Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses of Bay Leaves

Bay leaf is the most famous spice that has been widely found in the Indian kitchen due to its wonderful aroma and flavor. 

It is also one of the medicinal herbs that contain rich amounts of nutrients, so it has been used to treat many diseases in Ayurveda since ancient times. 

This herb is used to promote the digestive enzymes that help to improve digestion and increase the availability of nutrients during digestion. 

In Ayurveda, it is used to eliminate AMA toxins in your body and improves digestive health. The bay leaves help to compromise the Kapha and Vata doshas and also increases Pitta dosha in Siddha medicines. 

About Bay Leaf

Indian bay leaf is an evergreen tree that belongs to the Lauraceae family. It grows up to 2-10 m height, and it can be found in tropical and subtropical areas of Himalayas at the height of 900-2500m. 

It is botanically termed as Cinnamomum Tamala, and it is native to India, Bhutan, and Nepal. The dried leaf is mainly used in cooking because of its aroma and also used in perfumes. 

It has a slight bitter tasteIt is a three veined leaf that is smooth and thick and elliptical in shape. It can be used in fresh, dried, and powdered forms.

The fresh leaves contain mild aroma when compared to the dried leaves. The oil extracted from bay leaf contains many medicinal values that help to treat various diseases. 

It is an important ingredient in the famous food called Briyani, so it also is known as ‘Briyani Ilai.’ The bay leaves can also be added to the dishes in the form of roasted and ground called ‘Garam Masala.’ 

It contains powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, astringent, antifungal, and diuretic properties to treat several health conditions. It is not only used in India and also used in many countries.

Common Names of Bay Leaf (Brinji Ilai):

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum Tamala
English Name: Bay leaf
Tamil Name: Brinji Ilai
Telugu Name: Akupatri
Kannada Name: Tamalapatra
Hindi Name: Tejpat
Marathi Name: Tamalpatra
Punjabi Name: Tajapter
Bengali Name: Tejpatra, Tejpata
Gujarati Name: Tamalapatra, Develee

Types of Bay Leaf

There are different types of bay leaves there. Let’s see the most common varieties.

Bay Laurel

It is also known as Mediterranean bay leaves. This type of bay leaves can be used in fresh and dried form to add aroma to the Mediterranean dishes such as soups, braises, stews, etc. The fresh leaves contain a milder flavor than the dried leaves.

Indian Bay Leaf

Indian bay leaf has the same appearance as bay laurel, but it has a similar taste and aroma to cinnamon bark.

Indonesian Bay Leaf 

It is also known as salam leaf, and it is native to Indonesia. This type of bay leaf is mostly used in meats and vegetables.

California Bay Leaf

This type of bay leaf is similar to Mediterranean bay laurel, and it has a very strong flavor. It is also known as pepperwood, California laurel, and Oregon myrtle.

West Indian Bay Leaf

This type of bay leaf is also known as Myrtaceae that is mainly used to produce the bay rum cologne.

Medicinal Properties of Bay Leaf

  • Antioxidant
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-spasmodic
  • Anti-diabetic
  • Anti-tubercular
  • Carminative
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anodyne
  • Digestive Stimulant
  • Immunostimulant
  • Anticancer
  • Cardiac stimulant
  • Mild diuretic
  • Blood Purifier
  • Galactagogue

Medicinal Uses & Health Benefits of Bay Leaf

Bay leaves are widely used in many dishes as an effective ingredient, and it is more beneficial in treating abdominal diseases. 

It has been used to cure various diseases in Ayurveda and other traditional medicines. It stimulates the digestive system and prevents water-borne diseases.

Treats Diabetes

According to studies, the bay leaves help to decrease the level of cholesterol, blood glucose, and triglyceride, so it is an effective remedy to treat type-2 diabetes. 

Consuming powdered form of this leaves for 30 days provides better results. It helps to decrease body weight by reducing appetite. 

