Folk Names: Baie, Bay Laurel, Daphne, Sweet Bay
Powers: Healing, Protection, Psychic Powers, Purification, Strength, Wisdom
Magical Uses and History: Bay is a fairly common herb used in witchcraft. It was perceived as a symbol of immortality by the Ancient Greeks and Romans where it later became a symbol of nobility and victory. The leaves were worn on the brow of every triumphant Roman general as he rode his chariot through the city in celebration. It is believed this tradition stems from Apollo, one of the many gods associated with bay, because of his conquests in the natural world where he would deflower a virgin then turn her into a flower or tree as a symbol of his victory. Wear bay during an athletic event to ensure victory and bring strength and courage.
Despite the downfall of Asclepius, who was struck down by Zeus while wearing a crown of bay leaves, bay is traditionally viewed as having protective powers, especially against lightning. It was hung in Roman homes to protect those within and is commonly used in protection spells and rituals today. A withering or diseased bay laurel tree is considered a sign of disaster to come. More recently, herbalist Nicholas Culpeper claimed bay would protect against witchcraft and the devil. Wear as an amulet to ward off negativity and evil or burn to purify your home and prevent poltergeists from working any mischief. A sprig is often used to sprinkle water during purification rituals to add an extra punch.
Furthermore, bay is said to have prophetic or psychic properties, allowing the famous oracle Delphi, the seer of Apollo, to see into the past, present, and future. Delphi was said to chew on the leaves or burn the branches to inhale the smoke in order to reach these trances. Use in brews or burn as an incense to induce a prophetic state or place beneath your pillow to induce prophetic dreams.
Bay is also associated with wisdom and poetry, other attributes of Apollo, and hence where the name Poet Laureate comes from. Have writers block? Burn bay to enhance your creativity and dispel writers block.
Bay can be used in a number of spells including:
Medicinal Uses: Bay leaves can be used either in whole leaf form or as an oil to treat a variety of ailments. The leaves can be used as a diuretic or to induce vomiting if something toxic has been consumed. It is also commonly used as a tea to settle upset stomachs, irritable bowel syndrome, or to help lessen the symptoms of Celiac's disease. Bay leaf essential oil can be mixed with a salve and applied to the chest to alleviate respiratory conditions such as coughing, wheezing, bronchitis, or asthma. Inhaling the vapors has a similar affect. Bay also works as an anti-inflammatory to reduce joint swelling and can be used to lessen the symptoms of arthritis. Finally, bay has been connected with lower blood sugar and is often used to treat/manage diabetes.
Preparation and Dosage: Bay can be taken internally as an infusion or cooked within food. To make an infusion, pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves and let infuse for 10 minutes. Drink this solution up to three times a day. If using bay leaf oil, please follow the directions listed on the box/bottle. Each one is different and therefore should be treated as such. Externally Bay Leaf oil can be mixed into a salve and applied to the chest overnight.