Also known as Laurel leaves, bay leaves have been known and used for several purposes ranging from cooking to medicinal uses fllor ages. It was especially used by the ancient Romans and Greeks. Infact,they used to be burned in homes and places of worship primarily for religious purposes. However, apart from the fanatical beliefs people had in the burning of bay leaves, it was also believed that it offered health benefits as a result of certain chemicals it emitted while being burned.
Unfortunately, its use these days have been limited to just a kitchen spice for improving the smell and taste of food. Even in its use in foods, it is unfortunately usually tossed out of the plate while downing your food. Even if you normally do not consider the bay leaves a spice, you’ve probably had a grandparent use it in soups or sauces. Rumours have it that it is dangerous to swallow a bay leaf as it is toxic. Nothing could be further from the truth. Although it is true that when swallowed it could be unyielding because of its stiffness, it is definitely not toxic. Its stiffness could just cause you to choke and have digestive problems.
The bay leaf’s use goes beyond the kitchen. Even though its been used for a while in food to improve taste, boost digestion, reduce inflammation and enhance respiration, its effectiveness is so much more. Those leaves could be difficult to chew, especially when not cooked properly, it is usually bitter. It however, could be quite tasty when it’s been cooked for over an hour. The good news is, you don’t have to eat the leaves to get these benefits, you could simply burn them! You could get lots of benefits from burning bay leaves like relieving anxiety, improving respiratory conditions, balancing blood sugar levels etc. Some folks even burn them as a way to keep pests like cockroaches and mice away.
Benefits of Burning Bay Leaves
For centuries, anxiety and stress have been relieved by burning bay leaves. It possesses several chemicals which when burned produces a smoke that calms the mind and the body. It works in a weird way, putting you in a “psychedelic” state yet making you more alert. The smoke calms the body without getting it weak.
How does the scent of bay leaves relieve anxiety?
Bay leaves are made up of three major components that relieve anxiety and stress. They are: Linalool, Pinene and Cineol. These components are the secret ingredients to bay leaves’ stress and anxiety relief. They keep you feeling refreshed for long periods of time.
The effect of this compound was studied using rats. The rats were made to inhale linalool and their anxiety levels observed. It was found that the anxiety levels of the rats dropped. These levels were determined by testing their gene expression and blood cells. Linalool is thus a strong compound as we see that it has huge effects on the blood cells and gene expressions.
The effectiveness of pinene on anxiety levels have also been studied using mice. The mice were made to inhale extracts that had the Pinene compound and it was found that anxiety levels dropped considerably.
The effectiveness of cineol was tested using patients who went through coronary angiography. They were separated into two groups. One group did aromatherapy using essential oils with Cineol while the other group simply inhaled water that was distilled. At the end of the study, it was found that the group that did aromatherapy had much lower anxiety and pain levels compared to the other group that had just distilled water. When cineol is inhaled, it inhibits the release of the hormones that cause the feelings of pain. Another study was carried out to measure cineol’s effect on selective nerve root block patients. The patients were put in either of four groups, all inhaling almond oil. The first group had almond oil with limonene to inhale, the second with cineol, the third with eucalyptus oil and the last inhaled just almond oil. At the end of the study, it was found that the group which inhaled almond oil with cineol had the lowest anxiety levels.
Boosts The Immune System
Bay leaves are rich in minerals, vitamins and eugenol. Eugenol possesses antioxidant properties which help to keep the body in proper function. As a result, when bay leaves are burned or even ingested, they possess the ability to improve the workings of the immune system. Try burning bay leaves the next time you feel your body coming down with a cold.
Helps With Diabetes
Diabetes sometimes occurs as a result of an irregular insulin level (either too low or too high). Fortunately, it’s been found that bay leaves possess the ability to cause the insulin level to become more regular. This was found in a United States study and it was decided that at least one gram daily is good enough to get things kicking normally after a period of about thirty days of consistence. The experts as a result believe that the bay leaves’anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties could help in relieving symptoms following Type II diabetes.
Offers Respiratory Relief
Eugenol and mycrene are compounds found in bay leaves known to possess strong anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds are extremely useful in the reduction of stress even by experts. When bay leaves are set on fire, its smoke is released in the air with the compounds in the smoke. When the smoke is inhaled, it finds its way to areas in the respiratory system that are inflamed and then it gets to work on it. It is especially miraculous if you have a terrible cold or you suffer allergies. Infact, in the respiratory system it could break down phlegm or mucus wherever it encounters one, making your breathing much easier.
Eugenol, an important compound found in bay leaves possess a healing effect . As a result it is able to perform as a natural remedy for inflammation. This translates to the fact that it can be used as an anti-inflammatory cure, especially for inflammations occuring in the joints.
Promotes Cardiovascular Health
Bay leaves contain caffeic acid which helps strengthen the capillary walls of the heart. They also have been found effective in reducing LDL cholesterol levels. Having high levels of LDL cholesterol puts the heart at a high risk of heart disease unlike HDL cholesterol. With LDL cholesterol levels reduced, the risk of heart desease is also reduced.
How To Burn Bay Leaves Properly
Some people prefer to simmer bay leaves in water and inhale the steam instead because they’re uncomfortable with burning. If that’s you, then it’s okay. Burning bay leaves bring about the fastest effects though. When they’re burned properly, they quickly release the useful compounds they contain.
Here’s how to do so:
- Make sure the bay leaves are dried before you move on to use them.
- Get an ashtray or whatever else you’re sure is safe for the purposes of burning, like a metal tray or an aluminum foil. Place a dried bay leaf in the tray.
- Check around before placing the tray at a location. Be certain wherever the tray is placed has been properly scrutinized to make sure there are no potential fire hazard causes like cloths or paper. If you have a smoke detector alarm, burn your leaves away from the alarm so it doesn’t go off.
- After making sure of that, you can set the leaf ablaze .
- Leave the room once the leaf is burning and shut the door and windows so the smoke can fill the room without escaping.
- Monitor the fire, to make sure it doesn’t cause any hazards.
- After the leaf has completely burned, let it cool, then dispose of the ashes.
- Stay in the room, relaxed while you breathe in the smoke from the leaf. You could stay there as long as you want carrying out whatever activities you consider ideal- listen to your favourite music, read a book or even sleep.