The bay oil I’m talking about here comes from the West Indian bay tree or bay rum tree and not bay laurel. While both are awesome, bay oil is one of the best antibacterial essential oils you can get. And that is not all it’s good for!
Here’s more on the properties, benefits and uses of bay oil.
Properties of Bay Essential Oil
The botanical name for the West Indian bay tree is Pimenta racemosa .
Bay essential oil gets confused with bay leaf or bay laurel essential oil. They are different. Bay laurel comes from the Laurus nobilis tree. And its essential oil has a completely different chemical composition to bay’s.
So it is even more important to check over the botanical name when buying this essential oil.
Color & Smell
Bay oil has a deep yellow color and a unique, spicy, almost peppery odor.
What’s in the oil?
The main compound in bay oil is eugenol. It can make up about 45% to 73% of the oil. Now, the main compound in bay laurel essential oil is eucalyptol which also makes up about half of the oil. So you can see how different the two oils are.
Other important compounds in bay oil include: myrcene, ternipen 4-ol and chavicol. Limonene and linalool have also been reported but in low levels.
Benefits of Bay Essential Oil
What are the benefits of bay essential oil? The oil can:
- neutralize free radicals
- kill microbes
- repel and kill insects
- repel and kill spiders
Here’s more about the benefits in better detail.
Bay oil is antioxidant
A 2012 study proved bay essential oil had free radical scavenging and antioxidant capabilities even at very low concentrations.
This is amazing since free radicals can damage your skin, cause wrinkles and may encourage cancer cells to develop. Yikes! We certainly don’t want that!
Bay kills microbes
Bay essential oil is one of the best antimicrobial essential oils.
That is according to a study that compared the antibacterial and antifungal properties of more than 52 essential and carrier oils. The study showed bay oil inhibited drug-resistant microbes (i.e. super hard to kill microbes) at concentrations lower than 2%. Imagine what 5% could do?!
More recent studies like this one in the Journal of Pharmacy & Pharmacognosy Research further support bay oil’s powerful antimicrobial benefits. In fact, the researchers believe the oil: “might be an alternative as an antimicrobial agent for the pharmaceutical industry.” Awesome!
It kills spiders too
There are several studies that prove this essential oil is a potent arachnid killer. That means it kills arachnids like spiders, mites, and ticks, even at very low concentrations.
Bay essential oil kills insects
Bay oil is a powerful fumigant, as evidenced by this study that tested the effects of 98 essential oils on cockroaches. And it showed larvicidal and insecticidal properties in this study on mosquitoes.
So if you have a bug, spider, bacterial, or fungal problem, reach for bay! It’ll kill them all!
Uses of Bay Essential Oil
You have seen just how powerful bay essential oil is. So now let’s look at the uses of bay essential oil.
Add 1-2 drops of bay essential oil to your diffuser for a wonderful spicy smell. Note, eugenol is known to irritate mucous membranes like your nasal cavity and throat. So use the oil sparingly in your diffuser.
If you are using bay oil for the first time, do a patch test! It is too powerful to be trifled with.
Once you’re not sensitive to the oil, you can add 1-2 drops of bay oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (i.e. 1-2% concentration) before applying it onto your skin.
Cleaning and Repellent
Lastly, you can create your own cleaning solution and bug spray. Aim to create a 1-2% mix with water and/ or alcohol because you don’t need much to get the job done. Pair it with other repellent and antimicrobial oils like citronella, peppermint and tea tree for an extra powerful all natural spray.
Where to buy bay essential oil