Bay leaves have been found to lower blood sugar levels and prevent type 2 diabetes in people with high risk factors for the disease. It is also great for improving hair growth, reducing dandruff, and treating itchy scalp. Bay leaf can also help restore digestion. Some studies suggest that bay leaf might be helpful in killing cancer cells.
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The benefits of bay leaves
You may know that bay leaves are widely used to flavor Asian dishes. It is a refreshing and aromatic herb, but many people do not know that bay leaf is amazing for health too. Laurel comes from the Lauraceae family and is widely used in traditional medicine; the herb is also considered a symbol of honor. The ancient Greeks would crown their war heroes and Olympians with a laurel leaf wreath.
Bay leaves are popularly used in soups, rice, stews, and other flavorful dishes. Next you will know why you should use it more often in your meals.
1. Control diabetes
One study revealed that people who consumed ground bay leaves twice a day lowered their blood sugar levels. Bay leaves were found to contain compounds that can help process insulin at an efficient rate. Bay leaves are also beneficial for people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study also noted a drop in total cholesterol levels.
2. Promotes heart health
Bay leaf contains rutin and caffeic acid. These compounds have been found to strengthen the walls of the heart and lower cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels can lead to a build-up of plaque and this could cause a heart attack or stroke.
3. Helps in digestion
If you’re constipated or bloated, bay leaf can help your digestion return to normal. In Ayurveda, bay leaf is considered to help reduce digestive fire. It helps to eliminate excess toxin from the body due to its diuretic property (something that increases urination) and stimulates digestive juices.
Additionally, the enzymes present in bay leaf have been found to help break down food efficiently, which is helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome or any other digestive problem. One study suggested that bay leaves could help reduce celiac disease symptoms as well.
4. Relieves pain
Bay leaves also contain anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it beneficial for reducing pain in people suffering from any type of sprain, joint problems, and even arthritis. You could create a paste with ground bay leaves and castor leaves, then apply the paste to the affected areas and let it sit for 20 minutes. Also, massaging bay leaf oil on your forehead is an ancient remedy for treating a headache.
5. Increases anti-cancer effects
Some studies suggest that bay leaf might be helpful in killing cancer cells. This is because it is packed with phytonutrients and catechins, compounds that can attack cancer cells. One study revealed that bay leaf extracts helped kill breast cancer cells.
6. Accelerates wound healing
Using a bay leaf paste to treat wounds and scars is an ancient remedy. This is thanks to its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It can also be helpful in treating fungal infections like candida.
7. Soothes a sore throat and reduces coughing
Another amazing feature about bay leaves is their ability to clear the respiratory system. If you have a dry cough, bay leaf can help unclog plugged air passages and kill bacteria. You can boil 4-5 bay leaves in water, once it has cooled a bit, soak a washcloth in the resulting water and apply it on the chest of the sick person. Make sure the cloth is not extremely hot before applying it to any part of the body.
8. Treat kidney stones
One study revealed that bay leaf could help reduce the level of urease in the body. When you have a lot of urease, this can lead to the development of kidney stones and other gastric problems.
9. Combat anxiety and stress
If you find it difficult to relax at the end of the day, try a cup of bay leaf tea. This home remedy and infusion is known to calm nerves, prevent anxiety, and even induce sleep. You could have a cup before bed.
10. Improves hair growth and treats dandruff
If you are fighting dandruff and hair loss, you can try using laurel. It is an ancient remedy to correct any type of hair problem as the leaves are packed with hair-friendly compounds.
To use it you can simply boil some bay leaves in water, let it cool down a bit and then rinse the hair and scalp with this water. Make sure to do this after shampooing your hair.
If you want something for an itchy scalp, you can grind the bay leaves and mix with coconut oil. Apply this on the scalp and let it sit for 30 minutes and then wash it off with warm water.
While bay leaves are generally considered safe, it is not recommended for pregnant or nursing women as bay leaves can cause uterine contractions. In addition, it is recommended that people stop eating bay leaf two weeks before any surgery, especially if it is related to the central nervous system.