Bay leaf tincture uses, benefits and recipe


Bay leaf has been used not only in cooking, but also in folk medicine. All thanks to numerous healing properties.

How to make bay leaf tincture? Simply use 1/2 oz (15 g) of dried bay leaves and 2 cups (16 fl oz / 480 ml) 60% alcohol by volume (or 120 proof) alcohol. The leaves need to be chopped or crushed and placed in an airtight jar. 

Then pour alcohol over them and screw tight. The jar should be stored in a dark and warm place for approx. 14 days. After this time, the mixture should be strained and poured into a dark glass bottle.

Fresh bay leaf tincture

Do you want to know more about bay leaf tincture? Keep reading – I will cover uses, benefits, dosage, contraindications and at the end of the article you can also find a list of equipment that might be useful (here link to my article about supplies) when you will be making a bay leaf tincture by yourself. I’m making tinctures from 2001 and have gathered and read dozens of books about them, so information that you will find in this article should be helpful 🙂

Where to buy bay leaf for tincture?

If you are not using fresh fruits you can find dried chokeberry on Amazon here – Turkish Bay Leaves Whole | 6 oz Bag, Bulk | 100% Natural Dried Bay Leaf 

More recipes – check on my blog

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Bay leaf tincture uses, what is it good for

According to webmd.com bay leaf uses include:

  • diabetes,
  • gas,
  • stimulating bile flow,
  • causing sweating,
  • dandruff, when applied to the skin,
  • joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), when applied to the skin,
  • boils, when applied to the skin.

Bay leaf tincture benefits 

Bay leaves are a forgotten ingredient in old first aid kits. Currently, they are returning to favor, mainly thanks to lovers of natural medicine, who remember their unusual properties. A tincture of bay leaves is primarily a source of vitamins A, B and C, as well as minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium and zinc.

What’s more, the leaves are great for the digestive system. They regulate digestive processes and relieve indigestion. In addition, it helps to cleanse the body of toxins and regulates blood sugar levels. They will also help with joint and muscle pain when used externally.

It is also worth emphasizing that bay leaves are an effective medicine in the fight against colds and troublesome runny nose. They warm up the body and help clear the respiratory tract. Thanks to their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, they can help you stay healthy and well-being.

Bay leaf tincture dosage

Most sources suggest that you should remember about moderation when using bay leaf tincture. You should not drink it in large amounts, you can dissolve 10-15 drops in water and drink it like this. In addition, it can be used externally, rubbed into places where we are in pain.

Bay leaf tincture recipe and preparation

How do you prepare a tincture with fresh bay leaves? You will need 2 oz (60 g) of fresh bay leaves and 2 cups (16 fl oz / 480 ml) of 60% alc. by volume (120 proof) alcohol. The leaves need to be washed, chopped and placed in an airtight jar. Then pour alcohol over them and screw tight. The jar should be stored in a dark and warm place for approx. 3 weeks, after this time, the mixture should be strained and poured into a dark glass bottle.

Bay leaf tincture recipe without alcohol

Alcohol tinctures are probably the most potent way to get healing and balancing benefits of herbs for our use.

But if you can’t or don’t want to consume alcohol, or you should not give it to kids, as a substitute you can make a glycerin-based, alcohol-free herbal extract, also called an herbal glycerite. Such extract is not as strong or long-lasting as alcohol tinctures, but it takes only up to 3 days to make it.

Recipe to prepare bay leaf glycerite without alcohol: put herbs in a jar about 1/8 way, fill to the top with glycerine. Cover and put in a slow cooker (or Instant Pot with a slow cooker feature) that’s lined with a towel and filled with water — run on low for 3 days. After that remove and strain, keep in a dry and cool place in dark glass bottles.

Bay leaf tincture contraindications and side effects

According to webmd.com it is important to remember about possible side effects when you have:

  • diabetes – as bay leaf might interfere with blood sugar control. That is why you should monitor blood sugar closely if you have diabetes and use bay leaf tincture as a medicine,
  • planned surgery – as there is a concern that it might slow down the nervous system too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Because of that it is suggested to stop using bay leaf tincture as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Remember that before taking this tincture as a medication you should always consult a specialist, information that I have gathered from books and webmd.com should be consulted with a healthcare professional as each tincture can have different effects on different people. 

What type of alcohol is used for bay leaf tincture?

Most spirits used for drinking will work, but vodka or other grain alcohols that are at least 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) work best. When using dried bay leaf, your best bet is to stick to an 60-70% (120 or 140-proof) alcohol, as it does not have a lot of juices left, and it is best for extracting any water that’s left in the fruit out of it.

How long does bay leaf tincture last?

When stored in a cool, dry place, bay leaf tincture lasts at least three years, if not longer. If you use dark bottles, it will last longer because the light will not damage it. If your area is humid or hot several months out of the year, try storing it in the refrigerator during the hot and humid season.

Recommened edequipment – what you may need to have to make such tincture at home

I hope that you have found my article useful. Below I’ve gathered all items that I am using when making my tinctures, some of them, like airtight jars, are necessary, some are just handy, you do not need to have them all to be able to make a good tincture.  

recommended tincture equipment
Tincture equipment examples
  1. Airtight jars.
  2. Mortar for herbs – granite.
  3. Mortar for herbs – stainless steel.
  4. Funnels for filling bottles.
  5. Large bottles, dark glass.
  6. Medium bottles, dark glass.
  7. Small bottles with dropper, dark glass.
  8. Cloth for tincture filtering.
  9. Coffee filters for tincture filtering.
  10. Alcohol meter to check how strong is your vodka/spirit.
  11. Tincture press for better extraction.

    Here you can also find a more detailed post with list of equipment that might be useful.

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Damian from PolishTinctures
Best regards from Kraków!

If you are looking also for other recipes, check out my blog – I have written about almost 100 other tinctures, use the search option below and you might find what you are looking for:

Other names of bay leaf

It is also known under such names: Bay, Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Daphne, Grecian Laurel, Laurel, Laurel Común, Laurier d’Apollon, Laurier Noble, Laurier-Sauce, Laurier Vrai, Laurus nobilis, Mediterranean Bay, Noble Laurel, Roman Laurel, Sweet Bay, True Bay, True Laurel.

Sources: if you would like to check more info about the bay leaf here you can find a webmd.com article about it. 

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