Discover the 5 shocking health benefits of bay leaves.
When you think of bay leaf, you immediately remember the aroma of delicious Italian food cooked on the stove.
This herb has been around for centuries for medicinal purposes, as well as to flavor cooking with a distinctive salty flavor or fragrance for meats, soups, and stews, and even as an ingredient in a cologne known as bay rum, you can find the leaf of bay leaf in cosmetics, soaps, and detergents as well, but beyond that, the benefits of bay leaf are quite recognized worldwide.
Bay leaf is remarkable for its many health benefits, such as helping to treat cancer, gas and bloating, and digestion.
There is even some evidence that it can help treat dandruff, muscle and joint pain, and skin infections, although more research is needed to confirm those uses.
Find out how to use this ancient herb to get some of these amazing benefits.
Bay leaf benefits, including bay leaf essential oil, offer antimicrobial and antioxidant benefits.
A study conducted at North Carolina State University of Agriculture and Technology focused on the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of specific essential oils of white wormwood, rose-scented geranium, and bay laurel in fresh produce against Salmonella and E. coli.
All three essential oils showed antioxidant properties, with the highest activity occurring in bay laurel essential oil.
Bay leaf has been shown to provide antifungal properties. A study was conducted to demonstrate the antifungal potential of the essential oil of bay laurel against candida.
In the study, bay laurel disrupted candida’s adhesion to cell walls, thus reducing its ability to penetrate the membrane, making it a great addition to the candida diet to combat this condition.
In addition to fighting candida, bay leaf has been used as an extract and in a poultice to heal wounds in rats.
While it was not as effective in healing wounds as quickly or as effectively as Allamanda cathartica. L . extract, bay laurel extract showed better wound healing compared to the control group.
The evaluation of the use of laurel extracts showed that both the leaves and the fruits were potent against the cellular models of breast cancer.
The study notes that bay leaf is a potential natural agent for breast cancer therapy by comparing the cells that were induced with the extracts and those that were not.
Cell death occurred in those that were induced, making bay leaf a possible natural cancer treatment option.
Additional research suggests that it may help fight colorectal cancer.
In vitro studies were carried out using extracts of bay leaf against colon cancer cell growth, using a process of incorporation of ingredients, such as bay leaf in food, the results showed the potential for regulatory properties colon cancer, demonstrating its relevance for protection against colorectal cancer during the early stages of detection.
The benefits of bay leaf may help reduce the levels of sugar in the blood.
Research suggests that when taking ground bay leaves twice a day, blood sugar levels and cholesterol (LDL) levels dropped in study participants.
It is important to note that this study included the regular medication that the subjects were using for diabetes.
However, the benefits were positive, which also shows that it increases good cholesterol (HDL).
Additional research reveals that bay leaf benefits can improve insulin function.
The study was conducted to determine whether bay leaves can help prevent and eliminate type 2 diabetes.
Forty people were given varying amounts of bay leaf, in capsule form, per day for 30 days.
All amounts reduced serum glucose and total cholesterol, but there were no significant changes in the placebo group.
The overall result shows that regular consumption of bay leaves can help lower risk factors for diabetes and even cardiovascular disease.
Bay leaves can have an impact on the gastrointestinal system by promoting urination, which helps to release toxins in the body.
Inside bay leaves are certain organic compounds that contain enzymes that can help eliminate an upset stomach and calm irritable bowel syndrome, reducing bloating and gas.
In some cases, it is known to decrease celiac disease symptoms as well.
In general, bay leaf can provide great relief by enhancing the digestion process and thereby increasing nutrient absorption.
One tablespoon (two grams) of the shredded bay leaf contains approximately:
• 5.5 calories
• 1.3 grams of carbohydrates
• 0.1 grams of protein
• 0.1 grams of fat
• 0.5 grams of fiber
• 0.1-milligram manganese (7 percent DV)
• 0.8 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
• 108 IU vitamin A (2 percent DV)
When shopping, look for dried bay leaves that have no blemishes, making sure there are no cracks or tears.
If you’re looking to buy fresh bay leaves, look for ones that are bright green and waxy in color, while allowing for a fold and twist without breaking.
You can cook using the whole bay leaf, but be sure to remove the whole bay leaves from your plate before serving to avoid choking.
While Turkish bay laurel is the most popular, if you opt for California bay leaves, use about half the amount a recipe calls for as it is generally stronger in flavor.
Store the bay leaves by sealing them tightly, such as in a mason jar with a tight-fitting lid. If stored properly, the dried leaves can last up to two years.
Bay leaf benefits refer to various plants, including bay laurel, California laurel, Indian laurel, Indonesian laurel or Indonesian laurel, West Indian laurel, and Mexican bay leaf.
However, Turkish bay leaves are the most commonly used type of the ancient tree, Laurus nobilis.
It seems that various references to the laurel species of this aromatic plant may cause some confusion regarding the true bay leaf, but to be a true bay leaf it must have come from the Laurus nobilis tree. It can also be called bay laurel or sweet bay.
The tree is an evergreen tree of the Lauraceae family, native to the Mediterranean. The baby leaf is delicately fragrant with a bitter taste and contains about 2 percent essential oil.
It is more common to use the dry version of the whole leaf when cooking, then remove the leaf from the plate before serving.
The bay leaf dates back to ancient times when laurel wreaths were made to crown victorious athletes in ancient Greece, which inspired the famous crown for winners of the Boston Marathon and the Olympic Games.
In addition, it was Nike, also known as Victoria, and the origin of the name of the well-known Nike sneaker, who led the way of the laurel wreath to adorn the heads of athletes around the world.
Representing the goddess of strength, speed, victory, glory, and fame, Nike flew across the battlefields rewarding the winners with the now-famous wreath of laurel leaves (laurel leaves).
Due to its menthol-like fragrance, it was called Baywood pepperwood by early European settlers.
The Salinan Indians created a poultice to help those suffering from seizures by combining bay leaves with cinnamon, nutmeg, and olive oil, and some tribes placed a single leaf in the nostril to cure headaches.
It was even used to attract deer by some hunters. And let’s not forget the fun of the Karok Indian children throwing the leaves into the fire to make a firecracker sound.
While this herb is common in food preparation, you should use caution when cooking with the whole bay leaf.
It’s important to remember to remove it from your sauces and stews to prevent someone from choking on it.
If in doubt, go for the dry and ground version. The leaf itself is easily lodged, so it is best not to eat it.
That is why this herb is used in cooking and is normally removed, in this way, you can improve the flavor and aroma without having to consume the entire leaf.
Although it is rare, if you do notice any type of allergic reaction, seek help when you need it, as some people are allergic to bay laurel.
Bay leaf is a classic spice that can be that special ingredient in almost any dish. The addition of spices not only adds delicious flavor but can also offer many health benefits;
For example, bay leaves or the essential oil derived from them have been shown to help prevent candida, heal wounds, fight cancer, and aid digestion.
In addition, they are useful in diabetics because of the evidence that they can help control blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
This herb also has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and while more research is needed to confirm efficacy, evidence shows that it can help treat dandruff, muscle and joint pain, and skin infections.
As you can see, this herb can do quite a bit. If you haven’t cooked with bay leaf, start with small amounts.
You can divide the bay leaves in half or use the fresh or ground versions, and start getting the great taste and benefits this herb has to offer.