In the world of spices, items like turmeric, cayenne pepper, garlic, onion powder, chili powder, paprika and similar spices are often thought of first and foremost.
The bay leaf differs from the above popular spices in that it is often added in the form of an entire leaf to recipes ranging from stews to casseroles to soups, meat dishes, slow cooker recipes and more.
I also noticed recently that bay leaves are used at the Chipotle fast casual restaurant chain as part of the company’s ‘real food ingredients’ pledge.
One of the Chipotle food preparation workers told me recently that they removed a bay leaf from the food I ordered, telling me that you ‘don’t want to eat that.’
As someone who has tasted and enjoyed the slightly bitter, herbal aroma and flavor of bay leaves, also known as bay laurel leaves, in the past, I was surprised to hear them say what they said.
I continued about my day, remembering what I had learned about bay laurel leaves in the past, and thought to myself that this is one leaf that I should start adding to my cooking and home remedies from now on.
Bay Laurel Leaf Health Benefits
Bay laurel leaves have a long list of health benefits and uses in traditional home remedies.
If you can remember your grandmother’s home recipes, you probably tasted bay laurel leaf in her recipes at some point.
Bay laurel leaves are typically added to food fishes to impart flavor upon whatever is being cooked, similar to oregano leaves but in a more prominent way.
According to studies highlighted on the National Institutes of Health website, bay laurel leaves provide a wide variety of health benefits.
According to Dr. Partha Nandi, researchers have found organic compounds with enzymes that may soothe an upset stomach, lessen bloating, lessen gas, and help to reverse, prevent or soothe irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
2. Beneficial for Pregnant Women-
Bay laurel leaves and bay laurel leaf tea are rich in folic acid, a well known prenatal vitamin that can help to protect the fetus and protect an unborn baby from potential congenital disabilities.
Bay laurel leaf essential oil helps to soothe people who may be struggling with aches and pains, including menstrual cramps. It is used for aromatherapy and as an essential oil roll-on.
It is also used in massage therapy sessions because of its ‘spicy, sweet, and deep green aroma.’
Bay laurel essential oil has been described by essential oil practitioners and massage therapy professionals to ‘stimulate and uplift the senses,’ support a healthy respiratory system.
The oil enhances positive moods making it useful for people suffering from depression or those in need of a better sense of well-being.
It is also known by its scientific name ‘Laurus nobilis.’
Bay laurel oil has a ‘sanctifying’ effect similar to myrrh essential oil.
It is also known by the names Sweet Bay, Daphne Leaf, and Moon Laurel.
Try Bay Leaf Essential Oil Here
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4. Improves Insulin Function-
Bay leaves are a healing lifeline for those who suffer from the symptoms of diabetes.
Diabetics have impaired insulin function. Insulin helps to signal the liver to store blood sugar for later use. It ensures that blood sugar enters the body’s cells so it can be used for energy.
A 2016 study published by the journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that one to three grams of bay leaves for 30 days helped to improve insulin function of people with diabetes.
A tea like the one shown above can do wonders for your body’s ability to utilize insulin.
A study published in the research journal Phytotherapy found that bay leaves are packed with a phytonutrient called parthenolide, which quickly reduces inflammation and irritation when applied topically to areas like on the body, especially inflamed joints.
The internal consumption of bay leaf spice may also provide a similar anti-inflammatory effect, the study found.
Final Thoughts on Bay Leaf Health Benefits
The health benefits of bay leaves are incredible which is why they’ve been used so often by so many at-home chefs for so long.
A staple in many types of traditional at-home recipes, bay leaves also are incredibly beneficial when made into a medicinal tea from the whole leaves themselves, or when applied topically in the form of bay leaf essential oil products (try it here).