Did you know ?

Bay rum is a rubbing lotion widely used in the West Indies. It is made from rum and the leaves of a Pimenta racemosa plant (commonly called Indian wood in the West Indies but also laurel in other countries). 

It is an aromatic plant of which one of the  Pimenta dioica species  originates from the island of  Jamaica.  

It is part of the Myrtaceae family. Its leaves and berries are used as spices, it has medicinal properties. In addition, its leaves, fragrant (if you rub a leaf on your skin, it gives off a slightly lemony smell) and containing an oily substance are used in the preparation of dishes or in tea. 

Why the name bay rum? (brief explanation)

The oil extracted from the   leaves is known as essence of indian wood or essential oil of bay. Rum was a good preservative of this oil hence bay rum.

The history of bay rum?

In the 16th century,  British ships criss-crossed the   islands of the Caribbean and loaded   and unloaded   the holds of boats with spices, foodstuffs, rum, medicinal plants, etc. As it was hot, the sailors were sweating a lot, there were many of them and the smells were starting to appear and inevitably it was becoming unbearable for them.  The idea was to use an old technique by   macerating the leaves of Indian wood with rum and then rubbing the body with the preparation.

The origin of bay rum?

 In Antiquity, to mask odors, a technique of perfumery was used which was infusion. To extract plant aromas and perfumes, flowers were mixed with a solvent (oil or alcohol). This mixture was brought to the boil in a tank  and then cooled. Then, we left to infuse for at least 6 months in the same vat. 

This technique used only the leaves, flowers and stems because these parts of the plant included volatile and aromatic substances that were easy to extract.

Currently, it is no longer used because it is considered too expensive.

Making Bay rum?

30g of India wood leaves in a liter of rum at 70°C called “Rum spirit”.

Use of bay rum?

We can say that bay rum is a versatile product. And because of its very strong smell, we use essential oils of cloves, cinnamon, citrus fruits, etc., to mask it.

Its use is multiple:

        – Lotion to relieve muscle pain

        – Lotion to treat rheumatism (anti-inflammatory)

        – Lotion for hair to stimulate growth

        – Aftershave lotion

        – Cologne _

        – Lotion for the beard to give it suppleness

        – Deodorant _

        – Mosquito repellent lotion for adults

Other products, based on rum, exist in particular for blood circulation by using cloves instead of logs of India. But that’s another story!!

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