Bay leaves have for thousands of years been recognized as a sacred plant - it is the perfect condiment for many dishes and fine cuisine, but is also renowned for its healing properties. In cooking, bay leaves give a specific flavor to food and make it taste better, but as an added bonus, bay leaf has a very beneficial effect on human health.
More in ancient Greece and Rome, bay leaf was considered a sacred plant. It symbolized glory and majesty, and had an aura of victory. Bay leaves were planted near temples dedicated to the god Apollo - god of the sun. As we know, he was always depicted with a Bay leaf wreath on his head. Romans knitted garlands of laurel for the winners of various competitions and battles.
In the proper use of bay leaf as a spice, before adding bay leaves in your soup or dish, be sure to rub them with one another. Thus its healing properties and scent will intensify.
Growing bay leaf
Home of the so-called bay leaf. sassafras tree, are the Mediterranean countries. Aromatic bay leaves are actually the leaves of several trees of the Lauraceae laurel family. These plants reach a height of 12 meters and a diameter of about 9 meters in their crown. - Cultivated species are significantly smaller. Bay leaves are mostly pointed, thick and fleshy, dark green in color. Trees from which it is extracted from, bloom in late spring and early summer with pale yellow flowers that are soft and have the look of a star. Fruits of the bay are small, round and have red tan in late autumn.
Today it is grown mainly on four types of trees, which all offer up some bay leaf. Mediterranean bay leaf or laurel (Laurus nobilis), are used as wonderful seasoning for soups, stews, braised dishes, pastes and pickles in a variety of dishes from the Mediterranean cuisine, after being dried. Californian bay leaf (Umbellularia californica) is also known as Oregon myrtle. It resembles a Mediterranean bay leaf, but has a richer flavor.
Indian bay leaf (Cinnamomum tejpata) is called tejpat. It is similar to the cinnamon smell and taste, but is significantly less spicy. In fact, Indian bay leaf resembles the smell and taste of Chinese cinnamon (cassia), which predetermines its specific culinary use. This division only bears the name laurel and although it is one family with laurel, it actually belongs to another species.
Indonesian bay leaf (Syzygium polyanthum) is also known as Dawn Salam. It is in the myrtle family (Myrtaceae). In Europe and the West, the division of bay trees has wide use, eing used mainly in Indonesia and Malaysia. These bay leaves can be used fresh or dried as an excellent seasoning when cooking meat and sometimes vegetables. This type of bay leaf has less flavor and is quite different from other odors. Heat treatment is mandatory for meals, seasoned with Indonesian bay leaf, because then it releases its scent.
Bay trees thrive best in moderate latitudes. It must be a place where trees grow to be protected and the soil is well drained. Laurel plants are propagated by cuttings in summer or autumn, by seed time.
Composition of bay leaf
Even in the ancient times, the fruits of bay trees have been used to combat various diseases. Today, bay leaf is one of the most accessible drugs. They contain fragrant essential oils. They incorporate almost 50% cineole and about 65 different useful components, including rutin. Due to the volatile aroma, bay leaves have properties that help it purify the air. It is rich in fitinocides contains many trace minerals, tannins, displays slag from the body, increases immunity.
Benefits of bay leaf
Bay leaves have the ability to stimulate the digestive system and protect the liver and prevent gases. Decoction made from laurel leaves help remove kidney stones, helps with intestinal cramps, awakens the appetite and normalizes the work of the stomach. If mixed with corn bay leaf oil, this texture can be used for ointment, which is rubbed into the skin for arthritis, myocytes, and neuralgia, and vinegar and honey bay leaf helps with rheumatism and joint pain.
Bay leaf helps with sinusitis and relieves depression. It is advisable to nasal drip one drop of oil of bay leaf. This oil can be prepared at home by slicing 30grams of leaves with a drizzle of vegetable oil. This mixture should stand for five days, then strain and use. If you suffer from indigestion, you can apply the following recipe, which has a clamping action and can trigger constipation. Take about 15 laurel leaves, pour in 2, 5 cups water, bring to boil and keep them so for 5 minutes. Then pour the liquid in a thermos and leave to stand for 4-5 hours. Strain and drink 1 tablespoon per day.
Bay leaf tea helps against dry cough and can be drank at bedtime. Bay leaf is a tool for improving immunity. Its volatile oils have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. An additional bay leaf quality is that it relaxes spasms of the colon. Recently it was discovered that its tannins reduce blood sugar and act against diabetes.
In osteoarthritis – coxarthrosis and gonarthrosis, it is better to apply bay leaf oil extract. It is prepared by chopping 10 -15 g of bay leaves, to which you add 50 milliliters of oil. This mixture is allowed to stand for one week somewhere dark and cool. This extract is smeared on the injured joint, covered with a piece of wool and left overnight.