Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms

Contents

 

Description

The ancient Greeks washed their hands with laurel infusion before eating. Now Bay leafs are used in cooking, classical and folk medicine, in the chemical industry and in cosmetology.

Dried bay leaves can be found at any grocery store, home grown, or harvested. The recommended collection period is from mid November to mid February. Healthy laurel leaves have a dark green tint, without spots or damage, and exude a strong odor.

 

Laurel noble – evergreen shrub or tree, belongs to the laurel family. Its leaves are dark green in color, lighter on the underside, the edges are slightly wavy.

Sometimes under the name “Bay leafs” you can find spices that have neither botanical nor culinary connection with real bay leaves – the so-called Indian, Indonesian, West Indian “bay leaves”. The leaves of boldo (Peumus boldus), a distant relative of laurel, have a similar culinary use.

History

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms

The history of bay leaves goes back millennia. It was a popular plant as far back as Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. According to this legend, the nymph Daphne turned into a laurel tree those, who asked to be turned into a tree in order to escape from Apollo, who was in love with her.

Seeing his lover in the form of a tree, Apollo put on a wreath of laurel leaves – since then it has been customary to decorate the heads of winners in competitions dedicated to Apollo, and in ours the winners receive a “laureate”, which comes from the word “laurel”.

In Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, water and rooms were originally scented with laurel. Laurel first came to Europe as a remedy, but very soon it won recognition as a spice.

 

Bay leafs composition

The chemical composition of bay leaves is rich in elements of natural origin. On the basis of the plant, decoctions, infusions, extracts are prepared and essential oil is extracted.

Bay leafs contains phytosterol, linalool, essential oil, tannins, camphor and acids – formic, nylon, oily, lauric, acetic. The composition includes many useful compounds such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins of groups A, B, C, PP; macro and microelements – magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, copper, selenium, iron, manganese and potassium.

Thanks to such a quantity of biologically active substances, bay leaves are used in pharmaceuticals to combat various ailments.

 

Varieties of bay leaves

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms
  • Indian bay leaves (teipata, tei-pat) are the leaves of the Cinnamonum tamala tree (Malabar cinnamon), which is considered to be its homeland in the south of the Himalayas. The cinnamon obtained from this tree is less aromatic and delicate in taste than Ceylon and Chinese. But fragrant leaves are removed from this plant, which are used as a spice, calling it the Indian Bay leafs. The leaves are thin, tough, very aromatic, with tones of cinnamon and cloves. They serve as a substitute for the noble bay leaf and are very popular in North India, where they are called teipata or tei pat. Indian bay leaves are added to rice and meat dishes, and are often included in spicy mixtures “garam masala”.
  • Indonesian Bay leafs (salam) is the fragrant leaves of the Indonesian tree Eugenia polyantha of the myrtle family. These leaves are small, fragrant, with a sour astringent taste, a familiar spice in the cuisine of Indonesia and Malaysia. The use of the Indonesian bay leaf is often limited to these areas.
  • West Indian bay leaf – Pimenta officinalis Lindl allspice leaves. As a spice, these leaves are used in the countries of their growth – for example, in the Caribbean, they are often stuffed with meat.
  • Boldo is a spice harvested from the Chilean Peumus boldus tree. The aromatic boldo leaves are used in cooking in a similar way to bay leaves. Their slightly bitter taste and pronounced aroma go well with fish and mushroom dishes. As a spice, boldo leaves are rare, but it is considered valuable, as it gives a unique taste and aroma.

Taste and aroma

Slightly sweetish spicy aroma with a moderate bitter-resinous taste

How to choose a Bay leafs

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms

High-quality bay leaves can be recognized by their strong aroma and bright olive color. The leaves should be medium-sized, free of plaque and damage.

The benefits of bay leaves

Bay leafs are a natural antiseptic that has anti-inflammatory properties and has an analgesic effect. Its water infusion is taken in the treatment of diseases of the oral cavity, pustular diseases of the skin and mucous membranes, for disinfection of abrasions or wounds.

