Bay leaves are often mentioned in recipes such as soups and sauces – but usually the instructions say that bay leaves should be removed before ingestion. Are bay leaves edible and do they have health benefits?
This herb has been known for centuries and is used for medicinal purposes and for perfuming floods. It is used in the kitchen to give a unique and spicy flavor or aroma to meat, soups and stews, and even as an ingredient in a cologne known as bay leaf rum. The bay leaf is also found in cosmetics, soaps and cleaning products.
Buchta leaves have impressive health benefits, such as reducing gas and bloating, and fighting free radicals with their antioxidants. There is even evidence that it can help treat dandruff, muscle and joint pain and skin infections.
Discover below how to use this old herb with anti-inflammatory and rejuvenating properties.
What is a bay leaf?
Rush petals grow on a group of evergreen plants belonging to the bay family. These plants produce aromatic leaves that are used for cooking and other purposes.
They can be whole/fresh, dried or powdered.
Turkish laurel leaves are the most commonly used type. They grow on an ancient tree called Laurus nobilis, which is native to the Mediterranean.
Baby Leaf is delicately perfumed, with a spicy and floral aroma and a slightly bitter taste. The smell and aroma come from the essential oil of the plant, which accounts for about 2% of the plant’s weight.
The bay laurel is said to have a stronger aroma than the taste, so it is not always swallowed, but it is also slowly soaked to make tea or flavour sauces, burnt for its smell, and used in other ways.
The dried version of the whole leaf is usually used for cooking, but usually the leaf is removed from the dish before serving. Because whole leaves can suffocate, they are removed from recipes such as sauces, rice dishes and soups before serving, although their flavour remains in the dish.
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The name bay leaf refers to a variety of plants, including :
- Californian laurel leaf
- Laurel leaf
- Indonesian laurel or bay leaf
- Caribbean Gulf
- Laurel leaf
The different references to types of laurel seem to cause some confusion about what is considered a real laurel.
According to most experts, to be a real bay leaf, it must come from the tree Laurus nobilis. This specific species is sometimes called bay laurel or sweet.
What’s a bay leaf for? Here’s what research tells us about the benefits of bay leaves:
1. Have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties
The bay leaf, including the essential oil of the bay leaf, has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties thanks to the antioxidants and other protective compounds present in the plant. This herb contains more than 80 identified compounds, including polyphenols, eucalyptol, cineole, sabinin and linalool.
A study conducted at the Agricultural and Technical University of North Carolina focused on the antimicrobial and antioxidant action of certain essential oils of white wormwood, rose geranium and laurel on fresh fruits and vegetables against harmful bacteria such as salmonella and E. coli. These three essential oils have antioxidant properties, with the essential oil of bay laurel being the most active.
Other studies came to similar conclusions and showed that Laurus nobilis can protect against a number of health problems caused by phytochemicals, volatile and non-volatile oils, flavonoids, tannins, sesquiterpene alcohols and alkaloids.
It has also been shown, in the form of extracts, to reduce the expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines that may contribute to chronic disease.
2. May prevent candida and contains wound dressings
According to research, the bay leaf has fungicidal properties.
A publication in the Oral Biology Archives showed that the essential oil of bay laurel protects against Candida. In the study, Laurus disturbed Candida’s adhesion to the cell walls, reducing its ability to penetrate the membrane, making it an excellent addition to the Candida diet to combat this fungal disease.
In addition to fighting candida, laurel has been used in animal studies as an extract and poultice to treat wounds. However, it was not as effective in healing wounds as Allamanda’s cathartic reserve. L. Laurel extract showed an improvement in wound healing compared to the control group.
3. May help in the fight against cancer
Evaluation of the use of bay leaf extract has shown that the leaves and fruits of the Laurus nobilis plant can fight breast cancer. The study highlighted bay laurel as a potential natural treatment for breast cancer by comparing the cells that were induced with the extracts and those that were not.
Cell death occurred where it was induced, making laurel a possible option for natural cancer treatment.
Other research, published in Nutrition and Cancer, suggests that this extract may also help in the fight against colon cancer.
In vitro studies were performed with bay leaf extracts against the growth of intestinal cancer cells. By incorporating ingredients such as bay laurel into food, the results showed the potential for colorectal cancer regulatory properties, demonstrating the value of protection against colorectal cancer in the early stages of detection.
4. May be useful for diabetics
Maybe a bay leaf can help lower blood sugar levels. One study found that taking ground bay leaves twice a day lowers participants’ blood sugar and lipoprotein cholesterol levels.
