THE bay is a native of Spain and Italy, where it grows to a large tree: we keep it in gardens, but it seldom rises to more than the figure and height of a shrub with us. The wood is not strong but spongy and friable; the leaves remain green all winter; the bark of the large branches is of a dusky brown, that of the twigs reddish; the leaves are long and somewhat broad, pointed at the end and very fragrant: the flowers are very small and inconsiderable; their colour is whitish, they appear in May, but are not regarded: the berries are ripe in the latter end of autumn, and are large and black, consisting of two parts within the same skin.
The berries are dried, and are the part of the tree mostly used; but the leaves also have great virtue. The berries are given in powder or in fusion; they are good in obstructions, and in cholics. They promote urine, and the evacuations after delivery. The leaves are cordial and good in all nervous complaints. Paralytic people would find great benefit from small doses of them often repeated; and four or five doses have sometimes cured agues. They are to be put fresh into an oven, and, when they are crisp, reduced to powder.
The Family Herbal, 1812, was written by John Hill.