Ancient Greek mythology relates the tale of the sun god Apollo who pursued the uninterested nymph Daphne. Apollo was relentless until the gods granted her mercy by turning her into a laurel, or bay tree. The Greeks still refer to the tree that bears the bay leaf as Daphne.
The Bay tree has been cultivated since ancient times and was considered a sacred tree because of the myths and legends associating the tree with both Apollo and Zeus. Pythia, Apollo's priestess and Oracle of Delphi, is said to have chewed bay leaves as part of the ritual to foresee the future.
In an earlier era again at Delphi, the sun god Apollo is said to have made a wreath or crown from laurel to signify his victory over slaying the dragon Python. The victory crown was later bestowed upon winning athletes at the Pythian games (at Delphi) and at the Olympian games too.
In ancient Greek history Homer, the ancient Greek writer and philosopher in the epic "Odyssey", mentions bay laurel as a herb and medicine used by Ulysses.
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