The laurel is a type of plant that is used to flavor dishes. It is one of the best-known and used herbs in gastronomy and natural remedies worldwide. Today we analyze the properties and benefits of bay leaves that you probably did not know about.
The bay leaf has a strong and bitter taste, contrasting its fragrance and aroma. Among many other things, according to experts, it is an essential source of flavonoids, citric acid, tannins, eugenol, carbohydrates, triterpenoids, steroids, alkaloids, and essential oils.
With the scientific name Laureus nobilis, laurel or laurel is a shrub of the Lauraceae family. Its origin is in the Mediterranean area, and, as we already know, it is used both in cooking and as a traditional remedy.
Among all the varieties, the most common are the Turkish (with oval-shaped leaves) and the Californian (with the longest and narrowest leaves). Despite this, the genus groups more than 25,000 species distributed worldwide.
Its use as a condiment in cooking is every day in the countries of the Mediterranean Sea basin and America. It is usually added to soups, stews, and stews, meat, fish, legumes, and vegetables.
The most common way to use bay leaves is with the dried leaves. However, you can also find other presentations, such as essential oil or tablets.
Thanks to active principles such as eugenol and cineol, its most recognized properties are at the digestive level. But interest in this plant has spread to other uses and possible benefits.
Properties of bay leaves
Bay leaves, as we mentioned, have many properties. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 100 grams of bay leaves group the following:
- energy: 313 kilocalories
- carbohydrates: 75 grams
- fiber: 23.3 grams
- total lipids: 8.36 grams
- protein: 7.61 grams
- water: 5.44 grams
- calcium: 834 milligrams
- potassium: 529 milligrams
- magnesium: 120 milligrams
- phosphorus: 113 milligrams
- vitamin C: 46.5 milligrams
- sodium: 23 milligrams
In addition to this, it contains polyunsaturated fatty acids, saturated fatty acids, vitamin A, folate, vitamin B6, and manganese.
11 benefits of bay leaves
Now that you know the properties of bay leaves, we can list their health benefits. Although there are several, we focus on 9 of the most important.
1. They reduce anxiety
According to this study, bay leaves would help reduce anxiety thanks to the chemical compound in the smoke produced when burned. This has a calming effect on the body and the mind and is used traditionally in countries like Mexico.However, it is recommended that you use them in this way sparingly. You have to be careful because inhaling this smoke regularly can cause hallucinations.
2. They reduce inflammation and promote muscle relaxation
Bay leaves contain eugenol. This compound can act as an anti-inflammatory, so it will be a very effective natural remedy if we suffer from any inflammation.
So, using bay leaves can reduce inflammation throughout your body, especially in the joints.
Since they have a vasoconstrictor action, they help regulate blood circulation and relax nerve impulses. They are ideal if we suffer from migraines or headaches. They can even relieve neck or shoulder pain.
We can use the oil to massage the temples or areas we need. In addition, it plays a vital role as a neuroprotector.
3. They strengthen the immune system
Eugenol, one of the 81 compounds in bay leaves, also acts as an antioxidant and strengthens the immune system. Animal studies have supported its effect on immune responses to phagocytic activities.
Thus, bay leaves can be added to dishes. This is also recommended in case you have a cold. Of course, do not swallow them whole, as they could remain in the esophagus or hypopharynx, affecting the epithelium of the intestine or causing suffocation.
4. Good for fighting diabetes
According to the data released after an investigation in the United States, the daily consumption of 1 to 3 grams of bay leaf tablets could alleviate some symptoms that usually appear among people with type II diabetes.
However, before taking any supplement or more concentrated laurel source, it is advisable to consult a specialist. And in case of suffering from diabetes, always ask the doctor who takes our case.
5. They can fight free radicals
Studies published in the Journal of the Iranian Chemical Society and Molecules have supported the free radical-controlling properties of bay leaves. Free radicals are a byproduct of metabolism associated with aging and various health problems. Although their lifespan is short, they can damage DNA and cause mutations and other complications.
Diseases such as asthma, diabetes, atherosclerosis, cancer, senile dementia, degenerative eye disease, and others have been directly associated with them. Including bay leaves in your diet, or failing that, taking advantage of its essential oil, can significantly benefit your health.
