Healing By the Bay

Bay leaves on plate over light background

Food for thought.

When ancient Greek doctors completed their studies they were crowned with laurel branches – baca (branches), lauris (laurel).  The origin of the word baccalaureate.

For the ancient Romans, bay laurel was the symbol of victory and courage.  Chariot race winners were crowned with branches of bay laurel.

While many of us know bayleaf as an indispencible part of stock or tomato sauce making, we might not know the incredible powers of this dry, aromatic herb.

A team of researchers the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Laboratory at the US Department of Agriculture, studied 40 Type II diabetics and found with only one month of taking supplemental bayleaf (1-3 grams per day) subjects had up to a 26% drop in blood sugar, a 32-40% drop in LDL cholesterol, a 20-24% drop in total cholesterol, a 20-29% rise in HDL cholesterol, and a 25-34% drop in triglycerides.

Researchers speculated and wrote in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry, that bayleaf contains “bioactive compounds” that improve the ability of insulin to usher glucose out of the blood and into the cells, and the ability of the cells to deal with insulin once it arrives.

Not only that.  The herb contains mega anti-oxidant status, affects inflammatory response and glucose emptying (the speed in which glucose is absorbed – the slower the better for blood sugar balance)

Both cellular and animal studies are showing that bay leaf might be a natural medicine for cancer (may inhibit tumor growth), arthritis (inflammatory properties in bayleaf), ulcers, digestion (stimulates healthy digestive secretions), bacterial infection (bay leaf can keep 176 different strains of bacteria at bay), wound healing and even mosquito bites.

Need some ideas?

  • Add a bay leaf to a slow cooking braise, tomato sauce or tomato soup.
  • Steam mussels or shrimp in beer and bay leaf.
  • Add more flavor to uncooked rice, quinoa or millet by placing one or two bayleaves into your storage containers.
  • Add a bay leaf to roasted, grilled or baked meat, chicken or fish.  This works especially nice in foil, as steaming brings out even more of the bay leaf’s natural flavor.
  • Poach fish in a court bouillon combining 2 parts water and 1 part white wine, chopped carrots, onions, a sprig of thyme and a bay leaf.  Cover to simmer an hour before adding fish.  Use enough liquid to fully immerse the fish completely.

Culinary Note:  Don’t ever eat the bay leaves.  They are used for flavoring only, as their infused oils permeate the ingredients in which they’re cooked in.  Enjoy!

Cat Dillon

This blog is my journal, where I share everything wellness. From tips on healthy lifestyle to creating as much deliciousness in your life as possible.

Cat Dillon is the Cat in Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness is a unique combo of nutrition, fitness and cooking coaching all in one pretty package. Read more about Caterpillar Nutrition and Wellness.

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