The bay leaf is an aromatic herb from the laurel tree used in cooking, beverages, and baking. Bay leaf is available in fresh, dried, or powder form. Slow-cooked meals such as soup, tea, sauce, and stew benefit from the addition of the leaves, discarded before consuming the food. The herb has a fragrant floral and herbal aroma reminiscent of oregano and thyme. The bay leaf is a product of the bay laurel plant, an evergreen herb that grows slowly in warm areas and produces a strong flavor. One of its most striking features is the thick leathery leaflet with sharp tips. Many people grow the bay leaf for its cosmetic and health benefits, with the dried leaf being more popular because of its rich aroma.
Where Do Bay Leaves Come From?
Bay leaves originate from the bay tree, which is native to Asia. Eventually, the shrub made its way to the Mediterranean, with the name laurel tree. Laurel was a symbol of honor and glory, leading to creation of the famous laurel wreaths, popularly associated with Ancient Greece and Rome. As an ornamental emblem of honor and achievement, emperors throughout history, including the Romans and Greeks, wore the laurel wreath.
Throughout history, Olympians, intellectuals, heroes, and poets also wore the wreath as a symbol of their accomplishments. The use of laurel wreaths led to the coining of two new terms baccalaureate, which refers to the reward for earning a bachelor’s degree and means “berries of laurel,” and poet laureate, which refers to an honor bestowed by a government on someone who composes poems for special occasions.
Bay Leaf Varieties
Turkish (or the Mediterranean) bay leaves and California bay leaves are the two most common forms of edible bay leaves. The Turkish variant is the most prevalent, with a milder flavor than California bay leaves, which are more potent with a slight mint flavor. The most distinguishable feature of the two varieties is the shapes of the leaves.
Turkish has a more recognizable short and plump leaf shape, while California has a thinner and longer design. Most fresh bay leaves marketed in the United States are from California, while the dried leaves originate in Turkey. Adding a fresh California bay leaf to a recipe may dominate the dish’s flavors, which is why many people prefer the Turkish dried bay leaf variant. Other types of bay leaves, such as the West Indian bay leaf and the Indonesian bay leaf, are standard worldwide. A few deadly bay leaf species, most notably the cherry laurel and mountain laurel, are not used as cooking herbs. Bay leaves used in cooking are non-toxic and safe to use.
How Do You Use Bay Leaves?
You can use the bay leaf as a ground spice to flavor or season soups, stews and some particular recipes. Before consuming the food, it is advisable to remove the bay leaf from the cooked meal. Additionally, you can also bay leaf to garnish the meal but not consume it. Bay leaves have a limited number of culinary applications, even though extracts of these leaves have many medicinal purposes. Additionally, the leaves are also popular as aromatherapy and herbal therapies for various skin and respiratory ailments.
Health Properties of Bay Leaf
The bay leaf is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins and other mineralcompounds that provide the body with immense benefits.
- Aids in digestion: Bay leaves may benefit the digestive system by preventing gastric damage and increased urination, promoting kidney health by removing toxins from the body. Additionally, the organic compounds found in bay leaves are beneficial for reducing stomach upset, relieving irritable bowel syndrome, and aiding in food digestion.
- Assists in reducing stress and anxiety- Bay leaves contain linalool and natural sedative properties that lower stress, depression, and anxiety levels.
- Assists in resolving hair problems– Bay leaves also promote hair growth, help fight dandruff, and keep the hair looking healthy.
- Combats fungal infections– Bay leaf has antifungal and Vitamin C properties, effective against fungal and skin conditions.
- Contains anti-cancer properties– The bay leaf contains organic and antioxidant compounds such as phytonutrients, catechins, linalool, and parthenolide. All these help protect your body from cancer-causing free radicals.
- Diabetic management: Bay leaf effectively treats Type2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar and LDL cholesterol.
- Promotes cardiovascular health-Bay leaf contains rutin and caffeic acid that help improve the blood capillaries and cardiac muscle tissue.
- Reduces inflammation– Bay leaf contains sesquiterpene lactones, which reduces oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Relieves respiratory problems– The bay leaf is a source of essential oil, which helps to treat various respiratory conditions.
Is Bay Leaf natural blood thinner?
Given all the health benefits of bay leaf tea you may ask yourself, Is Bay leaf tea natural blood thinner. Here is the experiment that was conducted on the empty stomach to determine if Bay leaf tea is a natural blood thinner. The experiment also cover how bay leaves tea affects blood sugar level. You will be surprise with an outcome of this experiment.
Are Bay Leaves Edible?
Even though bay leaves are safe to use in cooking, their texture makes them extremely difficult to chew. Eating bay leaves poses the most significant risk of choking and the possibility of getting caught anywhere in your digestive tract.
Bay Leaf Oil
Bay leaf oil has a delightful aroma that, in addition to assisting in mental relaxation, also aids in physical relaxation. Indeed, this is one of the most frequently utilized natural oils in massage therapy. Additionally, it possesses antiseptic, antibacterial, and analgesic effects. It is beneficial for a variety of cures and for resolving a variety of health problems.
Other benefits of bay leaf oil include promoting hair growth, getting rid of skin infections, decongesting, muscular relaxation, and regulating blood circulation.
Bay Leaf Tea Benefits
A steaming cup of bay leaf tea can be incredibly soothing. Bay leaf tea is lovely due to the distinctive scent released by the leaves and the taste of the spicy tea. Bay leaf tea contains high contents of Vitamins A and C, magnesium, calcium, and potassium, the properties in the tea promote overall body health and helps in migraine management.
The leaves also contain enzymes that help to calm indigestion by breaking down proteins for faster food digestion. The ingredients you need for a cup of bay leaf tea are water, a few bay leaves, and a few lemon slices. Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. You can choose to drink your bay leaf tea hot or wait for it to cool down.
Bay leaf is a Mediterranean herb frequently used in soups, curries, tea, and as an essential oil. Moreover, it has immense benefits, and the only negative thing about it is that you cannot eat it.Before eating, it is advisable to remove the entire leaf.
If you are making bay tea, you should sieve the leaf pieces first before drinking your tea. Bay leaf is not poisonous, and the only reason for removing it is that it is hard to chew and swallow as it can cause choking.
If you haven’t watch the experiment that here is the spoiler. Bay Leaf tea is not a natural blood thinner. If you are interested in a natural blood thinners you can navigate into a natural blood thinners category.