You’re probably more familiar with a bay leaf floating around in soups or casseroles, giving a fabulous flavour. But, did you know that this humble little leaf naturally packs a whole load of health benefits?
Bay leaf or bay-laurel has been used for hundreds of years in ancient Ayurvedic, Chinese and traditional medicines. This little plant was so powerfully respected that in Ancient Greece it was a symbol of honour, and it crowned the heads of gods, goddesses and war heroes.
So, what does it do other than crown kings and makes food taste great?
Can help control the effects of diabetes.
Bay leaves contains compounds that can help process insulin at an efficient rate. In one study, people who had ground bay leaves twice a day reduced their blood sugar levels. It also created a dip in cholesterol levels which makes it a good food to help prevent Type 2 diabetes.
Gives Pain Relief
It contains anti-inflammatory properties so can help sprains, joint pains and swellings. A paste with high quality natural oil and ground bay leaf can be a pain relieving treatment. Bay leaf oil was also used as an ancient massage remedy for headache.
A throat and cough remedy
If you have a cold or a nasty cough, bay leaf can help unclog stuffy air passages and get rid of bacteria. Boiling 4 or 5 of the little leaves water makes a great soak for a warm chest compress.
Bay leaf can also help get dodgy digestion back on track. In Ayurveda, bay leaf is considered to help with your digestive fire. It’s a diuretic and helps remove toxins from the body and stimulate the digestive juices. It has enzymes which help break down food more easily – and in one study, it was suggested that the leaf could reduce Celiac symptoms.
Improves Hair Growth And Treats Dandruff
It’s packed with hair-friendly compounds and is an ancient remedy for all sorts of follicle issues, including itchy scalp and hair loss! Again, the water from boiled leaves is used to rinse the head after shampooing as an effective remedy.
Bay leaf contains Rutin and Caffeic acid. These toughen the walls of the heart and cholesterol levels down. Good news as high cholesterol is a big cause of heart attack or a stroke.
Reduces Anxiety and Stress
If you can’t unwind, you could try bay leaf tea. It’s known to calm nerves, prevent anxiety, and even induce sleep. But if you’d rather your bay leaf was in your dinner, try burning bay leaves around the house for a relaxing scent that calms your senses.
Carefully, a few leaves in a deep fireproof dish please!
Like so many of nature’s herbs and plants, the humble Bay Laurel packs not only amazing flavour but medicinal and wellbeing powers. Everything we need is right there. Get experimenting with a little natural healing.