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Laurel – the Plant of Glory and Prosperity

Laurel, known as Daphne Apollonius, is an evergreen aromatic shrub or small tree with dense, smooth, greyish stems. It can be found in the Mediterranean and throughout Greece. Among the plants associated with antiquity and mysticism, the role of the laurel takes on great importance as it symbolizes victory, glory and spiritual evolution.

Let’s learn more about this special plant.


Laurel – the plant that Apollo fell in love with

Let’s take a trip back in time…

In ancient times, the laurel was considered a sacred plant and was dedicated to the god of divination, Apollo. According to mythology, Daphne was a young nymph and daughter of the river god Pinios. When the god Apollo first saw her, he fell in love with her at first sight, but she rejected him. Apollo, however, did not give up easily and chased her among the trees. Daphne, however, in order to escape from him, prayed to her father to help her. He heeded her call and transformed her into a tree that would take root on the riverbank. So, Apollo cut some branches and made a wreath to remember her forever.

After the god’s favourite nymph was transformed into the eponymous plant, she became almost an integral part of Delphi, where divination was performed. The most famous prophecies of Pythia of Mandeion were accompanied by the consumption of laurel leaves.

Apart from Apollo, laurel was also dedicated to the god of medicine, Asclepius, because of its medicinal properties. At the same time, it was a symbol of wisdom and poetry, as there are references to it even in Homer’s Odyssey.



Picture by: hdagli

The symbolism of the laurel

Α plant that is worth great honors…

Did you know that the laurel was and still is the plant of glory and prosperity? More generally, its symbolism is varied and is associated with various spiritual, historical and cultural elements. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the laurel’s symbolism:

Victory and Conquest.

It symbolized victory, honor and glory. In particular, laurel wreaths were a sign of honour and recognition for the winners of games, such as the Olympic Games. It was a way to recognize success and honor those who excelled in sport, art or politics. Today, laurel wreaths are placed on graves and statues to honour important people, and Orthodox churches are decorated with laurel on Palm Sunday.

Spiritual Awakening and Knowledge

Laurel in the ancient Greek tradition had special significance in the spiritual world. One of the most famous examples is its relationship with Pythia. According to mythology, Pythia, the priestess of the Oracle of Delphi, when she had to predict the future or give advice to the Greek world, she chewed laurel leaves. The inhalation of incense from burning the leaves, combined with their consumption, was the ‘secret’ of her delirium. Thanks to them she could see her oracles.

This practice reflects the deeper symbolism of laurel as a means of accessing deeper, spiritual truths. Most likely, the plant represents knowledge, attunement to the spiritual world, and the ability to “see” beyond everyday reality.


The importance of bay laurel in medicine

In traditional medicine, apart from its mythological and cultural significance, bay laurel has been used for thousands of years in alternative healing methods. In fact, they used its leaves to make essential oils where they were intended for therapeutic purposes.

The medicinal properties of this plant were a valuable resource for physicians of antiquity. In particular, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties. Many physicians believed that bay laurel essential oil could be used to relieve stomach disorders such as spasms, indigestion, and inflammation of the digestive area.

However, before using bay laurel for therapeutic purposes, it is advisable to consult an expert.

Some other known uses of bay laurel

Bay leaves are one of the most famous herbs used in cooking. Their intense and intoxicating aroma gives a unique flavour to a variety of dishes. Its leaves can be used in cooking both fresh and dried. They are an excellent accompaniment to lentils and seafood such as octopus. Adding them to meat recipes enhances aromas and flavours, giving your culinary creations a distinctive character every time.

On the other hand, bay leaves are also used in the production of essential oils used in aromatherapy for rejuvenation and stress relief. Finally, they are added to cosmetics because of their beneficial properties for the skin.


Beyond history and mythology, bay laurel continues to exert its charm in the modern world. With scientific research revealing its natural properties and health benefits, bay laurel is finding more and more new fans in the field of phytotherapy and nutrition.

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