Bay laurel – health benefits and therapeutic value

Bay laurel or noble laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a shrub very common in the Mediterranean areas that can easily grow 32 feet (10 meters) tall.

A symbol of victory and peace, bay laurel represents strength and success; it is famous also for its health benefits for the body.

Health benefits of bay laurel

Eases digestion and reduces flatulence; soothes urinary tract infections and dental infections; offers antiseptic and bactericidal properties; soothes pain due to sore throat; used with other treatments, it helps treat flu-related symptoms (cough, bronchitis, obstructed sinuses, etc.)

  • Bay laurel leaves and fruits, in culinary preparations, truly support digestive tract functions. They increase appetite, stimulate lazy stomachs and reduce aerophagia.
  • Bay is also an antiseptic, antifungal and antibacterial.
  • To soothe pain related to chronic respiratory disorders (bronchitis, sinusitis) or in case of flu and colds, bay laurel is recommended for its expectorant and antiviral properties.
  • Bay is also an effective ally in treating symptoms due to exhaustion such as herpes and canker sores. It calms urinary tract and dental infections.
  • On an emotional plane, bay laurel is known to alleviate anxiety, hypersensitivity and lack of self-esteem.
  • Topical use, like massage with bay leaf essential oil (diluted in sweet almond oil) relaxes contractures and muscle pain, joint inflammations and rheumatism.
  • Used in topical preparations, bay laurel oil extracts are effective in treating mycosis, acne and paronychia.
  • If diffused into the air in a room, bay laurel essential oil effectively purifies the air and gives energy to those present.
  • Good to know, laurel leaves repel flies that might want to visit your kitchen!

Growing bay laurel

  • You can grow bay laurel in your own garden as long as you provide it with a warm and exposed location. Soil must be light, sandy, humus-rich, soft and well drained.
  • For pots, bay laurel will do fine in a large garden box, since it grows large quite easily.
  • Take care, though, because it cannot resist freezing. Also check on the many small bugs (scale insects, caterpillars, etc.) that can devastate the plant.

Bay laurel in cooking

  • Bay laurel leaves deliciously flavor your gravy dishes, stock and marinades. And they are, of course, queens of the bouquet garni. They will add to your dishes their digestive and antiseptic properties.
  • Bay leaf infusions (⅔ oz (30 g) leaves for 1 quart (1 liter) water) aids digestion.

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