Every cook master or person that enjoys cooking has heard of bay leaves or laurel leaves. These leaves are typically added to dishes for their pleasant smell.
Apart from their incredible smell and taste, the leaves are also very beneficial for the human body. The leaf’s medicinal properties have been used for centuries from the ancient Greeks to the Romans. Sometimes they were burned inside the houses or places of worship.
Burning the bay leaves can release a calming scent that relaxes the muscles and the mind, cleansing the room from negativity. If you inhale the smoke from the leaves, it won’t put you to sleep but it will release your stress, sharpen your focus, soothe the body, and increase alertness.
Here are 7 beneficial reasons for using bay leaves:
- The leaf can strengthen the capillary walls in the heart using a compound in it called caffeic acid.
- Inhaling bay leaf smoke can treat sinus and breathing issues because it opens the respiratory passages. Rubbing bay leaves on the problematic areas can also help against allergies and asthma.
- Due to their anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties, the essential oil from the bay leaf can be used to reduce pain and tightness.
- It can treat urinary infections if you drink a mix of powdered bay leaves with milk.
- It can lower the overall glucose levels of the body (3 grams of bay leaves daily is enough).
- Treat dandruff by mixing laurel leaves with jojoba oil and applying it onto the scalp. Leave the mixture for an hour for full effect.
- If you have digestive problems, bay leaf can help you because it can accelerate the metabolism.
What is Bay Leaf?
The bay leaf comes from the bay laurel tree and it’s a fragrant leaf that’s typically used as an herb. You can find the bay leaf fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil.
However, there’s not just one variety of bay leaves. The two main culinary varieties are Turkish (or the Mediterranean) and California bay leaves. The most common one is Turkish and has a subtler flavor compared to the California variety. The California bay leaf has more potency and slightly mint taste. Another way to distinguish both of them is by their shape. The Turkish bay leaf is short and fat compared to the California one which is thin and long.
Other than those two, there are more varieties of bay leaves used worldwide such as the West Indian bay leaf and Indonesian bay leaf. Other bay leaf varieties can be poisonous such as the cherry laurel and mountain laurel which aren’t sold as herbs.