When I think of bay leaf, I immediately recall the aroma of delicious Italian food cooking on the stove. This herb has been around for centuries for medicinal purposes as well as for flavoring flood. Used in cooking for a distinctive, savory flavor or fragrance for meats, soups and stews, and even as an ingredient in a cologne known as bay rum, you may find bay leaf in cosmetics, soaps and detergents as well.
The bay leaf is extraordinary for its many health benefits, such as helping treat cancer, gas and bloating and digestion. There’s even some evidence it may help treat dandruff, muscle and joint pain, and skin infections, though further research is needed to confirm those uses. Find out how to use this ancient herb in order to get some of these amazing benefits.
Benefits of Bay Leaf
1. Antimocrobial and Antioxidants Qualities
Bay leaf, including bay leaf essential oil, offers antimicrobial and antioxidantbenefits. A study conducted at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University focused on the antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of specific essential oils from white wormwood, rose-scented geranium and bay laurel on fresh produce against Salmonella and E. coli. All three essential oils showed antioxidant properties, with the highest activity occurring in bay laurel essential oil.
2. May Prevent Candida and Contain Wound-Healing Benefits
Bay leaf has been shown to provide antifungal properties. A study published in the Archives of Oral Biology was conducted demonstrating the antifungal potential of the essential oil of bay laurel against candida. In the study, the bay laurel disrupted adhesion of candida to cell walls, therefore reducing its ability to penetrate the membrane, making it a great addition to a candida diet in order to combat this condition.
3. May Help Fight Cancer
Evaluation of the use of bay leaf extracts showed that both the leaves and fruits were potent against breast cancer cell models. The study notes bay leaf as a potential natural agent for breast cancer therapy by comparing cells that were induced with the extracts and those that were not. Cell death occurred in those that were induced, making bay leaf a possible natural cancer treatment option.
Further research published in Nutrition and Cancer suggests that it may help fight colorectal cancer. In vitro studies were conducted using extracts of the bay leaf against colon cancer cell growth. By using a process of incorporating ingredients, such as bay leaf into food, results exhibited the potential for colon cancer-regulating properties, showing relevance to protection against colorectal cancer during early stages of detection.
4. Could Be Useful for Diabetics
It’s possible that bay leaf can help lower blood sugar levels. Research suggests that by taking ground bay leaf two times per day, blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels (LDL) dropped in participants in the study. It’s important to note that this study included the regular medication that the subjects were using for diabetes. However, the benefits were positive, also showing that it increases the good cholesterol (HDL).
Further research by the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition reveals that bay leaves may improve insulin function. The study was conducted to determine if bay leaves may help prevent and eliminate type 2 diabetes. Forty people were given varied amounts of bay leaf, in the form of a capsule, per day over a period of 30 days. All amounts reduced serum glucose and total cholesterol, but there were no significant changes in the placebo group. The overall outcome shows that regular consumption of bay leaves may help decrease risk factors for diabetes and and even cardiovascular diseases.
5. Aids Digestion
Bay leaves may have an impact on the gastrointestinal system by promoting urination, which helps release toxins in the body. Within bay leaves are certain organic compounds containing enzymes that may help eliminate an upset tummy and soothe irritable bowel syndrome, reducing bloating and gas. In some cases, it has been known to decrease symptoms of celiac disease as well. Overall, the bay leaf may provide much relief by enhancing the digestion process and, therefore, increasing nutrient absorption.
Bay Leaf Nutrition Facts
One tablespoon (two grams) of crumbled bay leaf contains about:
- 5.5 calories
- 1.3 grams carbohydrates
- 0.1 gram protein
- 0.1 gram fat
- 0.5 gram fiber
- 0.1 milligram manganese (7 percent DV)
- 0.8 milligram iron (4 percent DV)
- 108 IU vitamin A (2 percent DV)
Bay Leaf Benefits, Herbal Plants, Diabetics, Medicinal Plants