Laurel Oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 10:19 min

Laurel oil comes in two different forms - the essential and fatty oils forms. Both have unique effects on the body and the mind.

Name Laurel
Lat. Name Laurus nobilis
Synonyms Bay Laurel
Origin Middle East
Price per 10ml 8,00
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Teebaumöl from

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Psychological effect

The scent of bay oil is reminiscent of eucalyptus, and has a refreshing and revitalizing effect. Even depressive mood swings can be mitigated with the oil, and the psyche is brightened and negative thoughts are easier to repel. It increases, self-confidence, promotes concentration, and the aroma is even effective when the oil is simply applied externally. 

Physical effect

Laurel was already used as a medicinal plant against very different ailments in ancient times. At that time, its oily berries were primarily processed. Today's possibility of using the purified and significantly more concentrated oil allows this natural product to be used even more effectively.

For the skin

Laurel oil has antiseptic effects. When applied to skin, it promotes healing and allows inflammation to subside quickly. The skin is also nourished by the oil. The oil compensates for an natural oil production without drying out the skin. For this reason, it is very well suited for therapeutic uses in acne, which is often caused by underlying imbalances of natural skin oils.  

For Muscle and Joint pain

The ingredients of bay oil are analgesic (pain-relieving) and promote blood circulation. For this reason, it is very effective for tense and painful muscles. Chronic joint pain, in cases of arthritis for example, can also be reduced with bay oil.

Infections and Immune system

During an infection, often the lymph nodes swell up. If you’ve ever experienced a head cold, and felt painful round swellings under the corner of your jaw - those are swollen lymph nodes! This happens because antigens reach them and trigger a strong increase in B and T lymphocytes - processes of immune activation. If the infectious bug has been successfully destroyed, the lymph nodes calm down again. 

However, this process can be ineffective and can lead to swelling and pain in lymph nodes. Laurel oil can help soothe a swollen lymph node and bring it back to its original size. If the swelling causes persistent severe pain and does not subside, consult a doctor!

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Repel insects and pests

Spicy scents repels unpleasant insects such as mosquitoes and horseflies. This effect of laurel’s aroma has been used for centuries - even in the Middle Ages - to drive away fleas and lice.

For hoof care on horses

Laurel oil is traditionally used to care for horse hooves. The horny layer absorbs the prime active ingredients and fatty acids, making it smoother and less brittle. The oil stimulates hoof growth, which fills in small cracks and bumps. These fatty ingredients also make it harder for fluid to penetrate the hoof. This effectively protects the horse's hoof from rot, which is a major problem when the ground becomes too wet. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of the ingredients also protect the hoof from infections caused by invading germs.

Side effects

Both the essential oil and the fatty oil can cause contact allergies on the skin. The terpenes in the essential oil can also irritate the skin and cause irritation. It should therefore not be applied directly to skin.

In contrast to the essential oil, the fatty oil is not intended for consumption, but it is not toxic.

Application | Uses

When using - a distinction must be made between the two types of laurel oil, essential and fatty oil. Both look similar, but of course are not the exact same. The active ingredients of the essential oil are present in very low concentrations in the fatty oil, but it contains healthy fatty acids, which notably are very beneficial to skin.

Use in aromatherapy

To use bay oil’s aroma effectively, you can use it in a fragrance lamp or a hot bath. Put about 4-6 drops in an aroma lamp or 10-20 drops in the bathtub. In order to distribute the essential oil successfully in the bathtub, you can first dilute it in about 30 ml of cream and then add this mixture to the bath water. Remember that the flavours will quickly dissipate. You should therefore only add the oil to the water when the tub is full and you are in.   

Use as a massage oil

During a massage with an oil containing laurel, the active ingredients can have be beneficial to both your body and your psyche. Mix 5 to 10 drops of the essential laurel oil in 30 ml of a base oil (e.g. almond oil). With a soothing massage, your tense muscles will now loosen up and your psyche is revitalized simultaneously. In acute respiratory infections - such as dry cough - you can massage the oil gently into the chest.

Use to cleanse the skin

Many care products, such as soaps and lotions, contain bay oil, for example traditional Aleppo soap. You can even use it to produce your own cleaning oil! To do so, mix approximately equal parts of olive oil and the fatty bay oil. Together, these oils develop the optimal effect for blemished facial skin. They have a calming effect on the damaged skin and disinfect it. In addition, the cleansing oil has an anti-inflammatory effect and ensures that the skin is adequately replenished so that the skin does not dry out. The active ingredients in laurel oil regulates sebum glands (natural skin oils) and thus prevent further impurities and inflammation.

Use of oil compresses/wraps

To treat painful joints or swollen lymph nodes, it has become established to apply compresses coated with bay oil to affected areas. You should preferably use the fatty bay oil, which you can dose generously. But you can also use the mixed massage oil. Do not apply the essential oil to the skin undiluted, as it can cause irritation. The compresses should be in place for up to 30 minutes and, if possible, be warm. You can do this by wrapping a warm towel around it or using a heat lamp. The heat, together with the active ingredients in the oil, promotes blood circulation and opens the pores so that they can be easily absorbed.

