Smudging is a Native American tradition that purifies an area by the use of sacred herbs, similar to burning incense.
Often this means sage, but other herbs can be used – including our favorites, bay leaves.
Bay leaves have been a things of legends for millennia: whether its incontestable role in Greek and Roman folklore or its steady presence in Indian and Caribbean culture and cuisine, this herb has withstood the test of time – including use in creams, detergents, lotions, perfumes, and soaps.*
We recommend burning bay leaves to reset your emotional state at home, as bay leaves can relax your mind, calm your muscles, and aid in focus.
Why Burn Bay Leaves
Bay leaves have been a things of legends for millennia: whether its incontestable role in Greek and Roman folklore or its steady presence in Indian and Caribbean culture and cuisine, this herb has withstood the test of time.
But bay leaves aren’t just used in food and fairytales, the herb is commonly used as a fragrance ingredient in creams, lotions, perfumes, soaps, and detergents.*
Traditionally, the leaf is used as a sedative, analgesic, anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory, The herb also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and lowers both blood pressure and heart rate. It’s often used to help treat insomnia, chronic stress and to alter mood (2).
As a culinary herb, bay leaf can help manage glucose levels and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes and prevent kidney stones (3). Taken as a tea, bay leaf can prevent the growth and spread of Leukemia and cause apoptosis in other cancerous cells (4).
How To Use Bay Leaves
Of course, there’s nothing stopping you from cooking with this herb to get these benefits, just make sure you remove the leaves before serving, as they can be a chocking hazard.
However, if you’re feeling stressed or you’re a bad mood, simply burn a leaf or two in an aluminum baking tray in your room or office and leave for ten minutes.
Make sure you close the windows (a breeze could knock it over), keep the tray away from anything flammable (like paper, wood, or linens) and make sure you’re not burning it under a smoke detector.
When you come back inside, the smoke of the herb will make your mind and muscles feel more relaxed and you’ll find it easier to focus on your task at hand. When you’re done, dispose of the ashes outside.
*Editor’s note: please note there’s an important distinction between bay laurel leaves that are used in cooking, burning or warding off pests – and the type of bay used in perfumes colognes and shaving creams, referred to as bay rum. Two totally different things. I need to make this distinction so that you don’t make aftershave that smells like a stew!
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