 

The antiseptic effect is provided by formic and nylon acids, camphor and tannins present in the Bay leafs.

Bay leaf is also useful for those who suffer from insomnia or increased irritability, nervous irritability. The smell of bay leaves or bathing with a decoction gently affects the human nervous system. The sedative effect is due to the linalool included in the composition.

A decoction of the leaves helps to cope with a viral infection in the body, to strengthen the immune system during the period of seasonal diseases. The tool is effective only in complex therapy. For this useful property, bay leaves are obliged to lauric acid.

 

Bay leafs Application in medicine

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms

Bay leaf is a natural antiseptic that has anti-inflammatory properties and has an analgesic effect. Its water infusion is taken in the treatment of diseases of the oral cavity, pustular diseases of the skin and mucous membranes, for disinfection of abrasions or wounds. The antiseptic effect is provided by formic and nylon acids, camphor and tannins present in the bay leaf.

Bay leaf is also useful for those who suffer from insomnia or increased irritability, nervous irritability. The smell of bay leaves or bathing with a decoction gently affects the human nervous system. The sedative effect is due to the linalool included in the composition.

A decoction of the leaves helps to cope with a viral infection in the body, to strengthen the immune system during the period of seasonal diseases. The tool is effective only in complex therapy. For this useful property, bay leaves are obliged to lauric acid.

 

Beneficialy effects:

nervous system, soothes and strengthens it.
digestion by stimulating appetite.
joints, preventing the deposition of salts.
kidneys and bladder, removing stones from the body.
skin with inflammation.

Expert advice

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms

Bay leaves are laid at the rate of 1 sheet per 1 liter of liquid.
Before using, the bay leaf is sorted out, washed in cold water and placed in the first courses 5-10 minutes before cooking, and in the second courses along with sautéed vegetables 30-40 minutes before the end of stewing.

A decoction of bay leaves removes stagnant fluid from the body. Having got rid of it, a person will feel lighter, including physically: a couple of extra pounds will go away with the liquid. The effect is achieved due to the presence of essential oils and butyric acid in the bay leaf, which activate metabolic processes in the body. A fast metabolism plays a major role in the fight against excess weight.

Since salt deposits provoke pain in the joints, the salts must be removed. Treatment with laurel broth is carried out subject to diet for 6 days, with a short break after 3 days. A similar method of treatment is used for rheumatic diseases.

Bay leafs In cosmetology

Thanks to the rich complex of macro- and microelements that make up the “lavrushka”, it is used to combat skin problems – acne, oily sheen, enlarged pores, and weakened hair – dull color, fragility. A decoction of bay leaves is recommended to wipe areas with acne. An infusion of bay leaves will help to achieve shine and strengthen hair. Toning masks with bay leaf extract are in great demand among women.

Infusion of bay leaves is used to wipe the feet affected by the fungus, with increased sweating, severe itching and burning. The infusion soothes damaged skin of the legs, eliminates unpleasant odors, dries the skin and resists viral infections.

Cooking applications

Bay leafs – a description of the spice. Health benefits and harms
  • National cuisines: everywhere
  • Classic dishes: Most often, bay leaves are used in various sauces, broths, soups and gravies. Marinades and brines are unthinkable without bay leaves. It goes well with second courses – meat, vegetable or fish. In the first courses, the bay leaf is placed 5-10 minutes before cooking, in the second – 15-20 minutes. After preparing the dish, the bay leaf is removed, as it can add excessive bitterness to the dish. It is recommended to add bay powder to sauces.
  • Usage: as a spice, laurel leaves are used fresh and more often in dried form, and ground laurel can also be found, but it quickly loses its aroma, therefore it is recommended to grind the bay leaf just before use.
  • Application: Soups and broths, preparations, sauces, fish, meat, vegetables, legumes, poultry

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