If you think that bay leaf is only something you add to a pot of spaghetti sauce to boost the flavor, you’re in for a treat. If you’re getting tired of the same old black and green tea, maybe you should brew up a pot of bay leaf tea, an herbal tisane.
Read on for all the details, numerous health benefits, and bay leaf tea recipes for this healthy drink.
What is Bay Leaf Tea Made From?
The leaf comes from the Bay Laurel, or Laurus Nobilis, an evergreen perennial shrub found widely in South Asia, the Mediterranean region, North America, and Central America.
It’s been used for 1000s of years for cooking, essential oils and traditional medicine. It’s found in many an Indian kitchen because it’s an essential ingredient in Indian dishes. But like a lot of other herbs, plants, and roots, the aromatic leaf from the Bay Laurel can also be brewed into a delicious and healthful herbal tea.
What Does Bay Leaf Tea Taste Like?
Because the leaf is full of essential oils, its taste is described as astringent and bitter. When crushed, the aromatics are similar to those of eucalyptus and menthol. It has a sharp, slightly bitter taste and a definite strong aroma.
Aside from the usual culinary uses of bay leaf, when it’s infused in water for tea it has an almost minty flavor with hints of pepper-like spice.
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Other Names for Bay Leaf
Because the bay laurel is found all over the world, there are many other names for these fragrant leaves:
- Urdu: teejh pat
- Greek: dafni
- Arabic: waraq ghaar
- German: lorbeer
- Hindi: teejpatta or tej patta
There are also many English names for bay leaf:
- Sweet laurel
- Wreath laurel
- Bay laurel
- Sweet bay leaves
Bay Leaf Tea Benefits
The use of both the bay leaf and its oil have been documented in traditional and folk medicines for hundreds of years.
There have been some promising scientific human studies on the benefits of bay leaf, but more study is needed to determine what an effective dose of bay leaf is.
And because most studies on the benefits of bay leaves have been in vitro studies or animal studies, there is no particular recommendation on how much to use.
That said, the benefits of drinking bay leaf tea are numerous.
Bay leaves are packed with nutrition including:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
What is bay leaf tea good for? So many things!
Immune System Health
Because bay leaves are high in vitamin C and vitamin A, they are good for your immune system. Bay leaves also have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, which can help fight free radicals and improve resistance to disease.
Bay leaf tea is known to aid digestion and alleviate nausea. It’s thought that the leaves contain enzymes that help digest food which can calm indigestion in the gastrointestinal tract. Bay leaf has been proven to reduce damage to the gastric tract.
A 2014 study investigating the use of medicinal herbs to reduce kidney stones showed that bay leaf reduced the amount of urease in the body. Urease is the enzyme that causes kidney stones.
A research study has shown that bay leaves improve blood sugar levels and the cholesterol levels of people with type 2 diabetes. Plasma glucose and ldl cholesterol (bad cholesterol) levels dropped significantly.
The study concluded that using bay leaf reduces the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes by helping with blood sugar control.
Sinus Health & Congestion
Because bay leaf tea contains an aromatic essential oil, it can also help with stuffy nose or sinus pressure. This herbal tea blend is made specifically to decongest and contains bay leaf, ginger root, licorice root, black pepper, turmeric root, and cinnamon bark.
Sleep & Relaxation
A research study has shown bay leaves to have a moderate sedative effect when taken at anti-inflammatory doses.
Body Aches & Pains
The essential oils of the bay leaf have analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties which can help with aches and pains when rubbed into sore muscles and joints.
The essential oils in bay leaf also act as a natural insect repellent.
Side Effects of Bay Leaf Tea
As with any natural remedy, pregnant women and those breastfeeding should speak to their health care professional.
Bay leaves and bay leaf oil are generally thought to be harmless when ingested as a food.
Ground dried leaves should present no problem, but whole bay leaves should not be eaten because they could be a choking hazard, are difficult to digest, and the sharp edges can cut the inside of your mouth.
Bay Leaf History
The Greek word for laurel is dafni, named for the Daphne of Greek mythology. Laurel was prized during ancient times. Wreaths, crowns, and garlands of the herb were worn by emperors, heroes, doctors, and poets.
Doctors wore crowns of bay leaf due to the belief that it provided support for maladies from indigestion to bad dreams.
Can I use bay leaves I find on trees?
If you’re making your own bay leaf tea, make sure you’re getting your fresh bay leaves from a safe source. While it’s possible to use foraged leaves from your own bay leaf tree, make sure the tea leaves you harvest are free from pesticides, herbicides, and other agricultural sprays.
What Goes With Bay Leaf Tea?
While you can buy this tea as a single herb tisane, you can also find it mixed with other blends in both loose tea and tea bags.
- Bay Leaf & Lemon Grass
- Bay Leaf Cinnamon tea
- Bay Leaf & Ginger
Does Bay Leaf Tea Have Caffeine?
Since bay leaf tea is a tisane and doesn’t contain a true tea, it does not have caffeine. If you choose to blend it with black or green teas, it will have caffeine.
Does Bay Leaf Tea Help You Sleep?
Bay leaf has mild to moderate sedative properties, so a hot cup of bay leaf tea before bedtime may help improve your sleep.
Can Bay Leaf Tea Lower Blood Pressure?
Since bay leaf contains potassium, it can be useful for lowering blood pressure. That said, always speak to your doctor before trying any herbal remedy.
How to Make Bay Leaf Tea
Like so many tisanes, bay leaf tea is simple to make at home. All you need is water, some bay leaves and a few minutes of time.
Bay Leaf Tea Ingredients
- 2 cups of water
- 4 bay leaves (use whole leaf bay – either fresh leaves or dried bay leaves)
Add bay leaves and water to a small pot, bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove leaves and drink hot or cold.
Variation: Add a cinnamon stick to the simmering pot. The goodness of cinnamon is can really boost the spicy taste.
Bay Leaf Tea Recipe
Bay Leaf Tea
This herbal tisane is good for so many things from digestion to heart health.
- 2 cups of water
- 4 bay leaves
- Cinnamon Stick if desired
- Add all ingredients to a small sauce pan.
- Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes
- Strain and enjoy hot or cold.
This tea is delicious on its own, with added cinnamon, or brewed with ginger or lemongrass.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 10mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g
Nutrition figures are estimates. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information for any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe.
What is West Indian Bay Leaf Tea?
The West Indian Bay Leaf, Pimenta racemosa, is a species of plant in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae) that is native to the Caribbean region. This tree is also known as “sweet bay” and “bay rum”.
West Indian bay leaves are also used in cooking and herbal tea, but since they are different plants, it hasn’t been studied to have the same beneficial effects as the leaf from the true bay laurel tree.
Bay Leaf is a Healthy Tisane
Next time you’re thinking about brewing up a pot of herbal tea, why not try making a tisane out bay leaves? Bay leaf is not just for seasoning soups, stews, and meat dishes It may be just the spicy, healthful addition you need in your tea stash.
Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Tea Recipe
Want to make your bay leaf tea even better for your overall health? Try a combination of bay leaves and cinnamon like the recipe above. Adding the benefits of cinnamon to the hot water can really boost the health benefits as well as the taste.
Cinnamon adds the following numerous health benefits:
- Lower Blood Sugar: regular drinking of cinnamon tea can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
- Heart Health: supports the cardiovascular system
- Reduces Menstrual Cramps: cinnamon is a powerful ally in relieving menstrual problems
- Boosts Metabolism: promotes healthy weight loss and the maintenance of a health body weight.
- Reduced inflammation: reduces markers of inflammation through out the bod