Bay leaves are a herb gotten from the sweet bay tree (Laurus Nobilis), which is native to areas around the Mediterranean sea, but it can also be found in some other parts of the world. It is known for its distinct, rich smell and has been used as a herb to treat and manage certain conditions because they are rich in essential vitamins and minerals.
The use of bay leaves is by no means recent as people have always used it for thousands of years. One of the common ways it was used was to make wreaths in ancient Rome. 
People also use bay leaves as spices, infusing it in their cooking, because of its ability to enhance the aroma and taste of the food. By itself, bay leaf is not eaten as it has an almost bitter state, but it works well, adding flavour to other foods like stews, sauces, stuffing, and so on.
Some also mix it with other herbs or fruits and take it as tea. Bay leaf is also common in Nigeria, and is sold online stores and food marts. It is used to spice Nigerian jollof rice.
But our focus here today would be on the health benefits of bay leaves. They are packed with many essential nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fibre, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, dietary fibre, and much more.
Nutritional Value of Bay Leaves
The bay leaves are also endowed with Vitamins A, B6, C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Calcium, Niacin, Sodium, Selenium, Magnesium, and a lot more. They also contain an amount of essential oil. Bay leaves are made up of 1.3% essential oils (ol. lauri folii), consisting of 45% eucalyptol, 12% other terpenes, 8-12% terpinyl acetate, 3–4% sesquiterpenes, 3% methyleugenol, and other essential oils.
All these nutrients present point to the fact that bay leaves are very healthy to consume and would benefit the body in certain ways, which we would highlight below.
Health Benefits Of Bay Leaves
The following are some of bay leaf health benefits, based on it’s amazing rich nutrients and constituents.
1. Diabetes management
Bay leaves have been found to maintain good blood sugar levels, because of the way it helps in glucose metabolism. It also helps in inducing insulin receptors, which are very important for someone suffering from diabetes.
Bay leaves also reduces the levels of unhealthy cholesterol in the body. All of these can go a long way to improve the wellbeing of someone with diabetes.
A study in 2009 attested to this fact. It found out that consuming capsules that contain 1-3g of bay leaf every day can help in lowering or managing glucose levels and cholesterol levels in people with diabetes. 
2. Hair and skin improvement
One can also use the active chemicals in bay leaves to improve the quality of their hair and get rid of dandruff. This can be done by putting bay leaves and water, allowing it to steam, and then applying it on the hair. It can also be used to treat rashes and other skin conditions, improving the look and feel of your skin.
Furthermore, bay leaves are an effective hair rinse, eliminating buildup from the scalp and hair, resulting in a healthy and shiny appearance. Ingesting or topically applying bay leaf tea can also stimulate healthy hair growth, making it an excellent addition to any hair care routine.
3. Improving digestion
Bay leaves contain dietary fibre, which helps aid the digestion of complex foods and also the passing out of solid waste.
Besides that, bay leaves aid the body to expel toxic substances through urination or vomiting. Another thing is that bay leaves also help in stopping and preventing stomach upset.
4. Improves respiration
Bay leaves can also improve one’s respiratory health, allowing them to breathe better. It can be used as a form of aromatherapy, to deal with catarrh or nasal congestion, allowing the individual to inhale it for certain periods. Doing that helps to clear the nasal passages and also kill any germs or bacteria hiding along the path.
5. Improves heart health
Bay leaves help to take care of the heart by, among other things, helping to reduce the level of bad cholesterol in the body, due to the presence of caffeic acid.
This bad cholesterol increases the risk of health diseases and hypertension. It also contains rutin, which enhances the protection of the capillaries.
6. Manages inflammation
Bay leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties that help to fight inflammation in the body. Chemicals like parthenolide help to reduce inflammation, especially around the joints. It also has nitric oxide inhibitors, like cineole, which prevent and reduce the chances of inflammation. 
7. Gets rid of toxins
Bay leaves are a rich source of antioxidants, particularly phytonutrients like cineole, which help flush toxins out of the body. Some of these toxins can affect other cells, causing them to become cancerous. So using bay leaves can also help prevent or reduce the risk of developing cancerous cells in the long run.
8. Reduces anxiety
Another area in which bay leaves help is in the management of anxiety and stress. Bay leaves affect the stress hormones, making it easier for the individual to relax and help you deal with anxiety and stress during very tense times.
Additionally, burning bay leaves can provide anxiety relief due to the presence of linalool in the smoke, which is also found in other plants like lavender.
9. Can be used for insomnia
Those suffering from lack of sleep or irregular sleep schedule would find bay leaves very useful to help them sleep better and rest properly.
Bay leaves may help with insomnia by promoting sleep through compounds like linalool. Linalool, which is found in bay leaves, has been shown to increase the amount of time an individual sleeps.
10. Prevents kidney stones
Kidney stones is a painful medical condition, that is also common. Bay leaves is among the traditional herbs that can prevent the build up of kidney stones in the body.
A 2014 study examined the effects of bay leaf extract and eight other traditional medicinal herbs on reducing the amount of urease, an enzyme that can cause gastric disorders including kidney stones.
The study found that bay leaf was effective in reducing urease levels, but the researchers recommended further research to fully understand the mechanisms behind this effect.
Bay leaves are aromatic leaves commonly used for cooking. It is rich in vital nutrients and minerals. There are so many health benefits of bay leaves, which includes it’s abilities to improve heart health, digestive system, skin and respiration.
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