5 Possible Uses for the Bay Leaf

Bay leaf is a standard ingredient in many savory soups and stews. But did you know that this seasoning is also good for your health?

This plant, Laurus nobilis, comes from the laurel family, a family of evergreen trees and shrubs most commonly found in parts of Asia and America. It’s different from other laurels because it originates near the Mediterranean.

Bay leaves have been used many different ways throughout history, including as a diuretic or even as a diaphoretic, a substance that promotes sweating. But how do these uses measure up against scientific study, and are there other uses for bay leaves? Read on to find it.

Did You Know?
In ancient Greece, Laurus nobilis was considered sacred to the god Apollo. That’s why bay leaf wreathes were used to crown winning athletes.

Keep Cancer at Bay

Researchers are aggressively seeking new ways to treat and eventually prevent breast cancer. A new study has found that extract from the bay leaf plant is a natural option that might be able to help. The extract may help kill cancer cells by assisting apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

A Solution for Diabetes

According to a 2009 study, taking capsules that contain 1-3g of bay leaf daily can help lower and manage glucose levels and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. This is most likely because bay leaves contain polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. This promising information indicates that bay leaf could help regulate and even prevent diabetes and other cardiovascular diseases.

Can It Treat Your Wounds?

Researchers want to find out. Studies so far have shown that the leaf extract’s healing properties can reduce inflammation in the wound area. While these experiments have been conducted on rats, scientists are optimistic that bay leaf could function similarly in humans. If so, the age-old tradition of using this leaf for healing would finally have scientific proof.

Did You Know?
The use of bay leaf to treat wounds dates back to the Middle Ages.

Turning a New Leaf on How to Treat Kidney Stones

A 2014 study investigated whether bay leaf extract could help prevent kidney stones. The study found that, along with eight other traditional medicinal herbs, bay leaf was able to reduce the amount of urease in your body.

Urease is an enzyme that can cause several gastric disorders, including kidney stones, when it’s out of balance. But the scientists conducting the study suggested that more research should be done to understand how these herbs function.

Can It Banish Brain Disorders?

Ancient texts refer to the bay leaf as a treatment for seizures. In a recent study, scientists decided to try to find out of this legend could be scientifically proven. They discovered that bay leaf extract was indeed effective in protecting rats again seizures. This is likely because of the extract’s unique chemical components. 

Scientists hope to use this new research to begin studying the effect of the extract on humans. For example, bay leaf might be able to help people diagnosed with epilepsy.

The Takeaway

For now, all we know for sure is that bay leaves can provide a savory boost of flavor in soups and stews. But keep an eye out as scientists uncover the other amazing ways this leaf can be used.