytic, antiperspirant, anti-mucus, and digestive. Other health benefits include improving bile flow and stimulating gallbladder mobility. As an infusion tea, it helps soothe colic and indigestion symptoms, stimulates appetite, clear nasal congestion, and ease coughing and colds. As an ointment, it can treat problems such as bruises, lung infections, coughing, colds, dandruff, mouth ulcers, stiff muscles and sprains. Laurel bay oil is used as a massage oil to alleviate symptoms of chronic rheumatism and paralysis. It also invigorates hair health, stimulates the scalp, and helps prevent dandruff.