6. Good for the skin
Laurel oil is very suitable for skin care . It s a lubricant that provides vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, so you can give your dermis the respect it deserves. It also works very well as an anti-dandruff, and evidence supports its use for wound healing.
7. Against fungi and microbes
Additionally, it has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antimicrobial benefits. In this direction, studies indicate that t acts against Escherichia coli, Listeria oncogenes, Salmonella Typhimurium, and Staphyloco,ccus aureus.
In other use, it has pediculicidal properties against lice and nits. Rarely, the direct application of the oil on the skin would cause redness and inflammation, but it is always. Still, iterable to test the product in a less sensitive area such as the for, earn and wait for 24 hours, rs to observe possible adverse reactions.
8. It can help prevent seizures
Researchers have found the oil extracted from bay leaves to help counteract laboratory-induced seizures. It is thought that its contrasting effect is achieved through some components,s such as eugenol, pinene, and methyl Aug, enol. These lead to episodes of sedation and control of motor impairment.
9. Digestive properties
At a traditional level, this is one of the most widespread uses of bay leaves. Both in infusion and through essential oil.
The most common symptoms treated with this plant are bloating, gas, heavy digestion, and belching. In addition, it could also improve intestinal and gastric spasms and diarrhea.
Some studies carried out with animals confirm some of these benefits. This study found that the extract exerted a protective effect on the gastrointestinal mucosa.
10. As insect repellants
Laurel essential oil has been used to repel the common mosquito. Similarly, there is evidence that it effectively controls the mite population. You can take advantage of this use through laurel incense or, failing that, by burning a couple of its leaves in a room. If you are abroad, it is best to resort to commercial repellents.
11. They could have anti-cancer effects
Although, of course, s needed, in this regard, studies published in Nutrients and Nutrition Cancer have suggested that bay leaves may inhibit mutations in cancer cells. It is not a sotto to fight cancer, but consuming them regularly in your diet may have a specific protective effect.
Oil recipe with bay leaves
Now that you know some of the properties of bay leaves, we will share a recipe to extract their essential oil.
- 1 teaspoon of bOney leaves (5 grams)
- 1 cup of sweet almond oil (200 grams)
- One glass jar with a capacity of 200 milliliters
- The first thing you will have to do is wash the glass jar well.
- Then, you must introduce the bay leaves, ensuring they are spotless and dry.
- Once you have the bay leaves inside, add the sweet almond oil .
- Close well ad let it macerate for 40 days .
This oil can be applied to specific points on the body or massaged to improve problems such as migraines, poor circulation, inflammation, and wounds.
To soothe and remedy digestive and respiratory ailments or strengthen the immune system, the best thing to do is to make an infusion with one or two bay leaves and take one daily.
Possible contraindications and other aspects to take into account
Bay leaves are a safe condiment for the general population as long as their use is for food . Although it is relatively rigid, proreasonablythese could even be eaten with sharp edges and do not soften when cooked.
For this reason – and to avoid a possible risk of suffocation – the best recommendation is to remove the used leaves before serving the dishes and never eat them (neither whole nor cut). Another way to enjoy its benefits is through infusions.
Crushed or tableted bay leaves taken by mouth for medicinal use may be safe in recommended amounts. For a short period, period it is always advisable to consult a specialist and never take them alone. Somalonetuations in which it should be avoided are:
- During pregnancy and lactation, there is no information on whether it is safe to take these supplements.
- In case of suffering from diabetes since it can interfere with the control of blood sugar. Likewise, if you suffer from any disease, consult your doctor before taking any supplement concentrate.
- Neither before surgery due to the slowing effect on the central nervous system. Combined with anesthesia or other medications during the operation, it could have a negative impact.
- Laurel supplements could have contraindications with some medications (for diabetes, pain or sedatives)., You have to be prudent, and it is always preferable to seek advice before taking them.
Bay leaves add a lot of flavor and some health benefits
Adding bay leaf to daily meals is the safest (and also tasty) way to joy all its properties. Although it is used in small amounts, it is a daily supplement to the diet that can be beneficial in the long run.
If taking it as a supplement or infusion is considered to improve a specific condition, it is always preferable to consult a specialist beforehand and never use it as a substitute for the prescribed treatment.