Properties, benefits and uses of bay leaves

Bay leaves have been widely used in cooking since ancient times.

Laurel belongs to the Lauraceae family. Although it is not clear, it is possible that it originated in Asia Minor and from there to the whole Mediterranean region.

Laurel is a large evergreen tree that reaches 9 meters in height. The leaves are thick and elliptical in shape, very shiny and dark green.

Its aroma is pleasant and it is an excellent companion for cooking recipes..

Even the wilted or dried leaves have a very strong aroma and can be kept in our kitchen cabinet for months.

Benefits and health properties of bay leaf

The spice contains many compound derivatives, such as minerals and vitamins, which are essential for optimal health.

Laurel has volatile active components, such as α-pinene, beta-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, geranyl acetate, eugenol and chavicol.

These compounds are known to have antiseptic, anti-oxidant and digestive properties.

The fresh leaves are a very rich source of vitamin C. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals from the body.

Vitamin C also has an immune booster for rapid healing of wounds.

Bay leaves contain folic acid. Folate is important in DNA synthesis and when given during the period of conception, as it helps prevent damage to the neural tube in the baby.

Bay leaves contain an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for vision.

This vitamin is also necessary for proper maintenance of the skin. Consuming natural foods rich in vitamin A helps protect the oral cavity.

The spice is actually a very good source of vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These vitamin B compounds help in the synthesis of enzymes, in the functioning of the nervous system and in the regulation of the body’s metabolism.

This spice is a good source of minerals like copper, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium helps us control the proper functioning of blood pressure and heart rate.

Manganese and copper are factors that trigger the action of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, iron being essential for the production of red blood cells.

Laurel may help reduce joint pain. Boil a liter of water and add 10 grams of bay leaves. Apply it on the area that hurts.

Medicinal uses of bay leaf.

Medicinally, the benefits of bay leaf have astringent, diuretic and appetite stimulating properties.

Bay leaf infusions are known to relieve stomach ulcers, gas, and colic.

Lauric acid in bay leaf serves as an insect repellant. The components of bay leaf essential oil are used in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and the flu.

Selection and storage of bay leaves.

Bay leaves are traditionally picked and dried slowly in the shade of direct sunlight, in order to preserve their volatile essential oils.

In spice stores you can find different types of bay leaf preparations. Completely dehydrated, they are dried and crushed.

Buy from genuine sources and avoid odorless ones as they can have spots, fungus, and infected leaves.

Once home, place the bay leaves in an airtight jar and keep it out of direct light.

Its leaves should not be kept for more than a year, because they would lose their flavor.

Remember to consult your doctor before modifying or introducing any new elements in your diet.