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Bay Leaf Best Benefits

Bay leaves for health
17 Best Benefits Of Bay Leaf For Skin, Hair And Health
Bay leaf, commonly known as “Tejpatta” in India, is an aromatic leaf from the
evergreen bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. It is most widely used in
cooking and preparing perfumes. The Indian bay leaf is basically a three veined
leaf which is elliptical, pointed, smooth and tough. These leaves are pungent and
have a sharp, bitter flavor. Their taste and fragrance are somewhat similar to the
cinnamon bark but slightly milder. They are used in fresh, dried or powdered
form. The oil extracted from bay leaves, called bay leaf oil has medicinal
properties and is used to treat several ailments.
Due to their bitter taste, bay leaves cannot be eaten directly but are often used to
impart flavor to a variety of dishes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Bay leaf
is extensively used in Indian, Nepalese and Bhutanese cuisines. It is an
important spice in Moghulai dishes, particularly biryani and korma. Roasted and
ground bay leaves are added to the Indian mixture of spices called “Garam
Masala”. Myrcene, which is a component of essential oils extracted from bay
leaves, is used in perfumery. They also have the property of repelling flies,
moths, mice etc. Apart from their culinary uses, they have medicinal properties
and are known for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, diuretic
and astringent qualities.
Types of Bay Leaves:
These aromatic leaves belong to a variety of plants from different genera. Some
of the common varieties of bay leaves are as follows.
Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis lauraceae): Also known as Mediterranean
bay leaves, these leaves are used in both their fresh and dried forms to
flavor soups, stews, braises etc in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves
have a milder flavor and they take several weeks after drying and picking
to develop their full flavor.
California Bay Leaf (Umbellularia californica): Also known as
California laurel, pepperwood and Oregon myrtle, this variety is similar to
the Mediterranean bay laurel but has a stronger flavor.
Indian Bay Leaf (Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae): Indian Bay leaf or
malabathrum is somewhat similar in appearance to bay laurel but has a
taste and fragrance similar to cinnamon bark which is slightly milder.
Indonesian Bay Leaf or Indonesian laurel (salam leaf, Syzgium
polyanthum, Myrtaceae): Native to Indonesia, this herb is mostly used
for meats and less often for vegetables.
West Indian Bay Leaf (Pimenta racemosa, Myrtaceae): This variety is
mostly used to produce cologne called bay rum.
Bay Leaf Benefits
Bay Leaf Health Benefits:
Bay leaves contain notable plant-derived compounds, vitamins and minerals
which offer a range of benefits. This herb was widely used by the Greeks and
Romans who believed that it symbolizes wisdom, peace and protection. The
various bay leaf health benefits are given below.
1. Treatment of Diabetes:
Bay leaves have been found to be effective in treating type 2 diabetes as they
cause reduction in blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. To get
maximum results, these leaves can be powdered and consumed for 30 days. This
will cause a drop in sugar levels in the body as well as regulate the functioning
of your heart. This is because the antioxidants in bay leaf enable the body to
process insulin more efficiently, thus making it a good choice for diabetics and
people with insulin resistance.
2. Good for Digestion:
Bay leaves are good for promoting digestion and can treat digestive disorders
such as heartburn and flatulence. Drinking a concoction of bay leaf tea with hot
water can alleviate common digestive disorders like constipation, acid reflux
and irregular bowel movements. It contains enzymes that enable the breakdown
of proteins, thus making it an excellent spice for non-vegetarian diets. In case of
indigestion and bloating, you can take 5 grams of bay leaves, add a piece of
ginger and boil this in 200 mil of water till ¼ water remains. Add some honey
and consume this twice a day for relief. It also acts as an appetite stimulant if
you are recovering from illness.
3. Cardiovascular Benefits:
The powerful phytonutrients in bay leaf provide protection against
cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. They contain valuable
compounds such as rutin, salicylates, caffeic acid and phytonutrients which
boost heart health and improve heart function. In case of heart disease and
anxiety, boil 3 grams of bay leaves and 3-4 grams of wild rose flowers in 300 ml
water till only 75 ml remains. Strain and drink this concoction for relief.
4. Treatment of Cold and Infection:
Bay leaves are effective in fighting the symptoms of cold, flu and infections. In
case of respiratory problems, boil water and add 2 to 3 bay leaves. Allow it to
steam for 10 minutes. Soak a cloth in this water and place it on your chest to
alleviate flu, cold and cough. Bay leaf tea is effective in reducing fever. In case
of repeated sneezing, boil some bay leaves in 200 ml water till ¼ remains. Strain
and drink this concoction.
5. Relieves Pain:
The oil extracted from bay leaf has anti-inflammatory properties which can ease
the pain resulting from sprains, strains, arthritis, rheumatism as well as general
pains and aches. Massaging your temples with bay leaf oil helps to relieve
migraines and headaches. It also boosts circulation and promotes a feeling of
well-being. In case of joint pain, you can make a poultice of ground bay leaves
and castor leaves, and tie it around the inflamed joints to reduce pain and
swelling. In case of headache, you can boil a few bay leaves in water for a few
minutes. Strain and drink this concoction while it is still hot. You can apply a
paste of bay leaves on your forehead to get relief from severe headache.
6. Anti-cancer Properties:
Bay leaf contains caffeic acid, quercetin, euganol and catechins all of which
possess chemo-protective properties which provide resistance against different
types of cancer. They also contain a phytonutrient called parthenolide which has
shown to specifically restrain the proliferation of cervical cancer cells.
