Bay Laurel – Laurus Nobilis
Bay laurel is an evergreen tree. It can reach up to 15 meters. It is slow growing. Bay laurel is native in the Mediterranean countries. It requires well drained soil and grows well in sunny or partly shaded areas. Bay Laurel should be protected from windy areas.
Bay laurel is actually an ideal plant for a large container. It is quite lovely either as a natural plant or trimmed and formed into a decorative shape. If you live in a very cold climate you will need to bring the bay laurel indoors during the freezing winter months.
Leaves may be picked all year. Bay laurel leaves can be dried and kept in an airtight jar. The leaves will lose their flavor after a year.
Bay leaves are used in stews and soups and add that very special flavor.
They can be cooked for long periods. Dried bay laurel leaves added when cooking are removed before the dish is served.
Bay laurel is said to stimulate your appetite. Bay laurel when used in cooking will help your digestive system to function better and make it easier to absorb heavy foods.
Bay laurel also has a positive effect on aching limbs. Try adding a few bay laurel leaves into your bathwater.
In Ancient Rome bay laurel leaves were used as a remedy to ease the pain of bee stings in which case the leaves were used as bandages.
Mythology and Folklore
There is an old saying that a bay laurel tree in the garden or in a pot placed close to the entrance is very auspicious. The bay laurel will help prevent evil entering the home. The bay laurel tree was also believed to protect the home from getting hit by lightning.
In Greek mythology the beautiful nymph named Daphne was transformed to a bay laurel tree.
The Greek god Apollo was madly in love with Daphne. She did not feel the same way about him and was desperate to get away from Apollo.
The nymph asked the gods for help. Daphne was transformed to a bay laurel tree.
The bay laurel tree immediately became sacred to Apollo. Fresh laurel leaves were presented in honor of Apollo at the Oracle of Delphi. Apollo himself wore a wreath made up of bay laurel.
Bay laurel was believed to attract prosperity and success. The death of a bay laurel tree was considered an extremely bad omen.
In Ancient Rome the bay laurel was a symbol of victory.