Bay leaves contain a unique element called linalool, which is known to reduce stress. © Shutterstock
Tej patta or bay leaves that you used to enhance taste and aroma in dishes has innumerable health benefits. Scientifically known as Laurus Nobilis, bay leaves contain a high amount of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. This popular spice also contains enzymes that help breakdown proteins and improve digestion. It is also believed that bay leaves may improve insulin function in diabetics, lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, combat migraine, treat gas, dandruff, and joint pain or boils, cancer, and more. But there is one more amazing benefit of bay leaves, which you may not have heard about till now. Burning bay leaves to relieve stress and anxiety – this is an ancient practice popular in different parts of the world. Also Read – EFT Tapping: An effective non-drug therapy for anxiety, depression and chronic pain Stress is one of the most common complaints among people amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It is believed that burning bay leaves and releasing its fumes cleanses the air and lightens the mood. The compounds found in bay leaves – eugenol and myrcene – have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. Because of these compounds, when you burn bay leaves, the smell helps relax the nerves of your brain, which in turn relieves tension. The herb also contains a unique element called linalool, which is known to reduce anxiety levels. The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists also acknowledges that linalool which is emitted after burning bay leaves is a great stress reliever. Also Read – Covid-19 healthcare workers at risk of developing depression, anxiety
How to use bay leaves to relieve stress
Take a few bay leaves, 3-4 should be enough. Make sure the leaves are clean and dry. Put the leaves in an aluminium tray, or any heat-safe plate and burn them. The room should be closed so that the fumes stay confined. Exit from the room after burning the leaves and allow the smoke to fill the room. Enter the room 5-7 times and take a deep breath. Soon, you will feel lighter. However, don’t inhale the smoke directly by bringing it near the nose. Let the smoke spread in the surrounding environment and smell a slight smoke. You can also burn bay leaves to remove bad odour from the house, instead of using chemical-laden artificial air fresheners, which are harmful to your health. Also Read – Pandemic anxiety: Beat it with yoga nidra
Other known benefits of bay leaf smoke
Apart from relieving stress and anxiety, the chemicals released while burning bay leaves can have a number of other health benefits. The smoke can calm your body and mind. The anti-inflammatory properties of eugenol can help reduce inflammation in the body, especially the joints. This chemical can also boost your immune system. Inhaling bay leaf smoke can also boost your energy after a long tiring day. The energy-boosting effect is due to the release of chemicals such as pinene, cineol, and elemicin in the fumes. If you’re prone allergy or cold, the smoke from burning bay leaves can reduce the inner swelling of the nose and throat. Bay leaf smoke can also create a suitable environment for practising meditation. Adding more bay leaves to your diet is another way to reap its benefits. Experts say that linalool in bay leaves can lower the level of stress hormones in the body, calm your mind, and combat symptoms of depression.