Bay leaf tea is fast becoming a popular tea throughout the world; you may ask, why is that inedible leaf from all my favorite dishes being used for tea? Look no further, because the answers are here.

The answer is pretty simple: bay leaf tea has not only a unique taste but numerous amazing health benefits, as well. One of my favorite things is to smell the fresh aroma of the bay leaf; it is a lovely sensation that never fails to stir something in me. It only makes sense that such a pleasant aroma carries with it so many health advantages. To start understanding why, it is necessary to first look at the key ingredient in bay leaf tea, which is of course the humble bay leaf.

What is the Bay Leaf and Where Does it Come From?

The bay leaf is an aromatic leaf used primarily for cooking. It can be used in ground form or whole. The leaf is known to emanate from several different plants, like the following:

The California bay leaf whose botanical name is Umbellularia California, Lauraceae was commonly known as California laurel or pepperwood. It is very similar in nature to that of the Mediterranean bay but has a stronger flavor.

There’s also the bay laurel whose botanical name is Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae.

The Indian bay leaf is commonly known as malabathrum and bears the botanical name Cinnamomum Tamala, Lauraceae.

The Mexican bay leaf with the botanical name litsea glaucescens Lauraceae.

There’s also the West Indian bay leaf which is a leaf of the West Indian bay tree.

In its ground or crushed form, the bay leaf is used for cooking. Crushed bay leaf usually has more fragrance compared to that of whole leaves but are pretty difficult to remove, so most people use crushed bay leaf in a tea infuser.

Ground bay laurel, on the other hand, can be substituted for whole leaves. They don’t need to be removed and are also much stronger.

In the Caribbean islands, bay leaves are used in the making of jerky chicken by soaking the bay leaves and placing them on the cool side of the grill.

Bay leaves help make jerk chicken by placing pimento sticks on top of the leaves and then the chicken on top of that. Because of its spicy smell, bay leaf can be scattered and used as a repellent for flies, cockroaches, and meal moths.

How to Prepare the Bay Leaf Tea

One of the most potent ways of enjoying the bay leaf is making tea out of it. The health benefits you get from doing this are pretty amazing. Preparing this tea is just like preparing any other tea. As long as you have the bay leaf and water (which are the main properties of the bay leaf tea) then you are good to go.

It is said that a hot cup of bay leaf tea is more like aromatherapy. The fragrant leaves aid in spicing the tea and give you a taste that leaves you wanting more. To prepare the tea, you will need the following bay leaf ingredient.

  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 2 cups of water
  • Sugar and milk (not required)


First, carefully add the bay leaf to a pot and pour water into it. Allow boiling for at least three minutes over high heat.

Remove the pot from the tea and allow the tea to steep for a little while (like 4 minutes), strain and drink. You can choose to add sugar and milk, but beware that too much can alter the flavor of the tea.

Note: There’s also cinnamon and bay leaf tea which is just another way of enjoying this amazing tea. To prepare, just add a cinnamon stick to the bay leaf and boil together. For those looking forward to shedding that extra kilo, cinnamon in bay leaf tea is a wonderful way to lose weight.

Without the addition of milk and sugar, the taste of the bay leaf tea usually ranges from a pungent, sharp taste to a bitter taste with a nice smell. If you don’t like the bitter taste, you can add milk and dilute the taste of the tea. The addition of milk and sugar also brings out a more floral taste.

Health Benefit of the Bay Leaf Tea

The bay leaf tea has a whole range of health benefits. Let’s look at some of them!

  • Improves digestion

A cup of bay leaf tea has a strong effect on the gastrointestinal system; it reduces the level of toxicity in the body and acts as a substance that causes vomiting when something toxic has entered into the body.

It may also interest you to know that the organic compound build-up found in bay leaves are also potent in settling serious cases of stomach upset and irritable bowel syndrome.

Sometimes our bodies find it difficult to digest some of the complex protein found in our diet; the bay leaf has some distinctive enzymes that can effectively act as a catalyst to facilitate such digestion.

  • Perfect for insomnia

Bay leaf, the major component of the bay leaf tea, has sedative properties that help with insomnia.

  • Promotes a healthy heart

The bay leaf tea has phytochemicals that protect the heart against diseases like heart attack and stroke. It also has caffeic acids that improve the functionality of the heart; it also has rutin, which strengthens the capillary walls of the heart. Boiling the bay leaf with water and drinking can help prevent heart disease.

