Bay leaves have a long history that began in ancient Greece and Rome, where citizens believed that bay leaves had healing properties. Consequently, they used bay leaves to make wreaths to honor their gods. Victorious athletes and celebrated poets were also crowned with the leaves of the bay laurel tree. The ancient Egyptians used bay leaves for medicinal purposes and for making perfumes. In ancient India, bay leaves played a role in Ayurvedic medicine. Later, bay leaves were used for cooking in medieval Europe. Bay leaves have also been used for cooking for centuries in many Middle Eastern cuisines. Thanks to their aromatic and flavorful properties, they are still used for cooking in many cultures today as well as in the production of many scented soaps and perfumes. Dried bay leaves are particularly common in the modern age and are widely available in many parts of the world.