Bay essential oil is obtained from the bay tree, an evergreen tree that originated in the West Indies, but is now harvested mostly in Morocco and Spain. The oil is extracted from the fresh leaves of the bay tree through steam distillation. The product is a yellow liquid with a strong spicy fragrance, which resembles that of clove oil.
Bay leaf oil is frequently used in cosmetics and perfumery, specifically in men's personal care products. It also works as a skin toner and can help against razor burns and breakouts on skin. Unlike other plant oils, like rose or geranium oils (which are more "feminine"), its spicy and masculine aroma makes it an excellent choice for mens skin care.
Bay oil, along with thyme oil, also showed antifungal activity. In a 2008 study, out of 26 plant species tested, thyme and bay oils were the most effective against Phytophthora cactorum and Cryponectria parasitica.
Further research has demonstrated the antibacterial effects of bay essential oil, along with 9 other essential oils cinnamon, grapefruit, lemongrass, thyme, clary sage, wintergreen, clove, allspice, and camphor. These oils were tested on methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA). Researchers found that these oils were more efficient in eliminating the bacterial strains than vancomycin, the primary drug used for MRSA and MSSA treatment.
Apply topically with a carrier oil (10% dilution is recommended) or diffuse.
Use caution on those with sensitive skin. Due to its high eugenol content bay oil may be irritating to the skin.
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