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Bay - Ingredient Highlight

Posted by Bre-Ana Brown on 6th Aug 2019

"The Bay leaves are of as necessary use as any other in the garden or orchard, for they serve both for pleasure and profit, both for ornament and for use, both for honest civil uses and for physic, yea, both for the sick and the sound, both for the living and the dead; . . . so that from the cradle to the grave we still have use of it, we still have need of it." -Parkinson, ‘Garden of Flowers’ (1629) How can one plant have so many uses as mentioned in the above quote? Let us dig in and find out!

Bay leaves are leaves (obviously) taken from the Laurus nobilis also known as the Bay Tree, Simply Bay, Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay and a few other names as well. This species grows in the Mediterranean region. It is an evergreen shrub or small tree. You guys… it can get HUGE! Sometimes they can get up to 23-59 feet tall! To help grasp that height the average residential house is roughly 30 feet tall. Another species of “bay” Pimenta racemosa is a species of plant in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) that is native to the Caribbean region. Common names include West Indian bay tree, bay rum tree, and ciliment.

Bay leaves are used in aromatherapy to help relieve inflammation. One study showed that bay leaf selectively inhibited COX-2 and iNOS enzymes which are known inflammation triggers.

While there maybe know health benefits of Bay, we use it to make the traditional Bay Rum scent. The history of bay rum is as manly as it smells. As the story goes (https://www.artofmanliness.com) “Sailors in the 16th century discovered that the West Indies bay leaf made a great perfume to freshen up and mask the stink they acquired while being stuck on a ship for months. To apply the scent to themselves, the sailors would rub the dry leaves on their body, thus leaving the fragrant oil on their skin. While sailors were rubbing leaves on themselves, farmers were cultivating boat-loads of sugar to be shipped back to Europe. A few enterprising plantation slaves discovered that molasses, a by-product of sugar, could be fermented into a sweet alcoholic beverage. Brewers on the islands took the slaves’ crude recipe, distilled it, and made it 10 times stronger, thus creating the rum we know today.Tired of having to rub bay leaves on himself like a weirdo, some sailor got the idea that rum would make a great liquid to steep the bay leaves in to extract their essential oils and make an easy-to-apply cologne. And with that, bay rum was born.”

Our proprietary Bay Rum scent comes from a mix of pure essential oils; producing the “old-school” scent, that grandpa used.