Its dark green leaves are rich in essential oils, which relieve pain and suppress inflammation.
Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) grows as a low tree or a shrub, reaching a height of five metres. It has dark green, leathery, oval evergreen leaves, greenish flowers that emerge every 3-4 months and dark blue berry-like fruits.
Laurus nobilis originated in Asia Minor and thrives in the Mediterranean, where, especially in Ancient Greece and Rome, it was considered as a symbol of power and fame, so it was placed around the necks of rulers, heroes, artists and successful athletes.
At the ancient Olympics in Greece, the winners wore a laurel wreath placed around their neck, and the plant was devoted to Apollo’s son, Aesculapius, the god of medicine. Fragrant bay leaves have been used as a spice for centuries, but also in the treatment of many diseases.
The leaves are picked only when fully developed and leathery, because otherwise they will turn black during the drying process. Its berry-like fruits are picked when they are ripe and they are usually used in the preparation of medicinal oils.
Fresh bay leaves are rich in vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system and they are an excellent source of vitamin A, which keeps eyes and skin healthy.
Bay leaves contain niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid and riboflavin which assist in the synthesis of enzymes responsible for the regulation of metabolism and the nervous system functions.This spice is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium.