Bay Leaves

(Laurus nobilis)

Bay or sweet bay is a plant that has been used for thousands of years and held in high esteem by the ancient Greeks. The young stems and older leaves are used for medicinal purposes and in cooking.

What it does

This herb contains an oil which has antiseptic properties, anti-microbial action against bacteria and fungi. It is a nutritive herb which benefits the liver and digestion and has carminative properties. Some compounds may have anti-cancer properties and others are thought to boost insulin activity. The oil also provides a source of the fatty acids oleic and linoleic.

Potential Uses

Chest infections (berries) Poor appetite Rheumatic pain (seed oil externally)
Urine infections Weak digestion Stomach cramps

Other information

Bay leaves can be used in cooking and added to dishes such as soups, stews and casseroles. The leaves are normally removed after cooking and are not eaten. Leaves placed inside fresh poultry can discourage salmonella bacteria and should be removed before cooking.


At the time of writing there were no well known negative drug interactions with bay leaves.

Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using bay leaves.


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