It’s important to think about what you eat. Many people think that it is difficult to substitute their favorite ingredients.

The truth is that you can use simple food substitutions, which can provide you with great health benefits and make your recipes tasty as well.

This article will provide you with information about bay leaf substitutes and the amazing benefits of using them in your diet.

[vc_custom_heading text=”What is the bay leaf?” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

Bay leaf is a fragrant herb that is called, “the Turkish bay leaf” because it was discovered in the Asia Mino region of the Middle East, which is now Turkey.

The scientific name of it is Laurus nobilis. It has been used throughout history for its medicinal benefits.

bay leaf

It is available as dried or fresh leaves, or as powder. Leaves are used widely in cooking like soups, stews, broths, sauces, and many more recipes.

You will be surprised to know that it can be used in desserts as well. Don’t forget to remove the leaves after cooking and before serving.

[vc_custom_heading text=”Is bay leaf gluten-free?” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

Bay leaf does not contain gluten, so it is safe for you if you have celiac disease.

bay leaves Benefits

[vc_custom_heading text=”Bay leaf benefits” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]
  • It has antibacterial properties, which help stop the growth of bacteria like, E.Coli and H.Pylori
  • Bay leaves can help protect against cancer by slowing the growth of breast cancer cells, and they may help fight colorectal cancer as well
  • It can be used to improve hair health by treating dandruff and reducing hair fall as well
  • Bay leaves help to promote heart health because they contain Caffeic acid and rutin, which both are important for heart
  • Reducing stress and anxiety is one of the most important benefits of using bay leaf
  • They contain antioxidants and antimicrobial qualities
  • They are a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium
  • Bay leaves contain enzymes, which help digest food faster
  • Using bay leaves may cause a decrease in blood sugar levels, especially in people with diabetes
  • Bay leaves essential oil can be used in treating certain respiratory issues
  • According to a published study, using bay leaf may help reduce the amount of urease in your body, which can cause kidney stones
  • Researches show that bay leaf might be useful in treating migraines
[vc_custom_heading text=”Why to substitute for Bay leaves? (Special precautions!)” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding try not to use it without asking the doctor
  • If you have surgery, you must stop using it as a medicine
  • Some medications for pain may interact with bay leaf
  • It may cause drowsiness and sleepiness
  • Bay leaves should not be eaten whole, because they may cause damage to the intestinal tract 
[vc_custom_heading text=”Best bay leaf substitutes” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:left|color:%23399998″][vc_custom_heading text=”1: Rosemary” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

It is a fragrant herb with a unique flavor that is used widely in cooking many dishes. It has been used as a medicine for thousands of years.


It is a great substitute for bay leaf. I want to share with you some health benefits of using it.

  • Rosemary is a good source of calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, B12, and iron
  • It’s full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which are important for boosting immunity and improving blood circulation as well
  • It can be used to help improve digestion
  • Rosemary oil or leaves can be used for improving memory and concentration
  • It may help reduce anxiety and depression and that leads to neurological health
  • Rosemary can be useful for clearing out your lungs
  • Rosemary is useful for skin health by drinking rosemary tea or applying its oil to your skin
  • Rosemary may help control weight by reducing weight gain, even if you consume fats in your diet
  • It reduces bloating and gas
  • Rosemary tea help improve nutrient absorption

You can prepare rosemary tea by boiling two cups of water, adding some rosemary leaves to the hot water, leaving it for about 10 minutes, then remove the leaves from the water, you can add honey and lemon juice to it

You can use rosemary in different dishes like salads, stews, steaks, and many more recipes

[vc_custom_heading text=”2: Oregano” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

One of the best bay leaf substitutions is oregano. It has a strong and wonderful flavor and gives a special taste to your dishes.


