Bay leaves have many health benefits. Because bay leaf is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. Bay leaf tea can help reduce upset stomach problems. The tea is also very aromatic, which can help relieve sinus pressure or a stuffy nose. Here we are going to discuss this in more detail.
Health Benefits of Bay Leaves
Bay leaf (also known as bay leaf) is a spice commonly used to flavor soups and meat dishes because of its mild, herbaceous flavor. It is sometimes sold in stores as a powder or a fresh leaf, but it is usually available as a dried, whole leaf. Bay leaves are added during the cooking process and taken out before serving a dish as the leaves themselves are difficult to chew and digest. Contrary to popular myth, bay leaves are not poisonous.
The humble bay leaf can pack a powerful punch when it comes to health benefits. While adding minimal calories, bay leaves increase the amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in a dish.
According to a review, bay leaf significantly affects the gastrointestinal system. So apart from adding a great taste and flavor to your food, they facilitate digestion by providing relief from stomach aches, gastrointestinal infections, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Also, the organic compounds found in bay leaves are beneficial in relieving stomach upset and irritable bowel syndrome.
Using bay leaves in your dishes will increase the absorption of nutrients and help your body function better. Besides, bay leaf oil and bay leaf tea are good for digestive problems.
AIDS kidney health
Bay leaves can act as a diuretic and improve kidney health. They are said to stimulate urination, thus reducing toxins in your body. A study suggests that bay leaves can help prevent kidney stones by reducing the amount of urea in the body. Also, bay leaves help remove excess sodium from the body due to their diuretic properties.
Improves heart health
According to a study, bay leaves improve heart health due to two important organic compounds, rutin and caffeic. Rutin strengthens the capillary walls of the heart, while caffeic acid plays a role in removing LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
Helps control diabetes
Bay leaves can manage and treat diabetes by lowering your body’s blood sugar levels and increasing the effectiveness of insulin. Also, the phytochemicals found in bay leaves may prevent diabetes symptoms by improving insulin receptor function.
A research study has reported that regular consumption of bay leaves can help fight type 2 diabetes.
Antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids in bay leaves help lower blood cholesterol and uric acid levels. Also, the antioxidant properties found in bay leaf extract include phenolic compounds. These phytochemicals help protect against oxidative stress caused by free radicals, preventing liver and stomach damage.
Relieves respiratory conditions
Bay leaf benefits the respiratory system. Bay leaf essential oil can be extracted, mixed, and applied to the chest to help relieve various respiratory infections and disorders. Similarly, a poultice can be made using the leaves and applied on the chest for a night. It works along the lines of aromatherapy and can loosen phlegm and eliminate harmful microorganisms that may be stuck in your respiratory tract.
Has anticancer properties
Bay leaves have anti-cancer properties. A study reported that bay leaf extract can facilitate apoptosis to kill cancer cells, thus preventing cancer. Also, bay leaf’s unique combination of antioxidants and organic compounds inhibits the growth of breast and colorectal cancer cells and protects your body from the effects of cancer-causing free radicals.
Provides antimicrobial protection
Bay leaves provide antimicrobial properties along with antibacterial and antifungal protection. Bay leaves are effective against many infections from fungi, bacteria, and protozoa. Also, studies have shown its essential oil to be effective against various foodborne microorganisms. These properties, along with their ascorbic acid or vitamin C content, can protect the skin from any infection and irritation.
Reduces inflammation and enhances wound healing
Bay leaves have been used to heal wounds for ages. Its extract is applied around the injury to reduce inflammation. Also, bay leaf oil is gaining importance due to its anti-inflammatory activity. Massaging the joints with bay leaf oil helps relieve and manage rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, drinking bay leaf tea helps reduce joint pain and inflammation.
Fights fungal infections
Bay leaves provide antifungal properties, which can fight against fungal conditions. Its vitamin C content along with these properties can protect the skin from any kind of infection and irritation.
Solves hair problems
Bay leaves have properties that can do wonders for your hair and lead to hair growth. All you need to do to get rid of dandruff is to soak bay leaf in water and then rub it on your scalp after shampooing.
Nutritional value of bay leaves
Bay leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, and manganese.
A crushed tablespoon of the bay leaf contains:
- 5.5 calories
- Protein: .1 gm
- Fat: .1 g
- Carbohydrates: 1.3 g
Uses of bay leaves
The classical use of bay leaves is as an essential ingredient in soups, stews and stuffing. Furthermore, it is an important ingredient in tea, oil and wine. Also, it has been used as herbal medicine against numerous ailments for thousands of years. Apart from culinary and medicinal uses, bay leaves have various applications. Some other benefits of bay leaves are listed below:
Reduces stress and anxiety
The aromatic fumes of bay leaves have a natural sedative quality as they clear the air and affect a person’s mood. Burning a few bay leaves in a fire can be a natural remedy for depression and anxiety.
Bay leaves are also a popular ingredient in aromatherapy. The antioxidant linalool in bay leaves helps reduce stress hormone levels in the body and helps you calm down.
Improves hair health
Bay leaves can improve your hair health and promote hair growth. Soak bay leaves in water and rub them on your scalp after shampooing. The ingredients in the bay leaf can help you get rid of dry skin and dandruff, thus being effective in hair regrowth and preventing hair loss.
