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World Diabetes Day 2021: Can Bay Leaf Help improve Glucose Levels In People With Diabetes?

Every year on 14 November, World Diabetes Day is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Sir Frederick Grant Banting who discovered insulin along with his assistant Charles Best in 1922. The day is meant to raise awareness on this lifelong global health issue for its early detection and prevention, and also support diabetics to manage the condition well and prevent its complications.

Bay leaf from the tree Laurus nobilis is a flavoursome culinary herb widely used in the Indian kitchen. It is known by many names such as tej patta, Malabar leaf, Indian cassia, laurel leaf and Indian bay leaf.

Photo Credit: Food photo created by azerbaijan_stockers -

According to a study published in the journal Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition, bay leaves at a dose of 1-3 g/day for 30 days can help decrease risk factors for diabetes and heart diseases and may also help manage glucose levels in people with diabetes. [1]

In this article, we will discuss bay leaf and its association with diabetes. Take a look.

Nutrients In Bay Leaf

Bay leaf is rich in phytochemical compounds such as tannins, flavonoids, flavones, linalool, eugenol, anthocyanins and methyl chavicol. It also contains citric acid, alkaloids, essential oils, triterpenoids and tanat acid (the primary flavouring and aromatic agent in bay leaf). [2]

Some of the essential vitamins and minerals in a bay leaf are vitamin A, protein, iron, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, dietary fibres, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, sodium, copper, zinc, selenium, manganese and folate. [3]

Bay Leaf For Diabetics

1. May increase HDL or 'good' cholesterol

A study has shown that bay leaves can help reduce glucose levels in the blood, LDL or bad cholesterol and total cholesterol levels, and increase HDL levels in diabetics. This is due to the presence of anti-diabetic compounds such as flavonoids. The study adds that around 1-3 g of bay leaves for 30 days can be beneficial for diabetics; the anti-diabetic effect of the herb may also remain for the next 10 days even when bay leaves are not consumed, thus mentioning its long-term effect on glucose levels. [1]

2. May reduce glycemic response

Glycemic response refers to the effect of certain food or meal on blood glucose after consumption. According to a study, cookies that contain six per cent of bay leaf powder can be a delicious and satiating food product for diabetics with a proven reduced glycemic response. It may tend to reduce hunger, improve gastrointestinal health and also prevent sugar spikes after its consumption. Therefore, adding a bay leaf or its powder form to food items can approximately provide the same effect and may help manage diabetes or prevent it. [2]

3. May help with insulin release

Free radicals in the body can cause damage to the pancreatic beta cells and lead to hyperglycemia. The pancreas is responsible for the production of insulin that helps manage glucose in the body, and when pancreatic beta cells are destroyed, insulin production may be reduced. Bay leaf is associated with promoting insulin release from damaged beta cells and increasing the availability of insulin. Its antioxidant property may also prevent damage to the pancreas due to free radicals. [3]

4. May prevent diabetes complications

Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to complications related to nervous system damage, heart diseases, eye damage and kidney dysfunctions. Traditional herbs such as bay leaf have compounds such as triterpenoids, eugenol and linalool that has positive effects on the antioxidant status, insulin insufficiency and inflammatory factors, that is related to good diabetes management. When diabetes is managed properly, the risk of its complications automatically gets reduced. [4]

5. Maybe better than other antidiabetic herbs

A study based on the evaluation of anti-diabetic effects of some common herbs and spices has found that only bay leaf, liquorice and thyme contain vital compounds that can effectively regulate all 18 protein targets in the body cells, which are responsible for major anti-diabetic effects and reduced glucose and cholesterol levels. This may talk about the anti-diabetic mechanisms of bay leaf in the prevention and management of diabetes. [5]

Bay Leaf Tea Recipe For Diabetics

Bay leaf tea can be a healthy option for diabetics in managing their sugar levels. Let's look at ways to prepare it.


  • 2-3 fresh bay leaves, washed.
  • 2 cups of water.
  • Sugar alternative (optional).
  • Milk (optional)


  • In a saucepan, pour water, add bay leaves and bring the mixture to a boil for around 3-4 minutes.
  • Cover the lid, reduce the flame and boil for more than 10 minutes on medium flame.
  • Switch off the flame and let the tea steep for 2-3 minutes.
  • Strain the leaves and pour the tea into a cup.
  • Add sugar and milk if you desire.
  • Drink warm.

Note: You can also use a teaspoon of bay leaf powder instead of leaf.

To Conclude

Bay leaf can be a great addition to a diabetes diet for managing glucose levels. It is advised to talk to your doctor about how to include this therapeutic herb and its doses to reap its benefits.

How do diabetics use bay leaves?

Bay leaf has antidiabetic properties and people with diabetes can use the leaves for making bay leaf tea or add it to dishes such as curries, soups or baked goods. Bay leaf can be a healthy and good option for any recipe due to its flavoursome taste and aroma.

What are the benefits of drinking bay leaf tea?

Bay leaf tea has multiple benefits, from lowering glucose levels to improving gastrointestinal health and from promoting good skin health to preventing heart diseases. For diabetics, bay leaf is a healthy food ingredient as it may help manage the condition well and prevent complications such as stroke and nerve damage.

Can you boil bay leaves and drink them?

Yes, bay leaves can be boiled to prepare tea and consumed to prevent a long list of diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases and gastrointestinal disorders.

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