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Bay leaves are a mainstay of soup recipes everywhere—but have you ever wondered about the wellness benefits of this humble botanical? 

Bay leaf basics

Bay leaves come from the Laurus nobilis tree, a.k.a. Laurel trees. The coarse leaves are pungent in flavor and highly aromatic. In recipes, they’re used whole as a flavoring agent and are not meant to be chewed and consumed. Bay leaves impart their distinctive flavor to a variety of global cuisines—from soup stocks and stews to pasta sauce and rice pilaf.

The Ayurvedic take on Bay leaves

From the standpoint of Ayurveda, Bay leaves are warming, and pacify both Kapha and Vata doshas while increasing Pitta. For this reason, they are often used in teas to help soothe the respiratory system and occasional indigestion.

Cooking Ayurvedically with Bay leaves

When it comes to flavor, Bay leaves combine well with pepper, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. This combination of whole spices is often used to flavor basmati rice. Bay leaves can be added to stews, soups (like our Vegetable Barley Soup), dhals and curries while they are simmering—but don’t forget to remove them before serving.

Ayurvedic Beet Curry Recipe

Have you ever tried using Bay leaves in your veggie curries? Try our Beet Curry Recipe—a sweet and lightly spiced dish that looks as vibrant as it tastes. 

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