Bay leaves, or laurel leaves, are much more versatile and beneficial than many of you knew.
Laurel trees grew everywhere in the region, but changing climates have shrunk their natural growth. Yet, they remained present in the culinary and medicinal world for thousands of years, dating back at least to Roman times.
They can be grinded into a spice and added to soups and stews, but in most cases, they are used in their whole form as a flavoring for certain Italian dishes and are then removed or used as a garnish.
The extracts of bay leaves have various medicinal uses, even though there is no extensive range of culinary application for them. They are commonly used in aromatherapy and herbal treatments for various skin and respiratory conditions.
However, their most important health benefits include anti-cancer, detoxifying, and antibacterial properties, their ability to slow the aging process, speed wound healing, and manage diabetes. Bay leaves fight inflammation help digestion, improve heart health, and alleviate respiratory issues.
Here is how to use them and reap their benefits:
-- These leaves are an incredibly effective way to lower stress, treat anxiety, and improve mood. You can add them to your food, use the essential oil, make bay leaf tea, grind the leaves into a paste, or burn the leaves.
-- Bay leaves regulate cholesterol and blood sugar leaves, according to studies.
-- These leaves lower the production of interleukin, a small protein released by the immune system and cause inflammation. To treat a congested nose or a respiratory infection, boil bay leaves and inhale the steam through the nose.
-- Bay leaves accelerate the healing of sores and wounds. Ground the dried leaves into a paste, and apply it on the affected areas.
-- Bay leaves have been found to help prevent cancer, particularly colorectal cancer in the early stages of detection.
-- Bay essential oil can be used in aromatherapy to soothe the body and mind, ensure a good night rest, and energize the body
-- The essential oil of laurel leaves has potent antifungal properties which fight Candida and inhibits its ability to penetrate the membrane
-- The essential oil of these leaves is a powerful insect repellent. You can add a few drops of it on pieces of cotton and keep them in the kitchen and the cupboards
-- You can add bay leaves to your foods while cooking, to enrich the flavor of your dishes, but make sure you always remove them after cooking.
Bay leaf tea is a great way to fight a cold and congestion, so here is how to prepare it:
Add 2 cups of water into a saucepan, and boil for three minutes. Then, remove from heat, and steep 3-4 bay leaves in it for about 5 minutes. Next, strain the tea, and sweeten it.
Yet, the most effective way to relieve anxiety and lower stress is to burn bay leaves and inhale their scent. The stress-relieving ingredients in these leaves are Pinene, Cineol, and Linalool.
Pinene and cineol have been found to drastically lower anxiety levels, and linalool has the same effects, by affecting blood cells and genes. Researchers have also found that the inhalation of cineol prevents the release of hormones that cause pain.
Now here is how to burn bay leaves and enjoy their stress-relieving effects:
Close the doors and windows to trap the aroma in the room, light 2-3 bay leaves, and place them on an ashtray or aluminum foil. Leave them to burn completely, and after the ashes have cooled down, get rid of them. Enjoy the soothing scent and relaxing atmosphere in your home!