It also helps to regulate the function of your heart. Bay leaf contains powerful antioxidants that help to stimulate the production of insulin, so it effectively reduces the blood sugar level.

Read also: 10 Scientifically Proven Herbs for Diabetes

Improves Digestion

Bay leaves are an effective remedy to treat digestive problems such as flatulence and heartburn, and it improves your digestion system. 

Drinking Bay leaf tea with hot water helps to cure acid reflux and constipation that occurs due to digestion problems, and also it regulates the bowel movements. It effectively eliminates the gas from your gut and makes the digestion easy. 

The enzymes present in bay leaves promote the breakdown of protein, so it is a great spice for non-vegetarian foods. It also helps to stimulate appetite after recovering from indigestion.

Read also: 10 Common Digestive Herbs Naturally Boost Digestion 

Prevents Cancer

Many studies found that the extract of bay leaves acts as an anti-cancer agent that helps to fight against cancer cells. 

Cineole is the main compound present in bay leaves that control the growth of cancer cells. Bay leaf is an effective remedy to treat breast cancer. 

It can kill the breast cancer cells and prevents spreading to other parts of your body. According to the Australian study, adding bay leaf as an essential ingredient in your foods effectively helps to prevent colon cancer.

Read also: 10 Best Herbs to Treat Cancer

Improves Cardiovascular System

Bay leaf contains rich amounts of nutrients and powerful medicinal properties that help to prevent cardiovascular diseases like heart attacks, strokes, and heart blocks. 

It contains many bioactive compounds such as salicylates, rutin, caffeic, and phytonutrients that help to improve your heart health and promote the function of your heart. 

Take three gms of bay leaf, and 3-4 gms of wild rose flower with 300 ml water. Boil this mixture until it reduces to 75 ml. Filter this water and drink to get great relief from anxiety and heart diseases.

Reduces Inflammation

According to the Australian study, it is found that the bay leaves help to prevent the action of the COX-21 enzyme that stimulates inflammation. 

It contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and sesquiterpene lactones that helps to fight against inflammation by preventing the nitric oxide production. 

The research found that a higher level of nitric oxide can increase the inflammation. Thus, the inhibitors of nitric acid act as an effective remedy for treating inflammation. 

The main compound of bay leaf called Cineole also plays a major role in reducing inflammation. It prevents the action of inflammasome that activates the inflammation.

Read also: The Most Effective Spices & Herbs For Inflammation

Treats Respiratory Diseases

The bay leaves are an effective remedy to treat respiratory diseases such as cold, cough, and other infections. Studies found that anti-bacterial property present in bay leaf fights against the microbes that cause infections. 

Boil 2-3 bay leaves in water for 10 minutes, then soak the cloth in this water. Place the cloth on your chest to get relief from cold, cough, and flu. 

Moreover, drinking bay leaves tea effectively relieves fever. If you are suffering from repeated sneezing, boil a few bay leaves in 200 ml of water until it reduces to 1/4 of it, then filter and drink it.

Read also: Best Herbs to Support Lung and Respiratory Health

Relieves Pain

The extracted oil of bay leaves contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to provide great relief from arthritis, sprains, rheumatism, strains, normal pains, and aches. 

Massaging with the bay leaf oil helps to provide relief from headaches and migraines. It also promotes good feelings and improves circulation. 

To relieve joint pain, grind the bay leaves and castor leaves, then tie it to the inflamed area of your joints. It provides great relief from pain and swelling. 

For headaches, boil a few bay leaves in water, filter, and drink the hot water. Alternatively, you can apply the paste of bay leaves on your forehead. 

It provides instant relief from different types of headaches. The antispasmodic and carminative properties of bay leaves help to relieve abdominal pain and cramps. It is more beneficial to treat pain or cramps occurring due to the gas accumulation in the abdomen.

Treats Kidney Problems

Bay leaves are an effective remedy to treat kidney stones and diseases related to kidney stones. Take five grams of bay leaves in 200 ml of water and boil them until it reduces to 50 ml. 

