By Gurjit Kaur
There are many beliefs and practices which are associated with bay leaves.
Healers in ancient times used to wear and burn bay leaves to increase positive energies while treating those who were ill. There are some beliefs when carrying a bay leaf in one’s cash wallet, the wallet is never empty of cash. It is said that on a full moon night, you may write your wish on a bay leave and burn it. Blow the ashes and your wish is carried to the universe for manifestation.
Bay leaves are from the laurel tree which thrives in the Mediterranean region. They can be found in most grocery stores as bay leaves sold either fresh or dried. Interestingly the dried bay leaves still look green. Bay leaves are used as a culinary spice in dishes to add flavor.
I love romantic love stories especially those which depict a woman of a strong character, one who is brave and does things out of norm. Whenever I use bay leaves, I am always reminded of a story from a Greek Mythology. There was a beautiful nymph named Daphne, who was pursued relentlessly by Apollo, son of Zeus.
According to Greek mythology Apollo had offended Cupid (god of love).
The upset cupid shot Apollo with a gold arrow filling his heart with love and longing for Daphne but Cupid shot Daphne with a lead arrow filling her heart with hatred for Apollo. A wild goose chase began with Apollo pursuing Daphne and her evading all his advances. Finally Daphne pleaded to Gaea and her father for help and was transformed into a laurel tree. Apollo who loved Daphne, used his powers of eternal youth and immortality to render Daphne evergreen. Hence the leaves of the Bay laurel tree never decay. The laurel tree became sacred to Apollo. The laurel tree leaves were associated with honor and glory, worn by kings, heroes, athletes and used as wreaths during Olympic Games.
My favorite way of using bay leaves is to burn them at my organic salon and I would like to share with you why I like doing it and you may do this in your homes as well. The practice of burning bay leaves hails back more than thousands of years.
You may use a clay or metal bowl or use an aluminum foil and light the bay
leaves. Do not inhale the smoke while burning the bay leaves. A study by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists found that a compound called linalool is released when burning these bay leaves. This compound helps decrease anxiety and promotes relaxation.
The other compounds which are released and become air borne are myrcene and eugenol. Both these compounds contain great anti-inflammatory properties. Once inhaled they will reduce any respiratory inflammation. These compounds also work wonders on those who have allergies or have a bad cold.
Other powerful compounds such as pinene, cineol and elemicin produce a pleasant energy boost and helps relief fatigue and tension.
So every few days, I will burn a handful of bay leaves. This helps create a very relaxing and healing atmosphere. It helps to elevate bad moods, helps muscles relax, and treats insomnia and chronic stress. When you are relaxed in mind and body, healing is accelerated. Hence I discourage clients from using their laptops, hand phones or electronic gadgets during my organic therapy sessions so that they are able to derive the complete benefit of the session.
Experience for yourselves the many benefits of burning bay leaves. Be careful when you are lighting up bay leaves. Never leave the embers unattended. Do not burn the leavers near smoke detectors. Never leave the leaves to burn on their own. Once done dispose the ashes.
With no toxic components or fragrances, burning bay leaves provide a potent remedy and is safe. It is certainly a more pleasant alternative than consuming over the counter remedies. Give it a try 🙂
Gurjit Kaur Sekhon is founder of Simran Beyond Beauty, an organic hair, beauty & waxing spa
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