It is important to note that the participants in this study continued to take their usual diabetes medicines. However, the benefits of adding the bay leaf are positive – for example, it has also helped to increase good cholesterol (HDL).
Other research published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition shows that bay leaves can improve insulin function. The study was conducted to determine whether laurel leaves can help control type 2 diabetes.
Forty subjects received varying quantities of bay leaves in capsule form daily for 30 days. All amounts were reduced by serum glucose and total cholesterol, but there were no significant changes in the placebo group.
The overall result shows that regular consumption of bay leaves can help reduce risk factors for diabetes and even cardiovascular disease.
5. Digestive aid
Buchta leaves can have an effect on the gastrointestinal tract, preventing damage to the stomach and promoting urine drainage, releasing toxins into the body and promoting kidney health.
Some organic compounds in the bay contain enzymes that can also help soothe the stomach, protect against kidney stones and reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such as gas and bloating.
In some cases, laurel leaf products have also been shown to reduce the symptoms of stomach ulcers. Overall, the plant appears to promote digestion by improving the digestive process, combating certain bacteria that can contribute to ulcers (such as Helicobacter pyloriis) and helping to increase nutrient uptake.
Use / Revenue
In addition to the advantages of bay laurel described above, this grass has a number of other interesting applications. Throughout history, for example B. in ancient Rome and Greece, it was used for the production of :
- Herbal teas for good digestion
- A compress to relieve cramps and headaches – bay leaves are combined with cinnamon, nutmeg and olive oil.
- Skin care against bee and wasp stings
- Steam therapy for coughs and colds, bronchitis and pneumonia
- Massage oil for the relief of pain and discomfort.
- Local friction is used to reduce swelling and arthritic pain.
- Temperature reducer
- Insect repellent
- Wreaths that mean success
- Home perfumes and home sprays (because of the mentholoma, the first European settlers called it bay pepper).
- Fire snacks, for example, to attract deer.
Where can I buy the essential oil of bay laurel and other products? Find these products in health food stores and on the internet, but also in some pharmacies.
New in the laurel kitchen? Here are some tips for the use of this herb in the home:
When buying this grass, look for dry, flawless bay leaves, make sure that there are no cracks or tears. If you want to buy fresh bay leaves, look at the leaves that are bright green and waxy so they can bend and twist without breaking.
You can use the whole bay leaf for cooking, but be sure to remove the whole bay leaf from the dish before serving to avoid suffocation.
If the Turkish bay leaf is most popular, if you choose Californian bay leaves, use about half the amount requested in the recipe, as they tend to have a stronger taste.
For example in a tin can with a close-fitting lid. Dried and well-preserved leaves can be kept for up to two years.
A broth leaf can add flavour and depth to most dishes. Try this spice mix on your favourite wild fish or organic chicken.
Here are some useful recipes using bay leaves:
Like other herbs, bay leaves are low in calories and rich in vitamins and antioxidants, including vitamin A and polyphenols. One tablespoon (two grams) of crumbled bay leaf contains approximately :
- 5.5 calories
- 1.3 grams of carbohydrates
- 0.1 gram protein
- 0,1 gram fat
- 0.5 grams of dietary fibre
- 0.1 milligram manganese (7% of DV)
- 0.8 milligram iron (4% of DV)
- 108 International units of vitamin A (2% of DV)
Risks and side effects
What are the side effects of bay leaves? Although it is rare, if you notice an allergic reaction, you should seek help if necessary because some people are allergic to bay laurel.
If you experience side effects such as a rash, itching in the mouth or a swollen tongue, stop using this herb immediately and avoid using it in the future. If you have allergies, check products such as herbs and herbal blends and cosmetics to make sure they do not contain nobilis Laurel/Laurel essential oil.
Despite the fact that this herb is widely used in the kitchen, it should be handled with care with all laurel leaves. It is important to remember that the leaves must be removed from sauces and stews to avoid suffocation.
If you are a little worried, choose the dried and shredded version instead of the whole leaves. The leaf itself can get stuck in the throat, so it is best not to eat it whole.
Therefore, this herb is used in cooking and usually removed. If you use dried bay leaves instead, you can improve the taste and aroma of the recipes without having to use the whole leaf.
- The buchta leaf is an herb used in cooking and also a plant from which an essential oil rich in antioxidants is extracted.
- Benefits of laurel include candida prevention, infection control due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, wound healing, potential cancer control, metabolic health support and digestive assistance.
- If you are cooking with this herb at home for the first time, start with a small amount. You can cut the bay leaves in half or use fresh or ground varieties.
- Because whole leaves can suffocate, they are often removed from recipes such as sauces, rice dishes and soups before they are served.