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Authors

  1. Singletary, Keith PhD

Abstract

Bay leaf or bay laurel is a culinary herb obtained from the small evergreen tree Laurus nobilis L. (family Lauraceae). This plant is native to the Mediterranean region and enjoys widespread cultivation in the warm climates of the southern United States, Central America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. As a culinary herb, it is known to flavor numerous cuisines of Turkey, India, Italy, and France. It is a common component in the French mixture of herbs "bouquet garni" and is added to various dishes during cooking such as sauces, soups, stocks, casseroles, sausages, and stews and then removed before consumption. Many uses of bay leaf and its oil in traditional and folk medicines have been documented. These include as treatment of respiratory disorders and infections, gastrointestinal discomfort and irregularity, diarrhea, and amenorrhea and as an emetic, stimulant, and diuretic, to name a few. To date, few human studies have examined the health benefits of bay leaves. This narrative review summarizes relevant clinical trials and preclinical animal investigations, and highlights future research needs.