You might know bay leaves as a flavor in Asian dishes. It’s a refreshing and aromatic herb. But several people are unaware that bay leaf is incredible for your health as well. Bay leaf aka bay-laurel comes from the family lauraceae. Used widely in traditional medicine, the herb is also regarded as a symbol of honor. Ancient Greeks would crown their war heroes and Olympians with a wreath of bay leaves.
Bay leaves are popularly used in soups, rice, stews, and other dishes packed with flavor. Here’s why you should consider including them in your life too.
Benefits Of Bay Leaves
1. Improves Hair Growth And Treats Dandruff
Struggling with dandruff and hair loss? Try bay leaf. It’s an ancient remedy to fix any sort of hair issue since the leaves are packed with hair-friendly compounds. Boil a few bay leaves in water. Let it cool down a bit. Rinse your hair and scalp with this water. Make sure to do it after shampooing your hair. Want something for an itchy scalp? Grind bay leaves and mix it with coconut oil. Apply this to your scalp and let it rest for 30 minutes. Wash it off with lukewarm water.
2. Controls Diabetes
One study revealed people who had ground bay leaves twice a day reduced their blood sugar level. It found out bay leaves contains compounds that can help process insulin at an efficient rate. Bay leaves are also beneficial to people with a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also noted a dip in total cholesterol levels.
3. Aids Digestion
Constipated? Bloated? Bay leaf can help get your digestion back on track. In ayurveda, bay leaf is considered to help with your digestive fire. It helps you remove excess toxins from the body because of its diuretic (more urination) property and stimulate digestive juices. Also, the enzymes present in bay leaf have been found to help break food down efficiently, useful for people with irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestive issue. One study suggested bay leaves could help reduce the symptoms of celiac disease as well.
4. Promoted Heart Health
Bay leaf contains rutin and caffeic acid. These compounds have been found to toughen the walls of your heart and decrease cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can lead to a buildup of plaque and this could cause a heart attack or a stroke.
5. Relieves Pain
Bay leaf also contains anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it beneficial to reduce pain in people suffering from any sort of sprain, joint issues, and even arthritis. You could create a paste of ground bay leaf and castor leaves. Apply the paste on the affected areas and let it rest for 20 minutes. Also, massaging bay leaf oil on your forehead is an ancient remedy to treat a headache.
6. Boosts Anti-Cancer Effects
A few studies suggest bay leaf could be helpful to destroy cancer cells. This is because it is packed with phytonutrients and catechins – compounds that can tackle cancer cells. One study revealed bay leaf extracts helped eliminate breast cancer cells.
7. Hastens Wound Healing
Using a bay leaf paste to treat wounds and scars is an age-old remedy. This is thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It can also be useful to treat fungal infections like candida.
8. Soothes An Irritated Throat And Reduces Cough
Another amazing feature about bay leaves is its ability to clear up your respiratory system. If you have a cold or a nasty cough, bay leaf can help unclog stuffy air passages and get rid of bacteria. Boil 4-5 bay leaves in water. Once it’s cooled slightly, soak a washcloth in the bay leaf water and apply it on your chest. Make sure the cloth isn’t extremely hot before applying it anywhere on your body.
9. Treats Kidney Stones
One study revealed bay leaf could help to reduce the level of urease in your body. When you have a lot of urease, it could lead to the development of kidney stones and other gastric problems.
10. Fights Anxiety And Stress
If you are finding it difficult to unwind at the end of your day, try a cup of bay leaf tea. This is known to calm your nerves, prevent anxiety, and even induce sleep. You could have a cup before you sleep.
While bay leaf is generally considered safe, it isn’t recommended for pregnant or nursing mothers since bay leaf could cause uterine contractions. Also, it is recommended people should stop eating bay leaf two weeks before any surgery, especially if it’s related to the central nervous system.