The bay leaf is an astringent, diuretic & antiseptic & has a number of health benefits.
The antioxidant vitamin C gives the bay leaf anti-viral properties,it also boosts immunity, heals wounds & neutralizes the harmful effects of free radicals. Vitamin A is required for healthy skin & membranes, good vision.
Bay is traditionally used to help with loss of appetite & digestive disorders including indigestion, gas & bloating.
Bay leaf has also been shown to help the body process insulin more efficiently, which leads to lower blood sugar levels.
The vitamin B complex vitamins enable metabolism, healthy functioning of the nervous system & synthesis of enzymes.
Due to all the potent nutrients in bay leaves they are useful to season food & beverages with because they can help prevent cancers from forming, treating viral infections, cleansing open wounds, prevent aging, treat respiratory infections, relieve flu symptoms & body aches & pains.
The bay leaf is a digestive & beneficial in liver, kidney & digestive disorders.
It helps to reduce flatulence & aids digestion.
It helps to break down & digest foods like proteins.
Bay leaf can be used to treat some conditions like headaches & migraines.

If you have an insect bite or sting, rubbing bay leaf oil on it can help relieve the itching or stinging sensation you might heave.
You may also benefit from a bay leave bath is you have suffered from an injury because the essential oils in bay leaves can relieve pain & bruising.
Oil of Bay is used in liniments for bruising & sprains.
The bay leaf essential oil can be massaged to relieve swelling, sprain, backache, arthritic & rheumatic pain.

Bay leaves may also be effective in repelling moths, flies & roaches.

Coughing can be relieved by drinking bay leave herbal tea several times throughout the day.
A cloth soaked in water boiled with bay leaves is placed on the chest to alleviate flu, coughs & chest infections like bronchitis.
An infusion of bay leaves will promote sweating, which will help clear up flu & feverish symptoms. 


People with asthma, dermatitis, eczema & gastrointestinal problems should not use this herb because it can worsen their current health conditions.
Those who are allergic to bay leaves should stay away from them completely.

Some side effects of food allergy may be reported amongst individuals who consume bay leaves. This includes symptoms such as skin eczema on the hands, feet or face, dermatitis & breathing difficulties.
Additionally, excess consumption of bay leaves is discouraged since bay leaves do contain narcotic properties. Symptoms may include heightened senses, jitters & insomnia.
Drinking too much laurel tea may at time lead to nausea or diarrhea.

Pregnant women should avoid eating in excess as the chemical compounds in them may cause abortion.


The glossy dark-green leaves can be used fresh or dried.
However, they are best after being allowed to wilt under the shade for few days when their bitterness has gone, but the leaves still retain their aroma.
Bay leaf is one of the ingredients in bouquet garni along with thyme, sage, savory, celery, basil, etc.,added to soups, stews, casseroles & sauces.
Bay leaves are never eaten themselves & are really just used to add extra flavour to a number of dishes.
Bay leaves are added to flavor cuisines such as seafood, poultry, meat, rice & vegetable dishes.
Add to boiling water for shrimp, crab & other seafood.
Use in marinades for meat & fish.
Add to milk when preparing homemade rice puddings or other milk puddings.
Bay leaf is used to flavor sweet dishes like sweet breads, custards, creams, etc.Its dried leaves are brewed into an herbal tea. 

Bay Leaf Oil:

200 g of fresh bay leaves
1 l of olive oil
Wash & dry all the leaves carefully.
Put half of the bay leaves & all the oil in glass jars,cover with lids.
Put the jars in a pan & fill the pan up to 2 cm from the top of the jars.
Bring to the boil & simmer slowly for 2 hours.
Allow to cool slightly & strain.
Discard the used bay leaves.
Refill the jars with the fresh bay leaves, cover with the strained oil, replace the lid tightly & return to the bain marie.
Top up the water as necessary.
Simmer gently for another 2 hours.
Cool slightly & pour through a strainer
Then pour the oil into clean bottles or jars.
Store in a cool, dark place & it will keep for a year.

Blueberry & Bay Leaf Curd:

225 g blueberries
2 large bay leaves
50 g unsalted butter
225 g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
Put the blueberries into a pan with a splash of water & the bay leaves. 
Bring to the boil, then simmer for 5-10 min until soft. 
Press through the sieve as much juice as possible.
Melt the butter & sugar with the juice & vanilla in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. 
Strain in the eggs. 
Keep stirring for 20-25 min until thickened, taking care not to overheat.
Pour into sterilized jars, seal.
Eat within a week.


Bay leaf water is said to remove dandruff.
Rub your teeth twice a week with dried bay leaf & you get bright teeth.


Romans would place a dried Bay Leaf underneath their pillow on St. Valentine's Day. It was believed that the leaf would cause the user to dream of his or her future marriage partner.
Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks & the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolizes wisdom, peace & protection.

The following method of divination, when performed on Saint John’s Eve, is designed to determine whether or not your lover has been faithful to you:
Just before bedtime, take a bay leaf & prick your lover’s name or initials upon it with a pin.
After doing this, pin the leaf to your brassiere or nightgown so that it will be in place over your heart as you sleep.
When you wake up, check the leaf to see if it has turned brown.
If it has,this is a sure sign that your beloved has been true to you.
But if the leaf is the same color as it was the night before, this is an sign that your lover has (or soon will) deceive you.

To find out if your sweetheart will marry you, prick his or her name or initials upon a bay leaf.
Place the leaf inside your left shoe & wear it throughout the day.
Allow the leaf to remain in the shoe overnight & then observe the leaf in the
If the name or initials have become darker, this is a sign that your sweetheart will marry you.
But if they have grown fainter or have vanished, this indicates that he or she will not.

To experience a prophetic dream in which the identity of your future husband or wife is revealed to you, pin a bay leaf to your pillow on the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day just before going to bed.

Witches often stuff dream pillows with bay to help encourage divinatory dreams.
Bay leaves are protective of the home & person when worn as an amulet.

During the waxing moon, wishes can be written on the leaves, which are then burned on the Full Moon to empower the wish.

To induce dreams of a prophetic nature, place bay leaves beneath your pillow before going to sleep.
It is said that bay leaves, when cast into a fire on a night of the full moon, can
enable one to see the future in a dream.