December 13



Norman W. Wilson, PhD.

Greek mythologists inform us that Apollo was smitten by the young and lovely nymph, Daphne. Crushed because she refused his passion, he turned her into a tree, and as a memorial to his love; Apollo wore a wreath. Biblically, his gift has been associated with prosperity, and depending on which Biblical translation, it is said to symbolize the Resurrection. What is this special tree? It is Laurel commonly known as bay leaf and as with some other herbs it has a double; the cherry laurel, a shrub, and it is deadly. Over the centuries there have been several significant uses for bay leaf.

Traditionally, churches hung a bunch of bay leaves at their entrances to banish evil spirits. Early civilizations believed bay leaves protected against lightning. Hung in a home it was said to bring good luck. Place a couple of bay leaves under your pillow to bring inspiration and future insights.

There are practical uses for Apollo’s gift. Add a few bay leaves to the bathwater to ease muscle pain. The juice from the bay leaf berries eases the pain of a bee sting. Add a few bay leaves to rose petals and lavender to boiling water to make a facial steam. Be very careful if you do a facial steam. This same combination makes an excellent room refresher.

Speaking of room refreshers, if you are cooking cabbage or cauliflowers and want to reduce their strong odor add a couple of bay leaves.

If you live in an area with significant rainy and damp days and are faced with a mold problem, crush bay leaves and generously sprinkle them in the impacted areas.

As a modern shamanic healer, I use a few bay leaves to help rid a client of negative energy. I place them in my treatment room or add them to a bowl of warm water. If I determine a client is experiencing strong negative energy I will ask them to hold two bay leaves in each hand for five minutes before the treatment session begins. Sometimes I burn bay leaves as incense to help lesson negative energy but also because they are useful as an antiseptic and insecticide.

A caution: Do not ingest bay leaves even if they have been cooked. They remain very coarse and create problems in swallowing and therefore introduce the potentiality of choking.

As with any botanical, I always check with the client if there are issues and urge them to always check with their medical doctor before undertaking the use of any herbals.

©Norman W. Wilson, PhD. 2020

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