Laurus nobilis – Bay Laurel Profile

Bay Laurel – also known as Laurel Leaf

Aroma: spicy and sweet, camphor like (it is the same bay that is dried and used in the kitchen in soups and stews.

Note: Top to Middle/Top

The predominant chemical families include Monoterpenes (a-pinene and sabinene)  and Oxides (1,8 cineole) Monoterpenol (linalool) and Ester (terpineol acetate)

Therapeutic Properties include: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, decongestant, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge

Plant part used: Leaves

Botanical Family: Lauraceae

Extraction Method: Steam Distilled

Safety: Typically non-toxic, may cause skin irritation and can cause sensitization especially if oxidized. Tisserand  and Young suggest a low dilution if using topically (massage or bath) Some Bay Laurel has a larger percentage of Methyl Eugenol so it is a good idea to check the GC/MS for component specifics. Do not use with children (never under 5 and only with great care under 10) or during pregnancy. This is one essential oil that should not be used topically for an extended period of time or used on mucous membranes.

The reason you don’t want it used with children is that 1,8 cineole can cause depression of the CNS and breathing issues in young kids.

Shelf Life:  one to two years depending on how you store and care for the oil

This oil is helpful for breathing (stuffy noses, and heads, congestion in respiratory tract, sneezing) and the stomach. It offers some broad spectrum antimicrobial action and helps reduce lymph glands that are swollen.

Ways to use:

Topical: local application can dilute 2-4 % (12 – 24 drops per ounce of carrier) Not recommended for whole body application. Add this oil to unscented lotion, cream, salts) Again, use this for a short period of time for acne, skin inflammation or a skin infection. It is also good for muscle aches and pains and headaches.

Compresses –  add this oil to warm to hot (always test the water to ensure it is not too hot – avoid burns!)  or cold water and use as a compress. This might be especially helpful to apply the compress to the stomach for gas pains, bloating, and stomach distress or to the torso as a kidney tonic.

Diffusion: Add to your diffuser per manufacturer’s recommendations (I add about 5 drops in my diffuser)  for colds, allergies and other respiratory symptoms.

Emotional/Energetic uses: it is said that this essential oil helps move energy that is stuck, stimulates creativity and can help folks feel more confident. Offers courage (these are the leaves that were used as a wreath to decorate the heads of political leaders in ancient times.) Folks suffering from mental fatigue, no energy, nervous conditions, low self-esteem, and moments of self-doubt can benefit by diffusing this oil.

Bay Laurel blends well with:  Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lemon, Neroli, and Rosemary.


Battaglia, S. (2012). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Brisbane: The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy.

Buckle, J. (2015). Clinical Aromatherapy Essential Oils in Health Care. St. Louis: Elsevier.

Cantele, N. P. (2014). The Complete Aromatherapy and Essential Oils Handbook For Everyday Wellness. Toronto: Robert Rose Inc.

Cooksley, V. G. (2015). Aromatherapy A holistic Guide to Natural Healing with Essential Oils. The Woodlands: Floramed Publishing LLC.

Robert Tisserand, R. Y. (2014). Essential Oil Safety. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier.

Rose, J. (1999). 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley: Fron, Ltd.

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