The Many Health Benefits Bay Leaves Have To Offer
They might look dry, drab, and uninteresting. But these dull green crisp leaves have a multitude of uses, so I caution you to not sell them short. The majority of users have always believed that they are merely to add a bit of zing to soups and stews, but oh no. They are definitely multi-taskers. The health benefits bay leaves provide could alone have been a full article.
But more about that in a minute…
Are Bay Leaves and Laurel Leaves the Same?
If you are confused about the bay leaf / laurel leaf relationship (because they certainly appear to be twins) the answer is they are virtually the same specimen. The different names simply refer to the areas in which they are grown. They originate from an ancient Mediterranean tree called, appropriately enough, the bay laurel tree.
The unassuming leaves from this tree were once a symbol of victory, power, achievement, and love, and have been cultivated as far back as there are written records. These beauties are one of the most used herbs in North America and Europe and are cultivated in Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Central America. They have been used in cooking, medicine, cosmetics, and soaps for centuries. And here you thought they were only meant for the soup pot.
Here’s an interesting tidbit. One other member of the laurel family tree (no pun intended) provides us with that oh so delicious spice known as cinnamon. And, for those of you who have heard of sassafras, yep, another cousin.
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So Many Health Benefits Bay Leaves Provide
In my humble opinion bay / laurel leaves really should be addressed as Doctor Bay and Doctor Laurel as their medicinal uses are practically endless. We’ll name just a few…
Bay Leaves Medicinal Uses
It has been declared that if you have bay leaves (which can be purchased in any grocery store in the spice aisle) there is no need for a pharmacy. Bay leaves medicinal uses include:
- treats digestive disorders such as heartburn, acidity, constipation, irritable bowel, and celiac disease
- lowers blood sugar and is an antioxidant.
- useful in treating colds, flu, and severe cough as it is rich in vitamin C. Boil the leaves and inhale the steam to get rid of phlegm.
- relaxes and eliminates insomnia if taken in tea form, before bed (Hops can also do this).
- the anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce headaches, strains, arthritis, sprains, and overexertion.
- when used as a wash or poultice it helps heal wounds and infections
Other Important Uses for Bay Leaves
- if steamed in a bowl, the steam will help clear your pores.
- if rubbed on your skin and scalp (after being softened with the boiling process of course, otherwise ouch, harsh exfoliation) they help with dry skin and scalp.
- bay leaves accelerate your metabolism and work as a diuretic so hello weight loss.
Bay Laurel Leaves For Before Surgery, Just in Case…
Not meaning to be a killjoy, I feel compelled to do the necessary warning label part here:
- bay leaf can slow down the central nervous system, so combined with anaesthesia before surgery, it might be a little over the top. Stop the bay leaf at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- taking bay leaf in addition to diabetes meds for lowering blood sugar might cause your blood sugar to go too low.
- bay leaf may cause sleepiness and drowsiness. This is a good thing if you have insomnia, but do not take it along with sedative meds.
Unless, of course, mellow is really your thing…
So there you have it, those are a few of the health benefits bay leaves provide, as well as a couple of bonus perks…
Who would have thought that little nondescript leaf could fulfill so many functions? It just goes to show you can’t judge a leaf by its color.
Well, unless you’re some kind of plant racist…
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The Nutshell Of It:
Of course we all know about bay laurel leaves for culinary uses, and this is not a cooking blog, so we won’t go into that any deeper. And although you may have even been aware of one or two of bay leaves’ medicinal uses, hopefully you learned something here that you didn’t know yesterday.
By the way,
I won’t tell you what my favourite of all of these diverse uses for bay leaves is, but let me just tell you this:
I am currently feeling v-e-e-e-ry groovy…
Peace, Love and Tranquility.
As much as we hope you have learned something interesting here…
We also hope that you have found this humerus:
13 thoughts on “The Many Health Benefits Bay Leaves-Laurel Leaves Provide”
Awesome, Daniel. I love that you have a “tool belt”, and am honored to be in it, haha. I’m adding new people to mine all the time. It’s quite a network, I’m discovering more and more. Truth is not dead, nor can it ever be.
Thanks, my friend.
I absolutely love your website. Ever since covid started, I have done a deep dive into natural remedies. Your website is one of the most important tools in my tool belt now! Thanks for your dedication.
I’m not surprised about the value of laurel leaves. Laurel leaves are such an interesting herb. They have been used for health purposes for centuries. Some people believe that they can help cure a variety of illnesses. What I find most useful is that Laurel leaves are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce swelling and pain.
I love that the health benefits of laurel can be taken in pill form now. Thanks for sharing this. I will definitely buy these supplements!
I did not know that Bay leaves have some benefits like treating digestive disorders such as heartburn, acidity, constipation and others. I have known them to be useful in treating colds, flu and severe cough though I was not aware that these leaves are rich in vitamin C. This is very educative and interesting, thank you very much for sharing.
My pleasure! Blessings to you.
Well, that’s convenient! Thanks.
I have always wondered if bay leaves and laurel are the same, so I learnt here that they are essentially the same. But I never knew they had so many health benefits. I have a big laurel tree growing very close to my patio, so I will take some of those leaves and brew them in a tea, to see if that will help me to sleep better, but also for the other health benefits that you mentioned. Thank you for the educational post.
Hi, I’ve just gone through your article on the many health benefits bay leaves-laurel leaves provide. I found it very helpful. I am glad to have learned that these leaves treat digestive disorders like heartburn, acidity and constipation as you clearly mentioned. I’ve been struggling with the problem of heartburn and sometimes I skip my meals because of this problem. I hope these leaves are my solution, I will be using them soon. Thanks for sharing this amazing post with us.
Thanks Geoff, let me know how it goes!
Knowing about the benefits is good. But you have done more for us in this article, you have encouraged us to pay careful attention to these benefits (because of the way you have layed them out). I greatly appreciate how you have explained the relationship between bay leaf and laurel leaf.
This is a very interesting post and full of great information.
I must admit that I rarely use bay leaves and was totally unaware of their health benefits.
I am currently having great problems sleeping so I am definitely going to make a drink from them before I go to bed tonight. I just hope I will be able to drink it. But it might actually taste nice. And if it increases my metabolic rate while I sleep, then even better.
I might just check the cupboard now to make sure I have some!
Excellent! Thanks Rose.
I would admit that I only use bay leaf to spice up our dishes when cooking.
And not until today that I have learned more of its health benefits. Thanks for your time of researching for us. I value the information and as bay leaf is commonly available, I am planning to add it in my herb tea collection.
The oil is worth a try for people who have insomnia. We are all responsible for the gift of life we received. And this natural oil extract is a precious channel to alleviate insomnia.