Filter and drink this water two times per day. It dissolves the kidney stones and prevents forming kidney stones.

Read also: 10 Best Effective Herbs for Kidney Stones 

Treats Insect Bites

Bay leaves contain effective lauric acid, so it is an excellent insect repellent and provides effective treatment to insect bites. 

Consuming bay leaves in your foods helps to prevent the poisonous of insects. Apply a paste prepared by crushed bay leaves and some oil on the infected area. It provides great relief from insect bites and stings.

Helps during Periconception Period

Bay leaves contain a high amount of folic acid that provides more benefits during periconception. It provides enough amounts of folic acid that helps to prevent the birth deficiencies in newborns. 

There are many properties present in bay leaves that help to stimulate pregnancy in women. Thus, by adding bay leaves in your food, you can get more benefits.

Heals Wounds

According to studies, it is found that bay leaves contain effective healing properties that help to heal the wounds and inflammations quickly. 

The anti-fungal properties present in bay leaf fight against fungal infections and cure the wounds caused by infections. It also helps in sugar patients to speed up the healing process of wounds.

Boosts your Immune System

Bay leaves contain rich amounts of nutrients such as vitamin C that helps to improve your immune system. 

The vitamin A and zinc presents in bay leaves are very effective for your digestive system, nose, eyes, and throat. It is also very effective in treating celiac diseases and irritable bowel systems.

Read also: 10 Best Herbs to Boost Immune System

Prevents Insomnia

Lack of sleep occurs due to stress, depression, fatigue, etc. may cause many severe diseases. Bay leaves are an effective herb that reduces stress, tension, and relaxes your body. 

It calms the functions of your brain and prevents insomnia by stimulating sleep. Add some drops of bay leaf extract with the water and drink this mixture before sleeping to get deep and prolonged sleep.

Bay Leaf Benefits for Skin

Bay leaf has been used as traditional herbal medicine since ancient times. It contains powerful antioxidants and rich nutrients that provide excellent benefits for your skin.

Improves Skin Health

The bay leaves help to prevent wrinkles, rashes, and lines by decreasing the stress of your skin. It makes your skin smooth and slows down the process of aging. 

Take five bay leaves and boil them with 2 cups of water by closing the container. Then open the container and boil for 2 minutes. 

Take this mixture in the bowl and inhale this steam by covering it with a towel. This steam makes your skin soft and glow.

Bay Leaf Benefits for Hair

Bay leaf contains lots of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that help to treat hair problems and improve the health of your hair.

Prevents Dandruff

Many studies found that bay leaf is an effective remedy to treat dandruff. By applying the oil and extract of bay leaves helps to prevent hair loss and dandruff. Apply the bay leaf oil on your scalp and do a gentle massage that reduces dandruff.

Reduces Head Lice

Bay leaves help to decrease the head lice effectively. Head lice may cause infections and inflammation on your scalp. Take 50 gms of bay leaves and crush them well. 

Boil this with 400 ml of water until it reduces to 10 ml. Filter this water and apply on the root of your hair and wash it after 3-4 hours. 

It clears the head lice and prevents the formation of head lice. To get a black and strong hair, add Bhringraj with bay leaves before boiling.

Bay Leaf Benefits for Weight Loss

The bay leaf effectively helps to decrease your body weight. Bay leaf is a great herb to maintain your body weight. 

The combination of bay leaf and cinnamon is an effective remedy for weight loss. It regulates your metabolism and removes unwanted fats in your body. 

It helps to eliminate toxins from your body by decreasing the level of uric acids. Take an equal amount of bay leaves and cinnamon. Boil them in water by closing the container. 

After boiling, filter this water and store it in a glass bottle. Drink this water three times per day. In the morning, drink on an empty stomach, afternoon drink before food, and night drink it after half an hour of dinner. 

Drinking this water regularly helps to improve your digestive system and controls the level of blood sugar. According to the research, the obese people who drink this water got effective results. 

