Origin: Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf. It is also called laurel leaf. This is the leaf of the sweet bay tree. The bay leaf natively belongs to the Mediterranean and other parts of Asia. This herb is famous for its culinary uses. In ancient times, this leaf was referred to as the tree of the sun god, under the sun sign of Leo. This herb was also used to crown the victorious athletes in ancient Greece. During the Roman time, bay leaves were only used medicinally.
Bay leaf was considered very important to Greeks and the Romans, they believed that this herb symbolizes wisdom, peace, and protection.
Scientifically: Bay leaf scientifically known as Laurus nobilis, is an evergreen tree. It belongs to the family Lauraceae. Bay leaves are elongated, elliptic in shape, leathery, dark-green and are about 3-4 inches in length. Bay leaves have a sweet and pleasant aroma. The dried leaves are the ones which are added to different recipes. Bay leaf is also known as Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Daphne, Grecian Laurel, Laurel, Laurel Común, Laurier d’Apollon, Laurier Noble, Laurier-Sauce, Laurier Vrai, Laurus nobilis, Mediterranean Bay, Noble Laurel, Roman Laurel, True Bay, etc.
The herb is an excellent source of vitamins such as niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. The B-complex groups of vitamins provide enzymes to the body, improves nervous system function, and body metabolism.
Bay leaf is also an excellent source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, selenium, zinc and magnesium. It has great astringent and appetite inducing properties. Bay leaf essential oil is great to treat insect bites, arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis, and flu symptoms. Bay leaf also helps in keeping blood sugar levels in control.
Usage: The uses of bay leaves are used as a spice to flavor soups, stews, curries, rice, etc. they are added in the whole form to the dishes and are removed once the dish is the done. This herb is famous in Asian, Indian, Mughlai, Mediterranean and Italian. The cultivation of bay leaf tree or laurel tree has reduced due to climatic change.
The Bay leaf is also popular for its medicinal value and is used in aromatherapy and other herbal treatments for skin and respiratory conditions.
Bay leaves are also used on the skin to treat boils, skin infections. It works great excellent in getting rid of dandruff.
Having Bay leaf tea works excellent as a rejuvenating beverage and works well in improving metabolism.
Here’s how you make a bay leaf tea:
- Take some bay leaves and add four cups of water to a pan. Let the water boil for 30 mins on a slow flame and let it chill later. Strain the tea. You can also drink this tea and use this as a skin toner or a hair rinse.
Here are some DIY to make skin and hair better with bay leaf:
- Take some bay leaf tea and apply on the scalp and hair length. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then shampoo your hair. This mask helps in making your hair smooth and lustrous.
- Take few bay leaves and grind them into powder. Mix the powder with some coconut oil and apply it to the scalp. Let it stay for 30 minutes and then rinse. This remedy helps in strengthening the hair and reduces the itchiness. It also helps in removing dandruff.
- Apply bay leaf water on the face as a toner twice a day. This helps in reducing pigmentation and keeps acne at a bay.
- Take a teaspoon of powdered bay leaf and add a tablespoon of yogurt to it. Mix it together and apply on the irritated skin. Leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse later. This mask helps in soothing the skin.