Why it is important to use the bay leaf in cooking and what are the benefits of a bay leaf? If you want to know the answer to these questions you are in the right place.
We will introduce you with the health benefits of bay leaf and also the side effects. In the end, you can find a recipe for delicious cinnamon nay leaf tea.
What Is Bay Leaf?
It is the aromatic leaf that comes from several plants, including bay laurel, Indian bay leaf plant, Indonesian laurel, or the West Indian bay tree.
The leaves have a sharp and bitter taste, though we don’t recommend eating them. The leaf is primarily used for its fragrance more than its taste.
In addition to the fragrance, the leaf also has some important benefits.
Health Benefits of Bay Leaf
It is thought that bay leaves have a very strong effect on the gastrointestinal system, both stimulating urination as a diuretic, which decreases the toxicity of the body and also stimulates vomiting (as an emetic) when something toxic has been consumed.
Furthermore, the organic compounds found in bay leaves are very effective for settling upset stomachs, soothing irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or even lessening the symptoms of Celiac disease.
Some of the more complex proteins in our modern diet can be difficult to digest, but the unique enzymes found in bay leaves help facilitate efficient digestion and nutrient intake.
However, more research is needed focusing on the effects of bay leaves to truly prove their efficacy on digestion.
Read More: 13 Ways To Keep Your Gut Healthy As You Age
Treat Respiratory Conditions
When the essential oil of bay leaves is extracted, it can be mixed into a salve and applied to the chest to help alleviate various respiratory conditions.
This can also be achieved with a poultice made of the leaves. Spread it on the chest and allow it to remain overnight.
Inhaling the vapor has a similar effect to aromatherapy and can loosen up the phlegm and eliminate dangerous bacteria that may be trapped in your respiratory tracts, thanks to its natural antibacterial quality.
Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Linalool is often associated with thyme and basil, but it is also present in bay leaves.
This compound can help lower the level of stress hormones in the body, especially when used in aromatherapy. Excess stress hormones can be dangerous for long-term health, so bay leaves can help you calm down and remain relaxed even in your high-anxiety moments.
Read More: Stress Relieving Tips – How To Reduce Stress
Can Help Combat Cancer
A study conducted on human cancer cell lines concluded that bay leaf extract showed promising results as an anticancer agent.
Cineole, the main compound in bay leaves, was found to suppress the growth of leukemia cancer cell lines.
Bay leaf was also found to be effective in breast cancer therapy. The study found that the leaf extract induced cell death in breast cancer cell lines.
In an Australian study, incorporating ingredients into foods (of which bay leaf is one) had shown positive results in the prevention of colon cancer.
Read More: Colorectal Cancer Symptoms and Causes
Aids Diabetes Treatment
Studies show that bay leaves can help people with type 2 diabetes. In addition to rendering flavor to foods, bay leaves were also found to play a role in glucose metabolism.
Bay leaves had also reduced bad cholesterol levels and increased levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) in patients with type 2 diabetes.
May Aid Wound Healing
In rat studies, a bay leaf was found to contribute to better wound healing than the control group of animals.
Though it didn’t fare better than Allamanda in terms of healing wounds, it did show beneficial effects.
The reasons behind these benefits lie in its nutrients.
Side Effects of Bay Leaf
Interaction With Blood Sugar Control
Though bay leaf can help lower blood sugar levels, it may also have some adverse effects. Please consult your doctor if you are already on medications for high blood sugar.
Possible Issues During Surgery
Bay leaf might slow down the central nervous system. This can cause problems during surgery (due to the use of anesthesia). Please stop using the bay leaf at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Possible Issues During Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
There is no reliable information on the safety of consuming bay leaf during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Hence, stay safe and avoid use.
Cinnamon Bay Leaf Tea Recipe
A simple soothing bay leaf tea to boost immune function.
- 4-5 dried bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick (or 1 tsp ground cinnamon)
- 1 liter of water
Make It Like So
Add leaves and cinnamon to the water and simmer for about 20 minutes. For a weaker brew, chop up the fresh or dry leaves, pour hot water over and allow them to steep.
Conclusion: As you can see from all mentioned above in this article the health benefits of bay leaf are numerous.
From cancer-fighting herb through reducing stress and anxiety. If you don’t use bay leaf till now in your cooking process you should start adding to your healthy meals.
And yes, don’t forget to remove from the dish before eating.