Now, it’s time to show you its health benefits

  •  Oregano is full of antioxidants that help slow the growth of cancer cells
  •  Oregano essential oil can help control bacterial growth in foods
  • It is a good source of vitamin C, which is important for curing a cold and flu and boosting immunity
  • It contains antibacterial properties, which fight infections
  •  It’s rich in vitamin E, vitamin K, iron, manganese, calcium, and tryptophan
  • Oregano could decrease inflammation, which is linked to heart disease and diabetes
  • Oregano oil can be useful for skin health by treating bacterial and fungal infections
  •  It is useful for weight loss because it’s full of nutrients, which help boost metabolism
  • Using oregano oil prevents the formation of fat cells
  • You can prepare oregano tea by boiling a cup of water, add a teaspoon of fresh leaves or dried oregano, let it cool down, you can add honey if you want

Finally, oregano tea should be used in moderation

[vc_custom_heading text=”3: Basil” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

There are many types of basil like sweet basil, Italian basil, Thai basil, and more different types.

types of basil

Basil is considered a good replacement for bay leaf. It contains many great benefits for health including:

  • Holy basil is good for skin health by helping fight skin problems
  • Sweet basil may be useful for memory loss
  •  Sweet basil fights depression and stress
  • Sweet basil may help prevent certain kinds of cancer, such as colon, pancreas, and breast cancer
  • Sweet basil is good for oral health because it helps fight the bacteria that cause dental decay
  • Basil seeds contain fiber, which reduces hunger, which means eating less and losing weight
  • You can prepare your drink for weight loss by soaking one teaspoon of basil seeds in a glass of water, then leave it overnight, drink it in the morning on an empty stomach
[vc_custom_heading text=”4: Dried thyme” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

It’s a wonderful spice to flavor your dishes, so it’s a fantastic substitute for bay leaf. It has an earthy and woody flavor.

Fresh and dried thyme

Dried thyme has several health benefits including:

  • Reducing blood pressure
  • It might protect against colon cancer
  • Thyme oil can be used to help fight sore throat
  • Thyme essential oil can be used to prevent food poisoning by preventing food contamination
  • It contains carvacrol, which is an essential compound for reducing anxiety and stress
  • Studies have shown that dried thyme can increase good fats in the liver, kidneys, and brain
  • It contains vitamin A, which is important for vision and healthy skin as well
  • Improving digestion
  • It contains antiseptic properties, so it can be used to protect against cavities
  • Thyme helps promote burning fats, because it contains antioxidants, acids, and several vitamins, like vitamin B, vitamin C, which all help promote digestion. It also reduces water retention
  • Thyme is useful for hair growth because it improves blood circulation to the scalp
  • Thyme tea can be used to lose weight. For preparing it, you need to add two tablespoons of dry thyme to two cups of water, then boil the water, leave it cool down, then add it to lemon or kiwi. Keep this mixture in the fridge, and drink it before sleeping
  •  It can be added to soups, stews, sauces, roasted vegetables, pizza, and more dishes
[vc_custom_heading text=”5: Boldo leaves” font_container=”tag:h3|font_size:25|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

Using boldo leaves is a good way to substitute bay leaves because they are strongly aromatic, similar to bay leaves. They are used widely in sauces, fish dished, and mushroom dishes.

Boldo herb leaves

Let’s talk about some health benefits of using boldo.

  •  Boldo leaves have the ability to help Gallstones Elimination by reducing the bile in the liver
  • they can support the immune system because the leaves contain anti-bacterial and anti-microbial agents, which both improve immunity
  • Using it can help stimulating digestive function that is by promoting digestive enzymes and stomach acids production
  • Boldo tea may be used to detoxify the liver
  • Boldo leaves are powerful diuretics, which are essential for eliminating toxins, waste, fats, salts, and the excess fluids in the body
  • Boldo leaves contain anti-inflammatory properties, so it’s useful for reducing bloating and inflammation, which are causes for weight gain
  • It is useful for reducing stress and anxiety
  • Drinking boldo tea may be helpful for weight loss. It’s easy to prepare by boiling water, then you add 2 teaspoons of dried boldo or boldo leaves, leave it for 5-15 minutes, now strain leaves from the water to be ready for drinking

Finally, I want to mention that, it’s not recommended to be consumed daily, because it can cause some health problems.

[vc_custom_heading text=”Conclusion” font_container=”tag:h2|font_size:30|text_align:left|color:%23399998″]

I hope, you have enjoyed reading the article. Fortunately, you have many bay leaf substitutes, which you can use to flavor your favorite dishes, and you will not even notice a big difference.

After all, if you want to have the health benefits of them, you should try to follow a healthy lifestyle.

kristen carli
I am a registered dietitian nutritionist and own a private nutrition practice, where I provide one-on-one nutritional counseling to patients. I specialize in chronic disease prevention/ management, vegan/ vegetarian nutrition, pre-natal/ postpartum nutrition, wellness coaching, medical nutrition therapy, and weight management.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here