I know you are all just holding your breath to find out what the Herb of the Year is for 2009. Bay Laurel. Here's a great site I just discovered to find out about it and what you can do with it. It focuses on the Herb of the Year.
The site also has recipes for Calendula - which has been the Herb of the Year for 2008.
They select an herb if it has useful properties in 2 of 3 categories - culinary, medicinal or craft. They say Bay is used in only 2, not including medicinal. Then they proceed to tell you some of the medicinal properties.
As you can see from my Etsy shop, Bay Rum is made from Bay and I use it in my North Bay Rum. I used the California Bay also known as Pepperwood.
It is easy to make although time-consuming. The process takes a few months. I caution you when making anything out of Bay, wear a face mask! It has the amazing property of loosening mucus you didn't know you had. Within a few minutes of grinding it up in my food processor, I had streams coming out of my nose, eyes and mouth. It was very unpleasant. However, I learned that if I ever have intense congestion, I merely have to crumple up a Bay leaf and breathe deeply to be almost instantly cleared up.