Bay Laurel Essential Oils: keeping The immune system healthy
by Tonya Banbury
Essential oils [EO] are highly concentrated compounds extracted from plants. Playing a very important role in plant metabolism, EOs serve to attract beneficial insects as pollinators, which ensures plant survival and defense against harmful microorganisms. EOs allow plants to send and receive signals and communicate with one another. As gardeners, these statements are no stretch for our belief systems—we are well aware of the powers inherent in the plant kingdom.
Advanced Aromatherapy: The Science of Essential Oil Therapy by Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD
Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Emily Via of Emily's Oils and Essentials, Leydet, LLC at www.eoils.net.
Aromatherapy is the art and science of using Essential Oils for healing a choice which offers us the opportunity to assume more responsibility for our own health and well-being. Generally speaking, we’re probably more familiar with the role EOs play in the cosmetic industry. Through my own search for natural body care products that eliminated harmful chemicals and animal testing, I became a huge fan of the delicate but complex fragrances of Lavender and Lemongrass. Influenced by my massage therapist, I’m beginning to understand the importance of EOs for healing both mind and body.
Keeping the immune system healthy
The first of the EOs in this series is Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis—the same herb we find so useful in the kitchen for punching up the savory flavors in soups and stews. In aromatherapy, however, its main effect is as an anti-infective. Used mostly as an inhalant for the respiratory system, it is a mucolytic and expectorant as well as an immune system stimulant. Although no scientific studies exist on the medical effects of Bay Laurel, its positive effects on the lymphatic system are undeniable. Rubbing just a few drops of Bay Laurel on swollen lymph nodes produces an immediately noticeable relieving effect. Why is that important? The lymph system, basically the body’s sewer system, is a component of our immune system. When the body is processing a lot of waste the nodes or intersections of that system tend to swell, clog up and become painful to the touch; waste processing slows down. Quite the focus of our attention these days is H1N1, the flu variant that has scientists scratching their heads.
Here’s some advice from Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD: “Frequent use of bay laurel oil on the skin over long periods of time (e.g., longer than 3 weeks) can result in sensitization and irritability. For a healthy body, one application weekly is an effective preventive measure. During flu season it can be applied more frequently. After the acute phase of the illness is over it's advisable to take a break from using Bay Laurel.” TB 2010
Tonya Banbury is an Extension Master Gardener Volunteer with Mecklenburg County, NC. Her series of articles on Medicinal Herbs: Essential Oils is based upon documented research and personal usage experience.