No spice collection is complete without bay leaves.
For thousands of years, humans have been using it in food due to its digestion-boosting, respiratory-enhancing and anti-inflammatory properties.
Of course, it also tastes great – but only after an hour or so of simmering. If you try to eat it before then, you’ll be greeted by a rather bitter and unpleasant taste.
But say you haven’t got an hour to spare. If you still want to reap the benefits of bay leaves, do you have no choice but to bite into the bitterness?
No! There’s another option – you can burn those bay leaves with a match. This intense fire will work much faster than regular simmering to release the active compounds within bay leaves.
By doing so and inhaling the smell (not the smoke directly), you open yourself up to a number of awesome benefits. These include the following two.
Benefit #1 – Reduced Anxiety
The bay leaf contains a compound called linalool. A study by the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists found that linalool decreases anxiety and enhances social interaction.
In as little as 10 minutes of smelling a burning bay leaf, linalool begins working. Some have even described the effect as mildly psychedelic.
Benefit #2 – Respiratory Relief
Bay leaves contain mycrene and eugenol. Both of these compounds possess great anti-inflammatory properties and are, in fact, used heavily in stress reduction therapy.
When you burn a bay leaf, these compounds become airborne. Once inhaled, they will reduce any respiratory inflammation. This can work wonders if you suffer from allergies or have a bad cold.
How To Burn Bay Leaves Properly
When burnt right, bay leaves will begin to unleash their benefits very quickly.
Take one dried leaf and place it in an ashtray. Set the leaf on fire and leave the room for a few minutes. If possible, close the door behind you to let the bay leaf aroma fill the room.
When you return, blow out the embers and breathe in deeply.
Check out this video to see what the burning process looks like!