Bay leaf not only has medicinal properties but is also used in cooking. The freshly dried bay leaves have a warm aroma, which is infused into cooking. The leaf is crushed before being used. The leaf is used for flavoring stews, dishes that need a long time to cook and soups. However, it is removed from the dish before serving.
The aroma of the leaves is much more noticeable than the taste. The fragrance of the dried leaf is herbal and floral.
Bay leaves have a very strong effect on the gastrointestinal system, both stimulating urination as a diuretic, which decreases the toxicity of the body, but also stimulating 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, or even lessening the symptoms of Celiac’s 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 to facilitate efficient digestion and nutrient intake.
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 vapors has a similar effect to aromatherapy and can loosen up phlegm and eliminate dangerous bacteria that may be trapped in your respiratory tracts thanks to its natural antibacterial quality.
If you want to improve the health of your hair follicles and eliminate dandruff, steep bay leaves in water and then rub that on your scalp after shampooing. The chemicals and volatile ingredients in bay leaves can help to eliminate dry skin and dandruff.
One of the most important benefits of bay leaves is their ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Bay leaves contain a rather unique phytonutrient, called parthenolide, which can quickly reduce inflammation and irritation when topically applied to affected areas, such as sore joints or areas affected by arthritis. This effect can also be achieved through normal consumption of bay leaf spice.
Caffeic acid and rutin are both important organic compounds found in bay leaf that greatly boost heart health. Rutin strengthens capillary walls in the heart and the body’s extremities, while caffeic acid can help eliminate “bad” cholesterol from the cardiovascular system.
The unique combination of antioxidants and organic compounds in bay leaves, including phytonutrients, catechins, linalool, and parthenolide, helps to protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Free radicals can cause healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells, which bay leaves are particularly adept at preventing.
Anxiety and Stress
One of the least commonly known benefits of bay leaves is their naturally soothing quality. Linalool is often associated with thyme and basil, but it is also present in bay leaves and can help tolower 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 most high-anxiety moments.
Bay leaves have been directly connected with improved insulin receptor function and regulated blood sugar levels. For patients at risk of developing diabetes or for those who have already developed the condition, regular consumption of bay leaves can significantly lower the chances of diabetic episodes.