Sweet Bay

What other names is Bay Leaf known by?

Bay, Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Daphne, Grecian Laurel, Laurel, Laurel Común, Laurier d'Apollon, Laurier Noble, Laurier-Sauce, Laurier Vrai, Laurus nobilis, Mediterranean Bay, Noble Laurel, Roman Laurel, True Bay.

What is Bay Leaf?

Sweet bay is an herb. The Greeks made it famous by crowning their heroes with wreathes made out of sweet bay leaves. In addition to decorative use, the leaves and oil are used to make medicine.

Sweet bay is used to treat cancer and gas; stimulate bile flow; and cause sweating.

Some people apply sweet bay to the scalp for dandruff. It is also put on the skin for pain, especially muscle and joint pain (rheumatism).

The fruit and fatty oils of sweet bay are used on the skin to treat boils (furuncles) caused by infected hair follicles.

Veterinarians use sweet bay as an udder ointment.

In food, sweet bay is used as a seasoning in cooking and in processed foods.

In manufacturing, the oil is used in cosmetics, soaps, and detergents.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that taking ground bay leaf twice daily along with medication for diabetes can lower pre-meal blood sugar levels, as well as levels of cholesterol, "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and blood fats called triglycerides in people with diabetes. Also, taking ground bay leaf seems to increase "good" high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels in these people.
  • Cancer.
  • Gas.
  • Stimulating bile flow.
  • Causing sweating.
  • Dandruff, when applied to the skin.
  • Joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), when applied to the skin.
  • Boils, when applied to the skin.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of bay leaf for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


Therapeutic Research Faculty copyright

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors