Bay oil and bay laurel essential oil are not the same. The main compound in bay laurel oil is eucalyptol, while the main compound in bay is eugenol. These are different compounds and give the oils different benefits. Here’s more.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil Properties
The botanical name of bay laurel is Laurus nobilis. The oil is sometimes called laurel oil or laurel leaf oil.
And, as I mentioned before, bay essential oil is different, although they smell alike. Bay’s botanical name is Pimenta racemosa and is sometimes called sweet bay or bay leaf or even sweet laurel oil. It’s easy to get the names confused. So it is important to check the botanical name before buying any of these oils.
Color and smell
Bay laurel oil is clear and has a spicy, camphor-like smell. It smells a bit like medicine to me heh!
What’s in it?
The main compound in this oil is eucalyptol. It can make up about 30% to 50% of the oil. Other compounds like sabinene and linalool have also been reported in high amounts.
Bay Laurel Essential Oil Benefits
Bay laurel essential oil has some amazing benefits like:
- kills cancer cells in vitro.
- neutralizes free radicals.
- reduces inflammation.
- kills bacteria, fungi and viruses.
- repels and kills insects.
It may be anticancer
Check out this 2007 in vitro study published in the Anticancer Research journal. It looked at the anticancer effects of a few oils like savory, sage and bay laurel, on several cancer cell lines. The results showed that bay laurel had the highest activity. So the researchers believe the oil can help inhibit human tumor cell growth.
But this is a lab study, not a clinical trial. So more research is needed to prove bay laurel can help fight cancer in our bodies.
It is antioxidant
This 2009 study explored the antioxidant potential of 14 essential oils. The oils here included black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg, fennel, cinnamon leaf, laurel, ginger, garlic and clove bud. The results showed laurel had some free radical scavenging benefits. But garlic, clove bud, ginger and cinnamon leaf oils were the most antioxidant.
It is anti-inflammatory
Remember the main compound in bay laurel is eucalyptol? Well, eucalyptol can make up about 90% of eucalyptus essential oil. And eucalyptus oil has excellent anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits. So you can expect bay laurel has similar effects as well.
This 2003 animal study provides some proof. It tested the oil on mice and found bay laurel had anti-inflammatory, pain relieving, and sedative effects. What is more interesting is these effects were comparable to morphine and piroxicam.
Bay laurel is antibacterial
There are a few studies that get into the antibacterial activity of bay laurel.
This one from 2016 tested the oil on Staphylococcus aureus strains. It found the oil was indeed a strong antibacterial agent.
Another study (2004) tested oregano, laurel and fennel oils on several bacterial species. The results here found all the oils had strong activity against the tested bacteria.
Bay laurel oil was also tested against the fungi Candida albicans in this 2017 study. And the oil showed strong antifungal benefits.
It is antiviral
You don’t see this benefit everyday.
In a 2008 study, bay laurel, cypress, sage and savory essential oils were used on two viruses: SARS and herpes (HSV-1). The researchers noted bay laurel had very interesting antiviral activity, especially against SARS. How cool!
Bay laurel essential oil is insecticidal
There are a couple studies that get into these benefits. This one from 2005 tested the toxicity and repellency of bay laurel against the London Underground mosquito. Yes there really is a London Underground mosquito. Its botanical name is Culex pipiens molestus.
Anyway, bay laurel had strong insecticidal and repellent effects. And the researchers attributed these benefits to the eucalyptol content of the oil. In fact, eucalyptol provided about two hours of complete repellency. That’s excellent!
There it is – all the benefits of bay laurel essential oil!
Uses of Bay Laurel Oil
In high doses, eucalyptol can cause nausea, weakness and skin irritation. It can also sensitize your skin if you do not dilute it properly. So use low levels of bay laurel oil.
Add a drop or two to your diffuser for a nice eucalyptus-like smell. Feel free to blend it with spicy, citrusy, and floral oils too. Try it with eucalyptus, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, rosemary and sage. Or how about bergamot, orange, lavender or ylang ylang.
If you decide to use it on your skin, patch test the blend first. And try not to use more than a 2% to 3% blend on your skin. You don’t want to accidentally irritate or sensitize your skin with high concentrations.
Finally, you should avoid this when you are pregnant. If you are nursing or using any special medication, talk to your doctor before using this or any other oil. Safety first!
How else do you use bay laurel oil? Let me know in the comments below.
Get the oil