Helps induce sleep
The sedative properties of bay leaves can help induce sleep. When consumed at bedtime, bay leaves can act as a mild sedative, affecting the central nervous system. It reduces anxiety, promotes relaxation, and induces sleep. You can mix a few drops of bay leaf extract with water and consume them when you have trouble sleeping.
The lauric acid present in bay leaves makes them an excellent insect repellent. Furthermore, the application of a paste made of crushed leaves and a small amount of oil provides relief from bites and stings.
Its oil is essential in the cosmetic industry for soaps, perfumes, and dental products. Bay leaf oil is a hair tonic that effectively removes dandruff and hair loss. It can be a part of various natural skin care herbal treatments.
The chemicals in the air fresheners on the market are harmful to your health, especially for children. So it is better to use natural air fresheners like bay leaves to remove odors from your house. You can achieve this by burning two to three bay leaves in an ashtray and wafting the smoke around the house. The smoke and smell from burning will bring a natural aroma and purify the environment of your home.
Bay leaf side effects
Bay leaves are generally safe to eat. However, it is essential to discard the leaf from the dish before serving to avoid choking. Its rigid texture and sharp edges make it difficult to chew and digest. Bay leaves should not be used by pregnant women. Additionally, consuming large amounts of bay leaves can cause drowsiness. So don’t put the whole leaf in your mouth.
Bay leaf-related questions and answers
Q. What does bay leaf cure?
A. Bay leaves have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties. It can cure diabetes, cancer, gastrointestinal problems, and fungal infections. However, there is insufficient scientific data to support these claims.
Q. Is drinking bay leaf water good for you?
A. Yes, drinking bay leaf water is good for you as it is an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins and other essential minerals. Also, drinking bay leaf water can improve your immune system, increase the body’s metabolism and help you lose weight.
Q. Can I drink bay leaf tea every day?
A. Yes. Drinking bay leaf tea daily benefits your heart as it is a powerful combination of antioxidants and potassium. Potassium is essential for your heart health, as it helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Additionally, regular consumption of bay leaf tea reduces the risk of diabetes and the incidence of kidney stones.
Q. Is bay leaf bad for you?
A. Bay leaves are generally safe to cook. However, if you take it whole, there is a risk of leaves getting stuck in your food pipe. Therefore, you should remove the leaf from the dish before serving. In excess, bay leaves can even cause drowsiness.
Q. Can bay leaves be boiled and drunk?
A. Yes. All you need to do is cut 2-3 bay leaves into small pieces and add them to a pot of boiling water. Soak the water overnight and strain the water the next day. You can enjoy this refreshing drink in the morning and several times a day, which will boost your metabolism and help you lose weight in a healthy way.
Q. Can bay leaves cure infections?
A. Bay leaf is beneficial against infections due to its antibacterial properties. You can apply bay leaf oil on the skin to treat skin infections. Also, its extract can be used around wounds to reduce inflammation.
Q. Can I drink bay leaf tea at night?
A. If you have trouble sleeping, you can drink bay leaf tea at night. Bay leaves have sedative properties that make them a great sleep aid. Also, when consumed at bedtime, bay leaves can act as a mild sedative, affecting the central nervous system, thus promoting relaxation and inducing sleep.
Q. Is bay leaf tea good for your kidneys?
A. Bay leaf tea can improve your kidney health. They act as diuretics and stimulate urination, thus reducing toxicity in your body. Also, a bay leaf tea can help prevent kidney stones by reducing the amount of urea in the body and removing excess sodium due to its diuretic properties.
Q. Is bay leaf medicinal?
A. Yes, bay leaves have had medicinal properties for thousands of years. Bay leaves help in managing various health problems like arthritis, diabetes, cancer, digestive problems, respiratory ailments and infections. Also, you can apply bay leaf oil on the skin for muscle and joint pain and reduce inflammation in the wound.
Q. Does bay leaf burn fat?
A. Bay leaf water or bay leaf extract can help you burn fat. Because it speeds up your body’s metabolism. As a result, it plays an important role in burning fat effectively and preventing fat accumulation in the body.
Q. Is fresh bay leaf better than dried?
A. Dry and powdered bay leaves can be more convenient when cooking food because nutrients are more likely to be absorbed from the crushed form. Furthermore, fresh bay leaves are often expensive and have a shorter shelf life than dried bay leaves.
Q. Is bay leaf bad for your heart?
A. No, bay leaves are good for your heart. They play a role in promoting heart health due to two important organic compounds, rutin and caffeine. Rutin strengthens the capillary walls of the heart, while caffeic acid plays a role in removing LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
Q. What are the side effects of bay leaves?
A. Bay leaves are generally safe to eat. However, it is essential to discard the leaf from the dish before serving to avoid choking. Its rigid texture and sharp edges make chewing and digestion difficult and can also cause drowsiness. Bay leaves should not be used by pregnant women.
Q. Does bay leaf lower blood pressure?
A. Bay leaves can help lower your blood pressure. It contains potassium and antioxidants, which are essential for your heart health, as it helps lower blood pressure. Additionally, it helps reduce bad cholesterol and removes excess sodium from the body, thus managing blood pressure.