A-Z of spices – I was meant to post my first spice article in January 2020 – but only got down to doing posting my A-Z of spices article, starting with the letter “A”, in February and March disappeared somewhere, so the next spice starting with the letter “B” is here now. I am hoping I catch up somewhere along the line – and at least have blog posts that cover spices that begin with the first 12 letters of the alphabet on or before the end of 2020 – I am most certainly going to try.
Today’s spice/herb is “Bay Leaves”, and OMG – I am learning so much as I research these herbs and spices – bay leaves are just what we need to “assist” us (during the months preceding winter and during winter) – PLEASE NOTE – I am no doctor and the research I read was from no medical doctor – I am only suggesting that they can help relieve some “chest problems”, it is no cure – it may give comfort or relief.
Bay Leaves – Benefits
Bay leaves – a fragrant leaf from the “laurel tree” that is used as a herb for cooking and a herb for medicinal purposes – ancient Greeks & Romans considered to be a medicinal herb of great value, & today it is mainly or even only used to spice up or add flavour to our cooking. In the days of our forefathers these leaves served a very different purpose – it was burned in place of incense sticks at home and places of worship. The reasoning behind this was religious, fanatical and many were based on scientific facts – that bay leaves contained a number of chemical benefits for the body.
Want to relieve stress – burn a few bay leaves (this method has been used for centuries), the chemical linalool and other chemicals in the leaves create smoke that when inhaled – calms the mind & body and reduces anxiety. However it does not tire one out it calms you and simultaneously perks you up, and since it does both using the leaves during meditation is said to be very effective – no medical evidence to prove this – however frequent users are confident that bay leaf smoke aids a more mindful meditation practice.
Bay leaves – some of its medicinal properties include reducing inflammation – especially within the joints – this healing comes from the chemical eugenol – & voila it is found in “bay leaves” and it is an all-natural anti-inflammatory. Eugenol also has anti-oxidant properties & voila again – as bay leaves are packed with a host of other vitamins (vitamin A & C, iron, potassium, calcium & magnesium – all in one little leaf) and necessary for a well-functioning body. Burning and ingesting bay leaves has the ability to boost your immune system – “off to the green grocer we go to stock up on bay leaves”, we all need good immune systems.
Bay Leaves Assist With:-
- Coping with diabetes – need to consume 1-3grams for best results
- Open Respiratory System – helps treat clogged backed up respiratory passages and lungs. Get a small vile of “bay leaf oil” and add to a humidifier, or rub some on your chest area to assist breathing. Boil some bay leaves and soak a cloth or small towel and use this over your chest and mouth to provide relief from cough, colds, bronchitis and chest infections
- Migraines – inhale the smoke or rub your temples with the bay leaf oil
- Digestion – bay leaves contain enzymes that aid in breaking down proteins – to enable faster food digestion and calm indigestion
- Fever – drinking a bay leaf infusion – aids in breaking fever by sweating and aids in ridding one’s body of flu like symptoms
- Bay leaf capsules are available as a health supplement
The above are just guidelines and by no means claim to cure one or all of the ailments or ask you to stop conventional medication
Recipe for bay leaf tea/infusion
- 450ml water
- 3-4 bay leaves
- 50ml lemon juice
- Place all ingredients together in a pot and bring to a boil – turn heat of and allow to cool ( temperature you are comfortable with) before consuming
Besides all of the above-mentioned medicinal properties of bay leaves, it is an amazing flavouring when cooking – the dried bay leaves have a warm aroma – and the leaves are broken into pieces before being used to flavour dishes that need longer cooking times – like a stew, or simmered in a sauce – but all bits and bobs are removed before serving. During cooking with bay leaves – one would note that the aroma is much more obvious than the taste and it is that aroma that adds all the flavour to a dish.
It is fairly important to store these treasured leaves correctly to ensure you obtain all their flavour and goodness – fresh bay leaves should be stored in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator – and it should last for 1-2 weeks. Dried bay leaves – should also be stored in an airtight bottle or container – but these keep well in a spice drawer or cabinet