Friday, 14 October 2016

I'm interested in knowing more about burning Bay leaves to relieve anxiety and fatigue

Let's finally hit those research vehicles so we can respond to important questions received on the bay leaf post. It is ever so surprising the interest of my readers on this topic, I never thought this would be such a hype. But hey, thanks a lot for the attention.

The first questions came from sue g. who is interested in knowing more about burning bay leaves to relieve anxiety and fatigue:

I already expressed that more information can be found on this topic by accessing here. However, this time I am looking more in-depth into bay leave participating in reliving anxiety. Personally, I'd like to suggest visiting your family doctor whenever you have health related questions; he is the one more familiar to your medical history and I do not have a medical degree. All my answers are purely based on available research, facts and information, published out there. 

If you just google-type "bay leaf anxiety" there are numerous web pages dissecting the subject, but NONE of the top four hits (I only looked on the top 4 today) had any kind of direct in-text mentioning of scientific publications backing their suggestions. I don't really trust pages that just blabber about stuff! But running a quick search on scientific publications with the keywords 'bay leaf anxiety stress' resulted in the idea that the available data is based on traditional Ayurvedic utilisation of bay leaf as a plant with the potential for helping with cancer, infections, diabetes, antioxidative power, dermatological diseases, bronchitis and winter blues, etc... Where the article by Sharangi and Guha (2013) [1] mentions the potential of thyme to reduce stress by providing one with 0.35 mg of Pyridoxine (one form of vitamin B6) resulting in balanced levels of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid levels in the brain, nothing in this article ever combines bay leaf with relief from stress or anxiety. However, a quick search delivers the potential of the volatile active compound linalool (present in bay leaf) in plants of the family Lauraceae. Linalool is present in high percentage in bay leaf and his known to hold hypothermic properties and have produce effects on the central nervous system of mice. These effects are dose-dependent and can be described as sedative, hypnotic and anticonvulsant [2].

Finally, Linck et al (2010) [3] suggests that inhaling Linalool rich essential oils can be used as an anxiolytic to promote relaxation and control stress, as has been shown in mice that responded with increased social interaction and decreased aggressive behaviour.

The information collected show that there is benefit in inhaling, to a dose based on loads of common sense and recognition of your personal health status, essential oils containing bay leaf's linalool. Breathing smokes derived from burning bay leaf is not per se dangerous but can produce two risks, 1) excessive smoke inhalation and 2) inhalation of the very dangerous hydrogen cyanide due to burning the wrong plant, as referred in previous posts.

A quick search on essential oils for anxiety relief took me to this page. Use it as an initial idea of what plant might hold the right oil for you to use it in your home environment. I hope this post was helpful. The coming one will respond yet again to Sue G.'s question on bay leaf and the relief of fatigue. A third post coming out later this week will then finally respond to Judy on her query regarding chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, inhaling bay leaf fumes or essential oils, and massing these oils on the chest. Stick around but bear in mind, your family doctor most of the times will have the adequate answer for your specific case as he knows best your health records.


[1] Sharangi, A. B, and Guha, S. (2013). "Wonders of leafy spices: Medicinal properties ensuring human health". Science International, 1(9), pp. 312-317.

[2] Re, L., Barocci, S., Mencorelli, A., Vivani, C., Paolucci, G., Scarpantonio, A., Rinaldi, L., Mosca, E. (2000). "Linalool modifies the nicotininc receptor-ion channel kinetics at the mouse neuromuscular junction", Pharmacol Res, 42 (2000), pp. 177-182.

[3] Linck, V. M., Silva, A. L., Figiero, M., Caramao, E. B., Moreno, P. R. H., Elisabetsky, E. (2009). "Effects of inhaled Linalool in anxiety social interactionand aggressive behaviour in mice". Phytomedicine, 17(8-9), pp. 679-683.

Image kindly taken from Bay Leaf Oils []. on the 14th of October 2016.

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