Use against mosquitoes

To protect against mosquitoes, bay oil can be used in two different ways. You can keep the annoying pests away from rooms efficiently by spreading scents, for example with an aroma lamp or a nebuliser. The animals are sensitive to the smell and avoid it. To make the pure bay scent more pleasant, you can combine bay oil with other essential oils that also repel insects. These include, for example, citrus oil, lavender or rosemary, which harmonize very well with the laurel aroma.

For use outside the home, you can make your own mosquito repellent with essential laurel oil. Add 5 to 10 drops of the oil to 50 ml of fractionated coconut oil and apply the mixture to all exposed skin areas. This mixture can protect you from excessive insect bites, especially near water.

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Internal application

The fatty oil is unsuitable for internal use, whereas the essential oil can also be taken in small doses if necessary. The maximum dose of 2 drops twice per day should not be exceeded. This administration is appropriate for acute bouts of arthritis (in addition to treatment with oil compresses), for colds or respiratory infections, to strengthen the immune system or for acute cramp-like digestive problems. Put 1 to 2 drops of the oil on a spoonful of honey or in a little tea.  

Use on horses

The hooves of horses must be checked, cleaned and cared for regularly in order to identify problems in good time and to prevent infection or inflammation of the hooves. Pure bay oil can be applied to the coronet of the hoof for a prolonged period of time with a soft toothbrush and massaged in daily. Of course, it should be cleaned thoroughly beforehand. The oil is a disinfectant and stimulates growth, which quickly closes cracks in the horny layer. Many finished hoof ointments or care oils contain laurel oil.    

Manufacturing

The leaves of the real bay laurel contain about 1.3 percent essential oils. They can be extracted by means of steam distillation. For this purpose, the shredded leaves are poured over with hot, non-boiling water. This causes the volatile components of the essential oil to evaporate and pass into the air. There they are bound by the pure water vapour and transferred to a cooling vessel, in which the purified essential oil settles above the water . Around 70 kilograms of leaves are required to obtain one litre of the valuable oil.

In addition to the essential oil, the laurels themselves contain large amounts of fatty oil, which can be obtained from them by cold pressing and subsequent boiling. This fat is green because of the chlorophyll it contains. It's relatively chewy and has a buttery consistency. Its melting point is around 30 ° C. This property alone makes it easy to distinguish the fatty oil from the essential oil: when you buy it, as it is offered in larger portions in screw-top jars. Both are sold under the name of laurel oil.

Ingredients

Essential oil of the real bay leaves consists of 45 percent cineole, also called eucalyptol. It is a monoterpene that smells of eucalyptus and has bactericidal and expectorant effects. It also prevents the bronchial tubes from narrowing, which can make breathing easier. Another ingredient is eugenol, which with its intense scent protects against insects and parasites. In addition to these two well-identified substances, there are a number of other ingredients in essential oil. Among other things, other monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, α- and β-pinene, phellandren, linalool, geraniol and terpineol. The secondary plant substances are very diverse and each essential oil contains an individual composition that is only found in this one oil. 

The fatty bay oil naturally contains the essential oil as a component, which can make up up to 3.3 percent of the oil. The remaining part consists of fatty acids - mainly monounsaturated oleic acid. Linoleic acid, which is a regular component of human skin and can alleviate various skin ailments, should also be mentioned as medically effective. In addition, palmitic acid and lauric acid and a large amount of fat-soluble vitamin E are found in the fatty bay oil.  

History

The exact origin of the real laurel is the Middle East and the Mediterranean. It was even mentioned in Greek mythology. The river spirit Peneios is said to have turned his daughter Daphne into a laurel bush to hide her from the intrusive Apollo. This is how the first bay tree was created. For Apollo, the god of healing and light, the shrub became sacred and from then on he wore a wreath of laurel leaves in her honour. The meaning as a symbol of victory, on the other hand, comes from the ancient Roman culture, which ultimately shaped Central European culture. Even today, winners or successors are "adorned with laurels", even if only literally.

Laurel was used as a medicinal plant in ancient times. Ointments or compresses were mainly made from the berries to treat sprains. Skin mites and lice were also combated with a paste made from laurels. The traditional Aleppo soap, which is made from olive oil and a variable proportion of the fatty oil from laurel, has been produced in Syria since around the 8th century. It is used for skin care and wound healing and is supposed to drive away parasites such as lice and scabies. 

Botany

True laurel (Laurus nobilis) belongs to the laurel family. It is an evergreen shrub that can reach a height of up to 10 meters. Its shiny leathery leaves are a popular seasoning for soup dishes or pickled cucumbers. As a rule, they only provide aroma to the food and are not eaten themselves. They are bitter in taste but not poisonous. The same applies to the black berries of the bush, which are not suitable for consumption, but are generally not poisonous. However the opposite is true with cherry laurel: a popular hedge plant that looks relatively similar to true laurel, but belongs to the rose family. All parts of cherry laurel is poisonous - especially the berries - which should never be consumed. True laurel is only hardy to a limited extent and prefers warmer climates. Therefore, it is rarely seen outdoors in European latitudes. However, it is a popular pot plant that can be brought into the house over the winter. 

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