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Introduction to bay leaf tea
Bay laurel trees, or bay leaf trees, are native to humid climates of the Mediterranean region and can be grown year-round in warm temperatures. Bay leaf is a herb used in Indian kitchens. It is well known for its medicinal properties.
It minimizes calories, boosting the amount of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, helping your immune system health due to vitamin A, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. These vitamins support a healthy immune system. It also helps your digestive system. Due to its aromatic nature, it may help relieve sinus pressure.
Bay leaf tea reduces type 2 diabetes and may lower blood sugar levels. It cleanses the air and affects a person’s mood. It can be a remedy to destress and reduce anxiety. Bay leaves can help lower stress hormones in the body and help you calm down.
Bay leaves can help induce sleep. It is best when consumed at bedtime. It reduces anxiety, promotes relaxation, and induces sleep. They help digestion giving relief from abdominal pain, gastrointestinal infections, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Bay leaves can improve the health of the kidneys. Reducing urination minimizes your body’s toxicity. The leaves can help prevent kidney stones by reducing the amount of urease in the body. Bay leaves enhance heart health due to rutin and caffeic (Sciencedirect.com).
Bay leaves can manage and treat diabetes by lowering your body’s blood sugar levels and enhancing insulin function. It contains antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and carotenoids that help lower blood cholesterol and uric acid levels.
Bay leaf benefits the respiratory system by relieving you from various respiratory infections and disorders. It also has anti-cancer properties. The bay leaf extract could facilitate apoptosis to kill cancer cells, preventing cancer. Its antioxidants and organic compounds in bay leaves help inhibit the growth of breast and colorectal cancer cells and prevent your body from the effects of cancer-causing free radicals.
Bay leaves have antimicrobial properties, antibacterial and antifungal protection that fights against infections from fungi, bacteria, and protozoa. It can protect the skin from any infection and irritation. It reduces inflammation and enhances wound healing. Drinking bay leaf tea can help decrease joint pains.
- Dried bay leaves
- A saucepan or teapot
- A strainer or tea infuser
- Optional: honey, lemon, orange, milk, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and other flavorings to taste
- Gather your ingredients (by leaves, water, sugar, and a splash of milk).
- In a small pot, add the bay leaves and water. Cover and bring the water to a boil at high heat. Once the water boils, lower the heat to medium-high and continue boiling for 3 minutes.
- Add a few dried bay leaves to the pot. That is an estimate of 2-3 leaves per cup of water.
- Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 10-15 minutes
- Strain the tea into a mug or teapot using a strainer or tea infuser.
- Add honey, lemon, or other flavorings to taste, if desired. Sweeten or add milk to suit your taste. Serve warm in a teacup.
Bay leaf is found in most grocery stores. It comes in a dried whole-leaf form. Dried powders and fresh leaves may also stock the shelves. Experiment with all three kinds in your recipes. You can also use a food processor or coffee grinder to turn dried bay leaves into a powder.
Crushing them is the best way to get the full benefits of bay leaves than soaking them in a dish. Both dried, powdered bay leaf and fresh bay leaf have a stronger flavor than whole, dried bay leaf.
Serving and storage
If you prefer using milk, only use a small splash. Too much milk will dilute the flavor of the tea. For sweetening, use honey. It makes the tea delicious, but you might try a bit of brown sugar, granulated sugar, agave syrup, or even maple syrup. Drink bay leaf tea twice daily for better results.
If you intend to add cinnamon, add a cinnamon stick with the bay leaf and water during the boiling process. You can add some loose cloves, to boost the flavors of warm spices. Strain and discard before drinking.
You can also double the recipe’s ingredients but not the amount of water to make a double-strength concentrate. Keep the concentrate in the refrigerator and use it to make iced tea by adding a little water until it meets your desired strength.
There are multiple ingredients to add to your boiling bay leaves. Most of them are aromatics and spices. Some spices that will work great in a tea include black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and fennel. Cinnamon will also work depending on the other ingredients present.
For a more herbaceous tea, try combining thyme and rosemary. You can also use some lemon zest or juice with bay leaves. If you want citrus flavors without acidity, try oranges instead of lemons. Store dried bay leaves in an airtight container or a sealed plastic bag. Dried leaves will last up to a year. Refrigerate for some days and freeze for a longer shelf life.
Using fresh bay leaves for tea is way better than their dried alternative because they have more nutrients and a better flavor. They give the tea a better color too. It still works if you can only find dried bay leaves. You can still use them to make your tea.
When using dried crushed bay leaves, place them into a tea strainer ball so that it becomes easier to remove any smaller pieces floating around. You even get large tea balls that can hold the ingredients together.
The bay leaves have to boil on their own for 3 minutes before you add any other ingredients. Tea should not be made with boiling water, but since bay leaves are robust, they need to be softened before they are steeped.
Steeping tea for a long time helps deepen the flavor depending on your preference. It also brings out some tart flavors in the herbs. If you do not prefer bitter herbal teas, do not steep them for longer than 5 minutes. For a stronger flavor steep the tea longer (Artfultea.com). Add more leaves and do not add more water.
Bay leaf does not pair well with milk if you boil it for some time. Do not drink it very sweet, although you can add a spoonful of honey or other sweeteners. This tea pairs well with multiple meals, especially heavily seasoned ones. Try it alongside my Mexican Steak With Potatoes, or Mexican Potato Noodle Soup.
Bay leaf tea is well known for its medicinal properties that help you when suffering from arthritis, diabetes, insomnia, and kidney. Stick to the method, although you are allowed to add your flavors. Although you can buy the tea from tea shops, try making it home, and customize it to your liking.