7. Beneficial during Periconception Period:
Being rich in folic acid, bay leaves are extremely beneficial during the
periconception period (3 months before and after pregnancy).By providing
sufficient folic acid content to the child; they prevent birth defects in the child.
These leaves also have the property of inducing pregnancy.
8. Treatment of Menstrual Problems:
Bay leaves, when taken orally, can induce regular and normal menstruation.
They also have the property of curing vaginal discharge.
9. Induces Sleep:
Consuming bay leaves at bedtime helps to induce proper sleep. For this purpose,
mix a few drops of the bay leaf extract with water and consume it.
10. Treatment of Nosebleed:
In case of nosebleed, crush 2 to 3 fresh or dry bay leaves. Boil them in 200 ml
water till 100 ml remains. Strain and drink this concoction for relief.
11. Clean Teeth:
To get sparkling white teeth, brush them with powdered bay leaves once in 3
12. Insect Repellent:
Bay leaves are a great insect repellent as they contain lauric acid. A dish of bay
leaves will ward off insects. A paste made from crushed leaves and little oil
relieves stings and bites when applied topically.
13. Treatment of Kidney Problems:
Bay leaves help in treating kidney infections and even kidney stones. For this
purpose, boil 5 grams bay leaves in 200 ml water till 50 ml water remains. Strain
and drink this twice daily. This will stop the formation of kidney stones.
Bay Leaf Skin Benefits:
Being rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, bay leaf offers various
benefits to your skin and has been used in herbal medicine for this purpose.
Some of its skin benefits are as follows.
14. Relieves Stressed Skin:
Bay leaf helps to de-stress your skin, thus preventing the occurrence of wrinkles
and skin outbreaks. For this purpose, boil 5 dried bay leaves with 2 cups of
water, keeping the container covered. Then remove the lid and let it boil for
about 2 minutes. Now pour the brew into a large bowl and covering your head
with a towel, inhale this steam.
15. Healing Qualities:
Bay leaf has excellent healing properties. It was often used by herbal
practitioners for treating snakebite, insect stings and relieving cuts and bruises.
Bay leaf oil has antifungal and anti-bacterial properties which can cure skin
infections. It is applied topically to heal cuts, bruises and insect bites.
Bay Leaf Hair Benefits:
The nutritional value of bay leaves makes them beneficial for hair health. It has
the following benefits for your hair.
16. Treatment of Dandruff and Hair Loss:
A rinse made from infused bay leaves is effective in treating dandruff. Bay leaf
tea is considered a great remedy for hair loss. Bay leaf oil is a tonic for hair that
effectively combats dandruff and hair loss.
17. Treatment of Head Lice:
For getting rid of head lice, boil about 50 grams of crushed bay leaves in 400 ml
water until 100 ml water remains. Strain out the water and apply this on the hair
roots. Leave it for 3 to 4 hours and wash off. This will remove the head lice
effectively. Adding bhringraj to the bay leaves before boiling will make your
hair black, lustrous and healthy.
Nutritional Value of Bay Leaf:
The various benefits of bay leaf can be attributed to its rich nutritional value.
These leaves are exceptionally rich in vitamins as well as copper, potassium,
calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, selenium and manganese. They also contain
essential phytochemicals and volatile oils.
Their nutritional profile is explained below:
See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:Bay leaf (Laurus nobilis),
Nutritional value per 100 g.(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of
313 Kcal
74.97 g
7.61 g
Total Fat
8.36 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
26.3 g
180 mcg
2.005 mg
1.740 mg
0.421 mg
Vitamin A
6185 IU
Vitamin C
46.5 mg
23 mg
529 mg
834 mg
0.416 mg
43 mg
120 mg
8.167 mg
113 mg
2.8 mcg
3.70 mg
Vitamin C: Bay leaves are a rich source of Vitamin C. 100 grams of fresh
bay leaves provides about 46.5 mg of this vitamin which is equivalent to
77.5% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA). Vitamin C or
ascorbic acid is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in
removing free radicals from the body and boosts the immune system.
Vitamin A: Bay leaves are an excellent source of Vitamin A with a 100
gram serving providing about 6185 IU (International Units) or 206% of
the RDA of this vitamin. Besides being a natural antioxidant, it is vital for
healthy visual sight and for the maintenance of mucus membranes and
skin health.
Folic Acid: Bay leaves also contain folic acid with a 100 gram serving
providing about 180 mg or 45% of the RDA. Folates are required in DNA
synthesis and during the peri-conception period to prevent neural tube
defects in the baby.
Other Vitamins: This spice is a good source of the B-complex group of
vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin.
These vitamins help in enzyme synthesis, nervous system function and
regulate body metabolism.
Volatile Oils: This spice contains volatile active components such as αpinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, αterpineol, gernyl acetate p-cymene, euganol and chavicol. These
compounds possess antiseptic, antioxidant and even anti-cancer
properties. The essential oils from bay leaves contain about 50% cineol.
Minerals: Bay leaf is a rich source of minerals like copper, potassium,
calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, iron and selenium. Potassium, an
important component of cell and body fluids, controls blood pressure and
heart rate while manganese and copper are used by the body as co-factors
of the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Iron is vital for red
blood cell formation and is a co-factor for cytochrome oxidase enzymes.
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