  • Reduces stress

You might not know it, but the bay leaf tea contains linalool which is commonly associated with oregano and thyme. It is also known for having a relaxing effect that helps reduce stress levels, especially when used in aromatherapy.

It’s a good idea to adopt the habit of taking a cup of bay leaf tea to calm down when feeling stressed.

  • Helps in treating diabetes

The bay leaf has the tendency to reduce levels of cholesterol and glucose in the blood. Polyphenol also happens to be the most effective component in the bay leaf tea for diabetes as it helps to control glucose in the blood.

A cup of bay leaf tea, therefore, is very potent in managing type 2 diabetes. More so the antioxidants in the leaf also help insulin to function effectively and efficiently.

  • Fights cancer

Bay leaf contains a combination of antioxidants and organic compounds, as well as catechins, Linalool and phytonutrients that help fight off free radicals.

  • Potent pain reliever

A cup of bay leaf tea is quite effective in alleviating the pain of sprain strain and arthritis and it also helps in fighting inflammation. It is an amazing way to cure headaches and migraines. It also helps in increasing blood circulation.

  • Strengthens the immune system

Bay leaf contains vitamins A and C and also zinc, which helps to strengthen the immune system. They also increase the ability of the white blood cells to fight off invaders.

Bay Leaf Tea Side Effects

The bay leaf does indeed have some amazing health benefits no doubt, but there are some side effects to be aware of.

Here are some of the side effects of consuming bay leaf tea.

  • Blood sugar control

Although consuming bay leaf tea helps in lowering blood sugar levels, there have been complaints of the leaf doing otherwise. Consult your doctor if you are already on medications for high blood sugar issues.

  • Pregnancy and most likely breastfeeding

There isn’t much thorough research on how bay leaf tea affects pregnancy, but as they say, prevention is better than the cure. Please be on the safe side and avoid consuming the bay leaf tea when you are pregnant.

  • Surgical problems

The bay leaf tends to slow down the central nervous system, meaning that problems can arise during surgery when anesthesia is administered. It is therefore advisable to avoid consuming the bay leaf tea for a couple of weeks before undergoing surgery.

The bay leaf is a household item with numerous health benefits. There are tons of arguments for its usefulness; this, coupled with the incredible ease of preparation, makes it a great habit to get into. Make a piping hot cup of bay leaf today and start feeling those effects!

You May Also Like: Substitute for Bay Leaf in Recipes


Peter's path through the culinary world has taken a number of unexpected turns. After starting out as a waiter at the age of 16, he was inspired to go to culinary school and learn the tricks of the trade. As he delved deeper, however, his career took a sudden turn when a family friend needed someone to help manage his business. Peter now scratches his culinary itch on the internet by blogging, sharing recipes, and socializing with food enthusiasts worldwide.


  1. Uncle Lido Reply

    As a child my mom always boiled the water and threw in some bay leaves whenever we had a stomach ache or gas pains. It was a great elixir and always helped us. Today as a father of three, my wife and I use the age old recipe for all of our stomach ailments. Mom is now 97 and still swears by it- maybe that’s what helped her
    live to this ripe old age!

  2. I have a Bay tree, can I use the leaves fresh off the tree? Or do they need to be dried?

    • George Berry Reply

      Can u steep the bay leaf tea but drink it later cold (not hot). No one has commented on this that I have found.

  3. Henry Trevino Reply

    I’m already drinking the bay leaf tea. I’m also drinking the juice and eating beets. Thanks for the info. I’m listening to you.

  4. Tommie Barnes Reply

    that is an awesome blessing…. I will try the bay leaf tea me and my husband..

  5. When making coffee can I add it to the coffee grounds and make Bay Leaf Coffee? Thanks

  6. How can I use my bayleafs, I have a tree, Do I use it fresh or dried? Which form is better?

  7. Joseph Antonious Saad Reply

    I’ve had ongoing ancute diahheria for 2 1/2 years without any help from hospital or gastro specialist and even GP . Do you think Bay leaf tea could help?.

  8. Hi, I’m Stanley. Can anyone help me, what is Bay leaf in isiZulu. Cause I don’t Knw what is bay leaf, but I’m willing to use it pls.

  9. Maria Almeida Reply

    Can we treat an alcoholic person by giving him the Bay leave and cinnamon tea.? In how many days the person can come under control ? Will the person will stop smoking as well ?

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