It not only beneficial for obese people and also provides a great treatment for diabetes and thyroid patients. Moreover, drinking cinnamon and bay leaf tea effectively reduces your weight by accelerating the metabolism.

Read also: 10 Best Herbs for Weight Loss – Best Guide

Nutritional Values of Bay Leaves (Brinji Ilai)

The various nutritional contents and their values in 100 grams of bay leaves.

Total Fat8.36 g
Carbohydrates74.97 g
Protein7.61 g
Sodium23 mg
Potassium529 mg
Calcium834 mg
Iron43 mg
Magnesium120 mg
Phosphorus113 mg
Vitamin C46.5 mg
Vitamin A6185 IU
Vitamin B61.74 mg
Niacin2.005 mg
Dietary Fiber26.3 g
Copper0.416 mg
Zinc3.7 mg
Riboflavin0.421 mg
Pyridoxine1.74 mg
Folate180 µg

How to Use Bay Leaves

  • Bay leaves can be used in many dishes throughout the world to add its excellent flavor. It can be used in full size.
  • The bay leaves can also be used in crushed or ground form to provide more flavor.
  • It is mainly used to improve the flavor of the dishes especially in spicy dishes such as biryani, mutton, chicken gravies.
  • The bay leaves are also used to add in sweet dishes and beverages.

Dosage of Bay leaves

Dosage of bay leaves can vary from person to person according to the condition, age and severity. Thus, it is better to consult your doctor before choosing the quantity because they will check body condition and prescribe a perfect dosage.


10 to 20 mg per Kg body weight *


500 mg to 3 grams *


500 mg *

Maximum Possible Dosage

6 grams Per Day (in divided doses)

1 Tej patta chai


  • Sugar
  • Milk 2 cups
  • Ginger 2 slices
  • Water 4 to 5 cups
  • Dried bay leaves 1 to 2
  • Black tea leaves 1 to 2 tsp


  • Take a container, add water and boil it
  • Include the black tea leaves in it and boiling for up to 5 minutes
  • Add ginger slices and bay leaves
  • Add milk and boil it for 4 mins
  • Take it from the stove and strain it
  • Pour into the coffee cup and add sugar if you want
  • Have it
  • It is also known as masala chai

Tip: If you don’t like the milk, you can skip it.

2. Pure bay leaf tea


  • Water 2 to 3 cups
  • Bay leaves 4 to 5


  • Take the leaves and cut them in small
  • Take the vessel and water and boil it
  • Add bay leave in it
  • Steep it overnight
  • Strain them and pour it on the tea cup
  • Have it

Tip: You can have this drink 2 to 3 days for the day​

Side Effects of Bay leaves

Bay leaf is considered as safe when consumed with the proper dosage in food. The lower dosage of bay leaves is safe, and a higher dosage may cause some side effects like excessive sweating. It may also cause allergic reactions for some susceptible people. People who already have gastric problems may be affected by the following side effects when taking a high amount of bay leaves.

  • Burning sensation in the abdomen
  • Heartburn
  • Burning sensation after defecation
  • Sour belching


Bay leaves are considered as safe when taken in food less than 500 mg per day. In Ayurveda, it helps to inhibit miscarriage for women who have the weak uterine wall. It strengthens your uterine musculature to support your pregnancy.


Bay leaves contain Galactagogue action that promotes the secretion of breast milk. Thus, bay leaves are considered as safe to consume for both mother and baby. However, it is better to consult your doctor before consuming bay leaves.

Interactions of Bay leaf

High Blood Sugar

Bay leaves help to control the level of blood sugar, but it may interact with the diabetes medicines. Thus, if you are already taking medicines for high blood sugar, you should consult your doctor before using bay leaves.


According to studies, the bay leaves may affect your health while taking in the surgery period. It can slow down your central nervous system. Thus, you should avoid bay leaves for two weeks before surgery.

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