Laurel, also known as bay laurel or bay leaf, is recognized all over the world as a culinary spice with a pleasant aroma. Scientifically, it is Laurus nobilis and provides a sweet aroma when added to meals.
Laurel is often used in its dried and wilted state, which can be stored for several months. The plant has fruits that resemble berries, which are also used to add flavor to cuisines.
Bay leaf or laurel has several benefits, not only for our outer appearance, but also for our health. Here are the things that it can do to our skin, hair, and physical health:
1. Bay leaves contain active components, including:
- Methyl chavicol
- Geranyl acetate
The mentioned compounds are known to act as antioxidants, antiseptic, and with digestive properties. They are also thought to have the ability to ward off cancer.
2. While the dried variant is more popular, fresh leaves are also consumed all around the world, particularly in Asian countries. These leaves contain vitamin C, meeting almost 78% RDA. Vitamin C is considered one of the most important nutrients around because it is natural antioxidants that can help the body cleanse away the harmful free radicals. As ascorbic acid, the vitamin can also boost the immune system, speed up wound healing, and provide protection for the body against viruses.
3. Aside from vitamin C, fresh laurel leaves also contain vitamin A. A hundred grams already exceed the RDA levels, going over 200%. Just like vitamin C, vitamin A is also an antioxidant and is best known for being the vitamin for the eyes. But what most people don’t know is that vitamin A is also required for maintain good skin and mucosa health. Getting enough of the vitamin can help prevent development of certain cancers, especially oral cavity and lung cancers.
4. Laurel is used for treating various skin problems, including:
Because it is all-natural and proven safe, you can even use laurel leaves to treat diaper rash and some allergies in infants. It can also be used to treat varicose veins, along with chamomile and mint leaves.
5. As for hair benefits, laurel is often used to speed up hair growth. It can also be used to prevent dandruff and other reasons for scalp itching, since it has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.
There are many ways to add laurel to your diet. You can incorporate it to your dishes instead of the more popular herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, and sage. You can also brew the leaves and drink it as an herbal tea.