Suppression

Bay leaves

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Bay leaves are the aromatic leaves of several plants used in cooking. As the nutrient content and uses differ according to the plant, this description will concentrate on Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis, Lauraceae) whose fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. They are also mildly antibiotic and anti-fungal. 

The other bay leaves used in cooking and medicine but not covered here, include California bay leaf, (Umbellularia californica, Lauraceae), Indian bay leaf or malabathrum (Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae), Indonesian bay leaf (salam leaf, Syzygium polyanthum, Myrtaceae), West Indian bay leaf (Pimenta racemosa, Myrtaceae), and Mexican bay leaf (Litsea glaucescens, Lauraceae).

Being members of the Lauraceae family the properties may be similar, however, the PubMed papers tend to centre on Laurus nobilis.

Some members of the laurel family, as well as the unrelated but visually similar mountain laurel and cherry laurel, have leaves that are poisonous to humans and livestock. 

Nutrients

The table below shows some of the minerals and vitamins in bay leaves.

Source: US National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Release 26   Software v.1.3.1 Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

Proximates

Water

g

5.44

Energy

kcal

313

Protein

g

7.61

Total lipid (fat)

g

8.36

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

74.97

Fiber, total dietary

g

26.3

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

834

Iron, Fe

mg

43.00

Magnesium, Mg

mg

120

Phosphorus, P

mg

113

Potassium, K

mg

529

Sodium, Na

mg

23

Zinc, Zn

mg

3.70

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

46.5

Thiamin

mg

0.009

Riboflavin

mg

0.421

Niacin

mg

2.005

Vitamin B-6

mg

1.740

Folate, DFE

µg

180

Vitamin B-12

µg

0.00

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

309

Vitamin A, IU

IU

6185

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

Vitamin D

IU

0

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

2.280

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

1.640

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

2.290

Cholesterol

mg

0

Method

Bay leaves from the Bay Laurel in theory may be eaten without toxic effect, however, they remain very stiff even after thorough cooking, thus they are used to flavour dishes and then removed before eating. The leaves are often used to flavour soups, stews, braised dishes and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying.

How it works

see observations

Related observations