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From: United States
Posts: 1000
You can get Bay essential oil from most good aromatherapy shops, it's quite common and is from Pimenta Racemosa which is a plant that cannot tolerate any freezing temperature and therefore is unlikely to be found in most of northern europe. It is a very sweet smelling plant and the oil is similar to a clove/cinnamon smell.

Apparently the history is that sailors making long journeys to the Caribbean got in to the habit of rubbing themselves all over with this bush (Pimenta Racemosa) that was abundant on the islands not only because of the sweet smell, but also because it had strong action against lice and other skin pests that could build up during weeks of sailing. The scent was so popular that a practice of steeping the leaves in rum which was being produced there to form a tonic for the skin & hair that became more complex as the makers added citrus and other spices. It then became exported to barber shops to form the Bay Rum we know today.

Bay laurel is a well know herb for cooking with and is not related.

My favourite is the Ogallala, but knowing the history and the scents involved, I don't think it's a very authentic one! It's witch hazel formula is very kind to the skin (70% rum is not!) - and the scent is lovely. My favourite is the one with Sandalwood added.

Anyway - if you get some oil and some rum then it is pretty easy to make something fairly original smelling if you want to, there are "recipes" out there on the net.



Another eaten reply. Anyway, when I last checked, I think I saw that Ogallala used bay laurel.

Witch hazel is also good. It's another "new" world plant. I use Thayer's.

My wife bought some bay tree essential oil and made some soap with it. It's quite nice, but the scent does not stay long after the suds are gone.
2011-10-25 20:01