Sweet bay is not like your bay leaf tossed into stews, same family but an entirely different experience. It is an aromatherapy delight of freshness with a whimsical spiciness and a touch of magic, quite unexpected and immediately uplifting I call its effect the ‘big eye” leaf like a Margaret Keane painting because it is the reaction of everyone I give it to.
I have a bowl on the counter for the lower leaves I stem strip making bouquets. Bits of eucalyptus, mints, rosemary, lavender, etc. and sweet bay to hand out to anyone for the liking. 99 out 100 sniffers will grow their eyes in an amazed surprise when ripping a leaf at the wonderful yet confusing scent of sweet bay laurel. It’s a fresh delight with a happy spiciness, a bit citrus, a dash of evergreen with almost a eucalyptus side kick. Not an easy scent to explain-you really must experience it.
In historical times, the Romans believed the tree could never be touched by lightning hence always keeping a branch in their homes and carrying it when walking out of doors. I wonder…. They were also used for crowns which the boughs are easily shaped to for any occasion. In the Language of Flowers it translates to glory & protection…of course it does. And like all plants it has its medicinal uses for so many things including as an anti-bacterial, analgesic, anti-viral, decongestant, digestive tonic and more. Those who would like to open or enhance their creative side will like to use the leaves as they work to amplify your skills and relax during meditation. It is also said to heighten awareness and perception-I truly believe it.
However you decipher it in remedy or words, its aromatic effect is startling and more uplifting than lavender with a refreshing sass. Whereas lavender is calming and quiet, sweet bay is uplifting and happy, it is a Neverland leaf. Whether fresh or dried it will immediately diffuse you, surprise you, and induce a smile. I offer it weekly as fresh boughs or the dried leaves packaged-enough to start your addiction. Of course it makes for a wonderful table scatter, potpourri addition, and drawer scenting. You can tear a leaf for a morning smile, midafternoon lift, or a nighttime escape. You can burn it, boil it or pack your car vents with it to help navigate your drive. Place it in a bowl to grab as you pass by or carry a few for ‘those times”. I like to just keep it around for a leaf rip now and again when I want to escape. 😊
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