Bay leaf is a culinary herb belonging to the Laurel family. It is largely grown in America and Europe. This is mostly used in soups, meat preparations, stews and in Mediterranean cooking as a flavoring agent. This is generally cooked along with the food for its flavor. It tastes bitter when chewed.
Ancient Romans made crowns out of bay leaves which were then worn by poets, athletes and warriors. It was a symbol of distinction. However, today, bay leaves are used primarily in cooking as a flavoring agent and for its medicinal value.
Mountain Laurel is a plant which also belongs to the same family as bay leaf. This plant is poisonous and cannot be ingested. This may have led to older assumptions that consumption of bay leaf is also poisonous. But it is not so.
This leaf remains stiff even after cooking; hence it might cut the mouth, throat or esophagus. It is therefore essential for us to remove it from foods or tea before serving. Bay leaf as an herb has several uses. Some of them are:
- Making tea for its anti inflammatory properties and relieving headaches.
- Enhance flavor of food when cooked in it.
- Used in decoration, wreaths and craft projects since it is hardy, has good looks, and aroma.
- Bay leaf oil can be used effectively to help treat bruises, sprains and ear pain.
- Water boiled with few bay leaves is used as soothing and fragrant bath.
Too much of bay leaf should not be consumed since this could lead to it working as a laxative or cause vomiting.
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