There are a few food flavorings that are also used as herbal remedies to alleviate many a malady. Bay leaf is one such popular condiment that is included in recipes in fresh as well as dried form. This leaf comes from the Bay Laurel Tree and has a strong flavor. There are two different varieties of bay leaves - the Californian bay leaf and the Mediterranean bay leaf, each with a distinctive flavor. Added to any dish, this condiment not only peps up the taste, but also makes it nutritional.
Bay leaves are rich sources of vitamins A and C, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium and potassium. In the absence of bay leaves, boldo leaves and juniper berries are used as a substitute for bay leaves since they are almost similar in flavor. Bay leaves also have medicinal properties and have been used as a remedy to relieve a number of illnesses. Owing to bay leaf benefits it is being included in the diet as well as in supplements, for the health of the body.
Benefits of Bay Leaf
If you are wondering how to benefit from bay leaf, then your answer here is to include bay leaves in small amounts in your daily cooking. In this manner you can reap a number of benefits for the proper functioning of the body system. Mentioned here are some of the positive effects of bay leaves and its supplements on the overall health of an individual.
- Including bay leaves in a recipe is known to have a beneficial effect on the digestive health of a person. It improves the process of digestion and also prevents digestion related disorders like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, constipation etc. It also helps in the metabolism of proteins, especially in meat products.
- The enzymes in bay leaves (especially the fresh ones) trigger the production of insulin and thereby help regulate the level of blood sugar in the body. It controls and prevents the rise as well as drop of blood glucose so that the level is optimal throughout.
- A rich source of the phytonutrient parthenolide, bay leaves help relieve the problems related to inflammatory and joint diseases like arthritis, rheumatism and osteoporosis etc. The anti-inflammatory properties in the bay leaf essential oil help soothe the pain and discomfort caused in the joints and muscles owing to these diseases.
- It is also a well-known immune system booster where it assists the body in fighting against a number of infections and diseases. This is possible due to the presence of linalool, a compound which is a popular inclusion in many aromatherapy oils. It also fights against stress and anxiety.
- For a healthy heart include bay leaves in the diet on a regular basis. The phytonutrients like caffeic acid, salicylates and rutin prevent the formation of plaque in the arteries and lower the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke and heart attacks. It also ensures proper blood circulation to the heart and other parts of the body.
- Bay leaves also have antiseptic properties that help heal infections and wounds in an effective manner. It is also used as an analgesic to relieve pain, in case of toothaches. Eugenol, which is an extract made from these leaves is used to cure dental problems.
- Cancer prevention can be implemented with regular consumption of bay leaves. The phytonutrients in the leaf dissuade the unhealthy growth and development of certain cells in the body. It acts as a shield against different types of cancers against affecting the body.
- A concoction of bay leaves can help relieve respiratory problems. A cup of bay leaf tea, reduces the severity and completely cures bronchitis, chest congestion, cold, cough and fever. By inducing sweating, bay leaf helps reduce high grade fever.
- Bid goodbye to dandruff and other scalp problems, if you are a regular user of bay leaf. A few drops of bay leaf essential oil mixed with your regular shampoo can wash away dandruff. A solution of bay leaf and water also reduces scalp eczema and psoriasis.