If you’ve ever made a savory chicken soup on a cold day, you already know that bay leaves can subtly enhance the flavor of the broth. They add depth and complexity to the taste, and are renowned in professional kitchens around the world for their versatility.
But did you know that bay leaves, from the Laurel plant, have many more benefits than adding some flavor to chicken stock? Turns out they’re a wonder-drug capable of improving any number of daily health issues, like:
- Skin infections
- Headaches or migraines
- Fluid retention
- Gas and bloating
How is the bay leaf so power-packed? It is rich in vitamins A and C, and the minerals manganese, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and iron. The combination can help with nerve and muscle function, as well as reduce inflammation within the body.
Bay leaves are also helpful in reducing indigestion, as they contain digestive enzymes that help break down food faster. It is also said that the leaves are helpful in treating cold, flu, cough, and other respiratory issues. You can make (or buy) a salve to rub on your chest, or boil the leaves and put that on a compress that you apply directly to your chest. This warm compress can also be used for some skin infections because bay laurel leaves contain strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Interested in making your own Bay Laurel tea?
The great news is that it’s fairly simple and straightforward. All you need is water and about 30g of dry bay laurel leaves.
Bring a pot with water and the bay leaves to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and continue to boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the tea steep for 4 minutes.
Depending on your taste, you may want to add some sweetener to make it more palatable. But otherwise, you can drink this tea twice per day for its benefits.
Some things to note about bay leaf tea
While there are many benefits, there are also some things to consider before adding this tea to your routine.
Because of the calming properties, it may cause drowsiness, so it is best not to be taken with any medications that also cause drowsiness. For pregnancy and breastfeeding, in the UK it is recommended to avoid bay laurel essential oil. Additionally, there has not been much research done on the safety of drinking the tea during pregnancy. It should at least be avoided for the first trimester of pregnancy.
Lastly, if you have gastritis or digestive ulcers, laurel oil may cause irritation to the stomach lining, so it is recommended that you avoid the tea in this instance, as well.