Bay leaf is a key aromatic herb used in a spectrum of dishes such as biryani, soups, pulao, stew and rich curries. Bay leaf, derived from the plant of sweet bay tree (Laurus nobilis), belongs to the Lauraceae family of an evergreen shrub, which is indigenous to the Mediterranean regions. This fragrant leaf comes from numerous plants, such as the bay laurel, Indian bay leaf plant, Indonesian laurel and the West Indian bay tree.
The leaf exhibits a sharp and bitter taste, however, it is mainly used for its alluring fragrance than its taste in the cuisines. Dried bay leaves are usually used as a whole spice and then removed from the food after cooking.
Bestowed with a wealth of essential nutrients bay leaf is valued as a nutrient-dense herb. Adding this aromatic herb in the cooking, not only imparts rich flavour but also confers you with indispensable health benefits owing to its magnitude of medicinal properties. Bay leaves are known to improve the digestion process, treats respiratory ailments and optimises cardiac functions. It is also largely used in traditional medicine since ages for treating menstrual problems, dandruff and hair loss and as a natural insect repellent.
Boost Your Immunity And Overall Health, With Our Wide Range Of Multivitamin Supplements!
Bay leaves comes with an impressive nutritional profile, including all the essential macronutrients- carbohydrates, fibre, fats and proteins. It is imbued with essential oil cineole which is valued for its potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and wound healing characteristics. Aside from this, bay leaves contain considerable amounts of vitamins C, A, B1, B2 B3, B6, folate and minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium, to boost the immune system and overall health.
Health Benefits Of Bay Leaves
Bay leaf is blessed with the goodness of gut-friendly nutrients that enhance gastrointestinal functions. It helps to get rid of the toxins from the body and promotes the body to carry out normal operations well. The presence of organic compounds in bay leaves are effective for healing upset tummy and calm irritable bowel syndrome. Many people suffer from indigestion issues after having a meal high on proteins and fats, which is when bay leaves play a huge role. The specific enzymes present in this spice support smooth digestion process and regularise the bowel movements.
Treats Respiratory Ailment
The essential oil in the bay leaf is blended with a carrier oil into a balm and applied topically to the chest that offers respite from respiratory ailments, allergies and asthma. This is done with a poultice made of bay leaves which is spread on the chest and allowed to stay overnight. In addition, inhaling vapours of bay leaves helps to loosen phlegm and thwart off harmful pathogens that may be trapped in the lungs, owing to its natural antibacterial effects.
Augments Heart Health
Bay leaves contain a rich array of organic compounds such as caffeic acid and rutin that are valuable in promoting heart health. These compounds strengthen capillary walls in the heart and diminish bad cholesterol (LDL). Having bay leaf tea on a regular basis facilitates to optimise cardiac functions and lowers the risk of heart diseases.
Bay leaves endowed with a distinct combination of antioxidants and organic compounds including phytonutrients, catechins, linalool and parthenolide. These scavenge harmful free radicals from the cells and avert the mutation of healthy cells into cancerous cells. Besides these, cineole the active compound in bay leaves was found to suppress the growth of leukaemia tumour cells. Furthermore, several studies have also revealed that bay leaves are found to be effective in preventing breast and colon cancers.
Encompassing natural soothing properties, bay leaves effectively stimulate the positive state of mind. The presence of linalool in bay leaves is well-known to reduce the stress hormones levels in the body. While bay leaves essential oil is used in aromatherapy for uplifting mood, reducing anxiety and keeping your mind calm and stress-free. In addition, to improve your quality of sleep, steep bay leaves in a cup of water and drink this concoction before bed-time for a relaxed sleep time.
Bay leaf is generally safe for consumption for most people when taken in moderate amounts. However, taking the whole leaf intact by mouth is unsafe, as the leaf cannot be digested and can get clogged in the throat or intestinal lining. While, diabetic patients should closely monitor their blood sugar if they are using bay leaf as medicine, as it may interfere with blood sugar control. In addition, excess consumption of bay leaves may cause adverse effects in pregnant and lactation women and also some people may have allergies.
Bay leaf is an aromatic spice with a subtle taste that can enhance the flavour of bland foods without attacking your palate. It comes with a plethora of health benefits from improving digestion process, treating respiratory woes, averting the risk of cancer, augmenting heart health and combatting stress. Add this flavourful herb in your daily diet to reap its wellness incentives.