Common spice surprising medicine

By Sari Huhtala

My first introduction to the benefits of this everyday spice as a tea came from an elderly francophone gentleman who introduced it as feuilles de Laurier. It sounded intriguing and exotic, then I realized what it was and I was pleasantly surprised.

Bay leaves, commonly used in soups and stews, are more than just a flavour enhancer. They are medicine in disguise.

There are studies abound on the benefits of bay leaves, which are a source of iron, magnesium, vitamin A and vitamin C. One tablespoon of ground bay leaves provides 2.2 mg of magnesium. Bay leaves medicinally can be used to make a tea, or consumed in capsule format, or just add them to all soups for an extra nutrition kick.

A 2009 study in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition showed that “consumption of bay leaves, 1 to 3 g/d for 30 days, decreases risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and suggests that bay leave may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.”

A 2014 study in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found bay leaf demonstrated some urease inhibitory effects, suggesting it may help decrease urease to help prevent kidney stones.

A 2013 study in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found bay leaf has potential anti-cancer properties.

This information is not intended as medical advice. Talk to your health care professional.

Sari Huhtala is the publisher and editor of Alive and Fit Magazine, which she created in 2007. She has over 25 years experience in journalism and over 15 years experience as a certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. She is an organic farmer, wild-crafter and grandmother, who has spent over 20 years of navigating a holistic, healthy path for her family.

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