Bay Tree (Laurus nobilis)


This EVERGREEN TREE grows up to 12m, but is very slow to grow, and is often pruned to shrub height. Bay leaves are green and glabrous leaves with entire margins and aromatic. The plant prefers a well-drained soil and can grow in full sun or semi-shade. The spicy and aromatic leaves are used either fresh or dried and added to stews and soups and forms an essential ingredient in “Bouquet Garni”. It has a long history as a folk medicine.

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The trees are either male or female, and both are needed for fruit production. Leaves are used as a condiment or tea. Freshly dried and crumbled leaves are stronger than fresh leaves, but should not be stored for longer than a year when they start to lose pungency. Listed properties of bay as a medicine include it being abortifacient, antirheumatic, antiseptic, appetizer, aromatic, astringent, anti cancer, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, narcotic, parasiticide, stimulant, and stomachic.
It is also cultivated for essential oil production. It is said to protect neighbouring plants from pests and insects. It is also used dried as an insect repellent in grains, feeds and for clothing. Burning bay leaves are said to be effective in ridding a house from cockroaches.

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