From the laurel wreaths of ancient Greece, bay leaves eventually made their way into kitchens all over the world.
But these leaves aren’t just useful for crowning athletes and scholars or adding flavor to slow-cooking dishes.
Since the middle ages, people have been using them for medicinal purposes, too.
Let’s take a quick look at a few interesting ways you can take advantage of this versatile spice.
1.) Aid Digestion
If you suffer from any digestive issues, bay leaf tea can help.
To make bay leaf tea, place 3 dried leaves and a cinnamon stick in 2 cups of water. Boil for 3 minutes, and then remove it from the heat and let the tea steep for 5 more minutes. Next, just strain and add some honey.
2.) Heal Wounds
Many cultures have used bay leaf to treat cuts and scrapes. It turns out that there’s some scientific evidence to support this practice. Animal studies found that these leaves promote wound healing activity.
3.) Repel Insects
These leaves contain lauric acid, which repels insects. This enables you to make your own insect repellent free of dangerous chemicals.
Try crushing the leaves and placing them in a spot where insects frequent. Alternatively, you can also apply bay leaf oil to your skin before leaving the house.
4.) Boost Athletic Performance
The caffeic acid in these leaves not only fights against cancer, but it can also increase exercise tolerance. It’s a very mild stimulant that reduces lactate levels. This is why the compound is often included in pre-workout supplements.
5.) Regulate & Prevent Diabetes
Did you know the leaves in your spice rack may be helpful in the treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes?
One study found that consuming 1-3 grams of bay leaves daily for 30 days can reduce fasting serum glucose levels by up to 24%. It also increases HDL cholesterol (the good kind) and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).
6.) Possess Anti-Cancer Properties
Vitamin C is the key to the health benefits of lemons, as it slows the growth of many types of tumors.
These leaves, much like lemons, contain high levels of this potent antioxidant. But the caffeic acid, catechin, and parthenolide found in these leaves may also inhibit the growth of some cancer cells.
7.) Reduce Heart Attack & Stroke Risk
These leaves contain a powerful plant pigment called rutin. This flavonoid improves your circulation by strengthening your veins and arteries.
On top of this, rutin also prevents blood clots, lowering your odds of having a heart attack or stroke.
8.) Relieve Pain & Reduce Inflammation
Each bay leaf contains eugenol and myrcene. Both have anti-inflammatory properties, but they’re also analgesic (pain relieving). In fact, some dentists may put eugenol on your gums before injecting you with lidocaine.
Benefits of Burning Bay Leaves Within Your Home
Final Thoughts on Bay Leaves
Although the bay leaf is a remarkable plant, there are a few safety precautions you should keep in mind.
Stay away from bay leaves if you plan to have surgery within the next month. The leaves may slow down your central nervous system, and this can cause issues if you receive anesthesia.
Also, it’s best to avoid using bay leaves if you’re pregnant or nursing.
Are you looking for alternative uses for all-natural items you can find in your home? If so, make sure to check out our natural remedies blog!
Do You Know Any Cool Uses for Bay Leaves?
We would love for you to share your tips and advice. Please let us know in the comments below!