15 Health Benefits of Bay Leaves
Bay leaves, which are derived from the Laurel family of plants, have been known for centuries to be used as an extremely flavorful kind of spice in various cuisines around the world. Its aroma provides that signature touch in almost all royal and delectable dishes, starting from the Indian pulao through the Mediterranean pate, to the Brazilian beans. Their uses, however, are not limited to food and extend to numerous health benefits. Here are 15 health benefits of bay leaves that might compel you to appreciate these all-rounders on a different level.
1. Diabetes Management
Bay leaves are known to improve the reception of insulin by the body, thus helping to control blood sugar levels. They might be consumed as a preventive measure for people with a family history of diabetes, as well as a treatment procedure for those who are already diagnosed with this illness.
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2. Stress and Anxiety Reduction
Aromatherapy extensively recommends the use of bay leaves for the reduction in stress and anxiety levels. These leaves inherently possess a chemical called linalool, which works directly on the stress hormones of the body, and lowers them.
3. Digestive Aid
When it comes to digestive issues, bay leaves are real gems found in Mother Nature’s basket. The enzymes present in these leaves help prevent flatulence, treat irritable bowel syndrome, and also help in quick digestion of food. Additionally, they have been beneficial in the treatment of Celiac disease.
4. Cancer Prevention
Several types of cancers are caused when free radicals enable healthy cells to mutate into cancerous cells. Bay leaves comprise of highly beneficial chemicals such as phytonutrients, Linalool, catechins, and parthenolide, which help in prevention from the ill-effects of these free radicals.
5. Cardiovascular Benefits
The phytonutrients in bay leaves rule again! These magic chemicals, along with others such as caffeic acid, rutin, and salicylates, help promote a healthy heart and prevent cardiovascular diseases. In the case of someone already diagnosed with a heart ailment, a concoction of bay leaves and wildflowers could help in relieving the symptoms.
6. Maintaining Hair and Skin Health
Often used in the treatment of dandruff, regular application of bay leaves steeped in water after hair-wash is seen to have reduced itching related to a dry scalp. They also help in the treatment of lice. Similarly, these leaves can be successfully used to relieve wrinkles and skin breakouts by allowing the steam of a few boiled leaves to enter your skin follicles.
7. Fighting Cold and Flu
The steam of boiled bay leaves is extremely effective in the treatment of cold symptoms. For reducing fever, help yourself to a steaming cup of bay leaf tea. If the symptoms are worse, drink a concentrated concoction of steeped bay leaves to rid yourself of the infection.
8. Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The parthenolide present in bay leaves helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. It is due to this property that these leaves are often used to reduce soreness in joints in arthritic patients.
9. Healthy Respiratory System
If you suffer from congestion in the lungs, it is advisable to burn bay leaves, and ingest the vapors. The flames give out the chemicals myrcene and eugenol, which help in clearing the lungs, thus enabling you to breathe easy.
10. Treatment of Menstrual Problems
Irregular menstrual cycles and excessive vaginal discharge can be progressively detrimental to a woman’s hormonal health. Consuming bay leaves through food could help regularize the cycles in a natural way.
11. Pain Relief
Bay leaves help in several ways in relieving body pain. For headache, you could drink a concoction of steeped bay leaves, or apply a paste of these leaves on your forehead. For joint pains, bay leaves could be combined with castor oil. A head massage with bay leaf oil improves blood circulation, alleviating all other kinds of pains and aches in the body.
12. Pregnancy Benefits
Folic acid is a vital nutrient when it comes to fetal growth and health, especially during the first trimester of pregnancy. Thanks to bay leaves, pregnant women could get their required dosages of Folic acid simply by regularly consuming this wonder herb.
13. Reducing Insomnia
A few drops of bay leaf extract combined with water at bedtime might be all you need to get that well-deserved peaceful night’s sleep.
14. Treatment of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones and infections could be prevented from getting worse by drinking a strained concoction of boiled bay leaves, twice a day. This could prevent the formation of larger kidney stones, and the growth of the smaller ones.
15. Treatment of Nosebleed
Another amazing benefit of drinking a strained concoction of steamed bay leaves is to find relief from nosebleed.
Although local to the Mediterranean region, these leaves with such extensive magical healing properties are cultivated in many other parts of the world, including India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the USA. Their growth, however, has been shrinking of late due to changing climes. Absorb the benefits of these versatile leaves into your day-to-day life, for improved health, before they are extinct!