Katie is an Herbologist that specializes in natural remedies. Her motto is "Let Food Be Thy Medicine".
What are Bay leaves?
Before we fully jump in and start talking about Bay leaf tea, it's really important to know exactly what we're talking about when we say Bay leaves. There are actually a variety of different plants that have leaves referred to as bay leaves. But don't be fooled. True, Bay leaf is none other than (Laurus nobilis). And while other plants in the Lauraceae family have Bay leaves, it's the Laurel Bay, otherwise known as Sweet Bay, that is supposed to have the highest nutritional content.
How to Make Bay Leaf Tea?
The most important thing to know when you're making Bay leaf tea is this, it's dull. Yeah, it's really kind of lame. So if you want to enjoy the benefits of Bay leaf tea, it's always best to bring some other friends to the party to help spruce up the flavor of that dull Bay leaf tea.
For some, it can be as simple as adding lemon to three or four Bay Leafs, but it's really even better if you mix it with other herbs like peppermint, rosemary, lavender, or whatever floats your boat. Do people use that expression anymore? Floats your boat? Anyway, just make sure not to steep it longer than three to five minutes otherwise, it'll probably get bitter.
Bay Leaf - Whole
What are the benefits of Bay Leaf Tea?
- Digestion - As far back as the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans, Bay leaf tea was used to help with digestion, and by most accounts, that is its primary benefit. According to a 2019 report, Bay leaves gives relief from abdominal pain, gastrointestinal, infections, flatulence, bloating, constipation, and even diarrhea. The enzymes within Bay leaves are particularly effective at dealing with things like bloating and gas. So if you're Tooting just a little too much, Bay leaf tea might be the answer for you.
- Kidney - Being a diuretic, Bay leaf tea also helps you relieve toxins from the body, helping not only the gastrointestinal system but your kidneys as well. A 2014 study showed that Bay leaf can also help with kidney stones by reducing the amount of the evil bacteria known as Urease.
- Respiratory - Speaking of bacteria, according to the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Bay leaves have great antibacterial properties, which make them ideal for helping with coughs and colds. Bay Leaf's primary respiratory benefits are believed to be strongest when using it as a poultice or salve. Bay leaf tea also promotes sweating. Is this good? Well, if you're wanting to break a fever, open your pores or just release some toxins, yeah, it can be great.
- Hair & Skin Health - Dandruff or dry Skin got you Down? While there is a lack of scientific evidence for this, there is a good amount of anecdotal evidence asserting that Bay leaf tea can help with dry skin or more specifically, dandruff. The primary way of doing this is by making some Bay leaf tea, but this time, don't add anything else to it. Once it's cool, you'll then rub the tea into your scalp. Once you're done shampooing, rinse off your hair well, rub the Bay leaf tea into your scalp to keep your scalp healthy and avoid dandruff.
- Boost Your Immune System - With Antimicrobial and Antioxidant Properties, Bay leaf contains about 80 helpful compounds for your health. Don't mind all the scientific names they're great for you. One study conducted at North Carolina at University showed how Bay leaf is helpful against Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria behind Staph infections), salmonella, and E. Coli. Its massive antioxidants are also helpful for fighting off diseases and boosting your immune system.
- Anti-inflammatory - Bay leaves contain a unique phytonutrient called parthenolide. Parthenolide can quickly reduce inflammation from sore joints or arthritis. While you can get benefits by drinking Bay leaf tea, it can be even more effective by applying it directly to the affected area as a poultice or salve.
- Heart Health - Bay leaves contain rutin, which strengthens capillary walls in the heart and in your limbs. It also has caffeic acid, which can help eliminate bad cholesterol from your body. A study published in Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition found that one to 3 grams of Bay leaves consumed daily was associated with 26% lower cholesterol levels. Research also indicates that Bay leaf tea may help promote good cholesterol levels. Bay leaf antioxidants are also great for your heart health by lowering the risk of heart disease and strokes.
- Anxiety and Stress - The Compound Linalool is most often associated with herbs like cilantro, thyme, and basil. This compound helps lower stress hormones in the body. And Luckily, Bay leaves have linalool too. That's why we're talking about it now. It's currently believed that the strongest way to get the benefits of linalool is by using it as aromatherapy.
- Diabetes - Research shows that taking one to 3 grams of Bay leaf a day not only can help with cholesterol levels but blood sugar levels too. At the moment, more research is needed to be done. All that researchers want to say right now is that Bay leaf tea can help reduce the risk factors of type two diabetes, but Alas, it doesn't necessarily stop it in its tracks.
- Cancer - There is some compelling research that shows how Bay leaf can help fight against breast cancer. So far, studies have shown how it helps kill cancer cells by aiding in apoptosis. In addition, research published in Nutrition and Cancer suggests that Bay leaf can help with rectal cancer as well.
Other Bay Leaf Benefits
While it'd be great to just sip Bay leaf tea all day long and get some wonderful benefits, other benefits are much better when applying it directly to the skin or ingesting it in other ways. These other benefits include anti-fungal properties like stopping Candida, wound healing capabilities, stopping boils, and even helping with epilepsy seizures.
As I mentioned earlier, the Bay leaf is commonly associated with other types of plants. However, if you want to get the benefits I've just listed you want to get some true Bay leaf which is derived from the Laurel tree. Other varieties like a mountain or cherry Laurel can actually be toxic so be certain that you're consuming the real Laurel Bay leaf.
Luckily, Bay leaf isn't widely known as an allergenic substance but contact dermatitis and eczema breakouts have been sporadically reported. Some people may experience rashes and itchy mouth or a swollen tongue so if you get any of these sadly Bay leaf isn't your buddy. Best try out another herbal tea to make you happy but bear in mind if you're allergic to other members of the Lauraceae family there is a chance you're likely to be allergic to Bay leaf as well.
Bay leaf may also slow down your central nervous system so if you're going in for surgery it's suggested not to have Bay leaf or Bay leaf tea before doing so as it can mess with the anesthesia or other medications.
Beyond that, having Bay leaf tea is considered very safe when taken in normal amounts. If you want to swallow the whole leaf though, that's another story as Bay Leafs tend to stay intact in your digestive system and can become lodged in or even break the lining of your throat or intestines. Well, what do you know? I have been eating spaghetti for decades and didn't know. That's the reason I'm supposed to remove my Bay Leafs from the spaghetti. Well, there you go. The more you know. Have you tried Bay leaf tea before? If so, do you mix it with anything to make it more palatable? Let me know in the comments down below. Please be kind, and take care of each other. I'm going to head off and make a nice cup of tasty Bay Leaf tea.
Bay Leaf Herbal Tea Blend
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2022 Katie Luense