How to make Bay Leaf Tea

Cup of Bay Leaf Tea with leaves on the side
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What is Bay Leaf? Laurus nobilis is the scientific classification of the laurel tree, an evergreen tree known for its thick, smooth leaves that produce a unique, intense aroma. Although the laurel tree is the specific variety found in historical Asia Minor, the pimenta racemosa is the West Indian variety known as the bay leaf tree. The leaves from this tree have been used in traditional medicine, natural pesticide, cologne making, cooking and are also believed to have some magical powers of protection from the spiritual realm. The leaves are steeped to make tea to help various medical issues from insomnia, migraine, digestive and menstrual issues. Placing a few leaves in the kitchen cupboards, the pantry, and sacks of flour can help keep away roaches and weevils. Unfortunately, the intense aroma and natural essential oils are toxic to consume. Still, they are excellent when making Bay Rum, a local cologne used to refresh and cool the body in humid Caribbean climates. When making soups or stews, throwing in a bay leaf adds a unique flavor with woody black pepper, mint, and cinnamon notes. The mythical tales of Ancient Greece regard laurel trees as sacred. In Asia, they are connected to the moon's phases, and in the Caribbean, they protect against Maljoe or evil spirits. With all of this in mind, please take a moment to enjoy our Bay Leaf Tea recipe as you reflect on how incredible something so simple could be so impressive. 

If you are a tea lover, you'll also love this recipe for How to make Cinnamon Tea.

What does bay leaf tea do for you?

Bay leaves contain several vitamins, including vitamins A, B6, and C. This group of vitamins can support the immune system. Furthermore, bay leaves can also alleviate an upset stomach, and since bay leaf tea is super aromatic, it can ease a stuffy nose or alleviate sinus pressure.   

How long do you boil bay leaves?

Since we are making bay leaf tea, the bay leaves only need to be boiled for 3 minutes. If the bay leaves are boiled any longer, they could develop an overly bitter flavor.   

Does bay leaf raise blood pressure?

Bay leaves do not raise blood pressure. Because bay leaves have a wide range of nutrients, including iron, potassium, and antioxidants which play a role in heart health and can ultimately decrease blood pressure.    

Are fresh bay leaves better than dried?

 In some cases, fresh bay leaves are best; in other cases, dried bay leaves are best. For example, if too many fresh bay leaves are used, it can overpower the tea or dish. In addition to this, if you do not remove the bay leaves from the food early enough, they could overpower the food. In contrast, a significant amount of bay leaves flavor is lost when the leaves are dried. Therefore, dried bay leaves are left in the food or drink longer and removed before it is served. All in all, whether fresh bay leaves are better than dried ones depends on your preference.   
Author: Rachel Ottier-Hart
Average: 4.9 (18 votes)
Prep Time
1 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
16 mins
4 persons



In a small pot, bring 32 ounces of water to a boil.
Arial of a pot of water on a gas stove
Add the bay leaves to the water and boil for 3 minutes. If desired, at this point, you can add any or all of the optional ingredients.
Arial of a pot of water with bay leaves and ginger inside
Remove from the heat, cover, and allow to steep for at least 5 minutes. The longer it soaks, the more profound the flavor.
Pot on a cutting board  with a lid on it
Remove ingredients with a strainer or slotted spoon and re-warm tea if necessary.
Pot with a slotted spoon removing the bay leaves and ginger
Serve warm in a teacup or coffee mug and sweeten with sugar or honey to taste.
Sideview of a cup filled with bay leaf tea with honey being drizzled into the cup

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