Bay leaves have been widely used in cooking since ancient times.
The laurel is located within the lauraceae family. Although it is not clear, it is possible that it originated in Asia Minor and from there to the entire Mediterranean region.
The laurel is a large, evergreen tree that grows up to 9 meters in height. The leaves are thick and elliptical in shape, very shiny and dark green.
Its aroma is pleasant and it is a great companion to cooking recipes.
Even withered or dried leaves have a very strong aroma and can be stored in our kitchen cupboard for months.
Benefits and health properties of bay leaf
The spice contains many compound derivatives, such as minerals and vitamins, that are essential for optimal health.
Laurel has volatile active components, such as a-pinene, beta-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and chavicol.
These compounds are known to have antiseptic, anti-oxidant, and digestive properties.
Fresh leaves are a rich source of vitamin C. This vitamin is a powerful antioxidant that helps eliminate free radicals from the body.
Vitamin C also has an immune stimulant for rapid wound healing.
Bay leaves contain folic acid. Folates are important in DNA synthesis and when administered during the conception period, as they help prevent neural tube damage in the baby.
Bay leaves contain an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant and is essential for vision.
This vitamin is also required for good skin maintenance. Consuming natural foods rich in vitamin A helps protect the oral cavity.
The spice is in fact a very good source of vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and riboflavin. These B vitamin compounds help in the synthesis of enzymes, the function of the nervous system, and the regulation of the body’s metabolism.
This spice is a good source of minerals like copper, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. Potassium helps us control the proper functioning of blood pressure and heart rate.
Manganese and copper are factors that trigger the action of the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase, iron being essential for the production of red blood cells.
Laurel can help decrease joint pain. Boil a liter of water and add 10 grams of bay leaves. Apply it on the area that hurts.
Medicinal uses of bay leaf.
In medicine, bay leaf benefits have astringent, diuretic, and appetite-stimulating properties.
Bay leaf infusions are reputed to relieve stomach ulcers, flatulence and cramping pain.
The lauric acid in bay leaf serves as insect repellants. The essential oil components of laurel are used in the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and influenza.
Selection and storage of bay leaves.
Traditionally, bay leaves are slowly picked and dried in the shade of direct sunlight, in order to preserve their volatile essential oils.
In spice stores, you can find different types of bay leaf preparations. Completely dehydrated, they are dried and crushed.
Buy from authentic sources and avoid odorless ones, as they can have stains, fungus, and infected leaves.
Once at home, place the bay leaves in an airtight jar and keep it out of direct light.
Its leaves should not be stored for more than a year , since they would lose their flavor.
Remember to consult with your doctor before changing or introducing new elements in your diet.