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The Way of Bay

Bay Trivia

* The word “baccalaureate” means laurel berry, an honorarium given to ancient scholars upon completion of their studies. It follows that “to rest on one’s laurels” means to be satisfied with past achievements rather than continue to strive for excellence.

• “Poet laureate” comes from the reference to Apollo, patron of the fine arts who had a special affinity for the laurel tree. (Apollo wore a wreath of bay leaves on his head in
remembrance of his beloved Daphne, whom the gods turned into a bay laurel tree.)

• While today we use bay leaves to protect stored grains and clothing from insects, bay has historically been used as protection from witches, lightning, the devil, and the plague.

• Bay was used at divination rights at the Oracle at Delphi, where it was burned as incense.

Other uses for bay:

* Because it’s so strongly aromatic, bay laurel is resistant to many kinds of plant pests and diseases. Plants that grow nearby the bay laurel are said to benefit from this ability. In the home, bay is used to repel grain beetles and other insects. Place a leaf or two in each container of stored grains or in each box of stored clothing.

* Bay leaves are often added to potpourris for a sweet scent and visual appeal.

* Its scent—which comes from the essential oils eugenol, cineol, and geraniol — is employed in perfumes, soaps, and candles.

* Bay leaves are still used to make wreaths.

* The aromatic wood of the bay plant is used in marquetry (an inlaid woodwork) and to make walking sticks.

* An infusion of bay leaves is used as a hair rinse, especially for those with dandruff.

* Bay essential oil has been used to make salves for aching joints, and a paste of leaves or berries has been topically applied to soothe cold symptoms.

Buy Frontier and Simply Organic Bay Leaves.

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Quick Links

» The way of bay
» Cooking with bay
» Make Ahead Bean Bay Stew
» Bay Trivia
» Other uses of bay

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