Why You Should Be Burning Bay Leaves At Home

Bay leaves are very commonly used in the kitchen to flavour your favorite dishes however they are very seldom used for anything beyond the kitchen. Have you ever walked in to a yoga or zen studio and been greeted with a particular smell? This smell comes from a traditional art called smudging, it is the process of burning herbs in order to purify a room, similar to incense.

Bay leaves contain pinene, cineol and elemicin compounds which create a stimulating calm effect. Traditionally, it is used as a sedative and anti-inflammatory but it also lowers blood pressure and heart rate when burned.

How To Burn Bay Leaves

Next time you are feeling stressed or in a bad mood, take two or three dried leaves out and light them in the same way you would light incense. Let them burn in a small tin or aluminium baking tray and fill the air with their smoke, make sure the windows and doors are shut or the draft will carry the smoke away. Remember to keep the tray away from anything flammable and do not burn the leaves near a smoke detector. Sit back, relax and allow the herb to make your mind and muscles feel more relaxed.

Another effective way to harness the power of bay leaves is to drink a tea made brewed from a number of bay leaves. Simply put a couple of leaves into a tea strainer, add boiling water to the cup or teapot and allow the tea to steep for two to three minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

Would you like to fill your home with an amazing vanilla, warm Christmas spice or fall fragrance? Try out these simmer pots to make your home smell amazing.

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Image: BayLeaves by Stacy Spensley used and modified under CC BY 2.0
Michael Klements
Hi, my name is Michael and I started this blog in 2016 to share my DIY journey with you. I love tinkering with electronics, making, fixing, and building - I'm always looking for new projects and exciting DIY ideas. If you do too, grab a cup of coffee and settle in, I'm happy to have you here.


  1. Question: I’m assuming you’re saying to burn dried bay leaves. I tried it today but it didn’t work. The fire wouldn’t spread to burn the whole leaf. My grandmother used to make incense from rose petals. Do you have a recipe for incense made from bay leaves?

    • Hi Juliette,
      You are correct, the leaves need to be very dry. Try putting a small handful of leaves into a bowl and lighting one of the leaves near the bottom. If that doesn’t work then your leaves are probably not dry enough, put them on a baking tray and leave them in a sunny spot for a few days to dry out completely before trying again. Sorry, I have never heard of anyone making incense from bay leaves but it sounds like it could be interesting to try.


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