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Bay Leaves

Long ago the bay leaves were considered as a symbol of glory and achievement.

· Spice

Do you know which simple dried leaf is considered as symbol of glory and achievement?
So much so that even till today university students from this place wear a wreath of these leaves on their graduation day.

Long ago the bay leaves were considered as a symbol of glory and achievement. Even today in few places in Italy, students were these beautiful aromatic wreaths. Bay leaf is not only used as Medicinal herb but religious herb as well.

Researches, after testing 120 spices, herbs, and vegetables declared that bay leaf ranks first in anti-oxidant power. Antioxidants are substances that can avoid or slow down the damage to cells caused due to free radicals. Free radicals are the unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.

Exploring bay leaf…

Bay leaves are picked and dried from the bay laurel tree, a dense leafy green evergreen tree that grows abundantly along the Mediterranean Sea (although it’s cultivated in many countries).

If you are cooking with the bay leaf, you experience a woodsy, pungent aroma. Its flavor has a slight hint of eucalyptus when cooked in liquid. Leaves by itself are pungent and have a sharp, bitter flavor. The aroma and taste intensify if cooked for longer, bur loses its charm if overcooked. Make sure to add them at the beginning of the cooking and remove before serving.
They are used in fresh, dried, powdered and oil form. The oil extracted from bay leaves, has many medicinal properties. Bay leaf is mostly preferred in dried form as its perfume is more distinct and less bitter when dried. It’s rarely sold fresh for culinary use since, dried leaves infuse more flavor into food.

Most bay leaves produced and exported are from Turkey and Greece, with most bay leaf sold in the US from Turkey.

Health Benefits

1. Bay leaf helps in getting relief from seasonal allergies and symptoms like cold, cough, mucus secretion.
Drink bay leaf tea for getting rid of discomfort from these symptoms.
Bay leaves are aids in digestion, especially after heavy meals and works wonder in case of bloating.

2. Burning bay leaves, relives anxiety, (under 10 mins) and a have very calming effect. It increases awareness, fights feelings of exhaustion and gives a nice mood lift. Bay leaves are packed with linalool, which has shown the ability to lower the number of stress hormones within the body.
When the stress hormones are out of a line, you may feel more nervous and anxious. Stress in turn increases the blood pressure and is dangerous for the heart health.

3. Bay leaves help in treatment of Kidney Problems
Bay leaves help in treating kidney infections and even kidney stones. Drinking bay leaf tea can stop kidney stones. Eugenol, from bay leaf Reduces inflammation and acts as natural anti-inflammatory cure and boosts immune system.
Eating just 1-2 grams of bay leaves, a day have helped people treat diabetes and heart problems.

Uses

Bay leaf can be used in soups, stews, soups, beans, marinades, sauces, fish boils, curries and rice dishes.
It can be used for flavoring custard and puddings.

Home Remedies

1. Boil 3-4 bay leaves and 1-2 basil leaves in 1-2 cups water and reduce it to ½ c – this tea is excellent for seasonal allergies.
2. For Asthma boil bay leaves, licorice and dried ginger in water and drink twice a day.
3. To stop the formation of kidney stone - boil 5 bay leaves in 200 ml water till 50 ml water remains. Strain and drink it twice daily.
4. For mindfulness during meditation – burn bay leaves like incense.

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