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Bay (Leaves)

Bay leaves

Bay Leaves Overview

Scientific name: Laurus nobilis

Other names: Sweet Bay, Victor’s laurel. French: Laurier franc, German: Edler Lorbeerbaum, Spanish: Lauro, Italian: Lauro franco.

Action: antiseptic, antifungal, gastric tonic, nutritive, mild sedative, anti-dandruff, carminative, cholagogue, and vermifuge. Oil has mild bactericidal and anti-fungal properties.

Uses of Bay leaves

Bay leaves are traditionally used for weak digestion, poor appetite; urinary infections (decoction), chest infections (berries), rheumatic pains (seed oil, externally). Reportedly used in cancer. (J.L. Hartwell, Lloydia, 32, 247, 1969). Also, boosts insulin activity. (American Health, 1989, Nov 8, p96)

The young stems and old leaves yield the highest content of oil.

Preparations of Bay Leaves

Average dose: 2-4 grams. Three times daily.
Decoction: 1 ounce of crushed leaves to 1 pint of water simmered down to three-quarters of its volume. Dose: Half a cup three daily.
Bay bath: Place crushed leaves in a small muslin bag and steep in hot water.
Diet: Bay is also used as a culinary herb with porridges, salads, soups, etc. It is a source of oleic acid and linoleic acid.


There is no reported cases of negative effects from use as prescribed. Contact dermatitis may sometimes occur as an allergy on handling the oil.

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Bay Leaves Glucose and Lipid Profile of People with Type 2 Diabetes


Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine by Thomas Bartram

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