Simple Bay Leaf Tea Recipe (and Benefits)

This recipe involves using West Indian bay leaves (Pimenta racemosa) and not the common bay laurel or sweet bay leaves (Laurus nobilis), which is used especially in Mediterranean cuisine. Both are similar in name only but are very different plants and have different benefits.

West Indian bay leaf tea has a wonderful taste that will remind you of cinnamon and clove. To make the tea, simply boil fresh or dried mature bay leaves on medium heat for 20 minutes. Allow to steep for 10 to 15 minutes before straining, sweetening and serving. Here’s more plus the benefits of drinking the tea.

bay leaf tea in a glass mug with bay leaves on the right over a purple background

Bay Leaf Tea Ingredients

For this recipe, you will need:

  • bay leaves: As I mentioned, I’m using West Indian bay leaves (also called ciliment and bay rum). And being from the Caribbean, bay leaves are easy to find. I have my own tree so I’m using fresh leaves here. But, dried ones are actually better and give you a stronger tea.
  • water
  • sweetener: this is optional. Feel free to use sugar, honey, or any sweetener of your choice.
  • milk: another optional ingredient you can use.

How to make bay leaf tea

Step 1: Place a small pot on medium heat. Add water and leave to come to a boil.

Step 2: Wash the bay leaves and add to the pot of boiling water.

brew fresh bay leaves

Step 3: Brew for 15 to 20 minutes.

boiling bay leaves

Step 4: Turn off the heat and allow to steep for 15 minutes or so. The tea will be this beautiful brown color.

Step 5: Strain the tea.

Step 6: If you want you can sweeten the tea at this point but I usually omit sweeteners. You can also add your choice of milk, whether it is dairy or plant-based. Serve the tea hot.

bay leaf tea backlit

Bay leaf tea benefits

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of studies looking at the benefits of drinking West Indian bay leaf tea. Funny enough, its essential oil is extensively studied and has some incredible benefits ranging from being a powerful antimicrobial to having possible anticancer activity.

You do see a little of the oil floating on the surface of the tea after brewing. And the smell is also as strong as the essential oil. So brewing and drinking the tea MAY provide similar benefits to the oil.

As for the tea itself, this 2018 Egyptian study showed the tea is used for gastric disorders, flatulence, colds, fever, rheumatism, and osteoarthritis. It is also used for its anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. The study actually identified a number of antioxidants in bay leaves including quercitin.

West Indian bay leaf tea recipe

bay leaf tea in a glass mug with bay leaves on the right over a purple background
Print Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Bay Leaf Tea Recipe

Bay leaf tea is an exotic brew that tastes like cinnamon and cloves. Here, I’m making the tea with West Indian bay leaves that I’ve boiled and left to steep. Strain, sweeten, serve hot and enjoy!
Prep Time2 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Steep Time15 minutes
Total Time37 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Caribbean
Keyword: bay leaf tea, West Indian bay leaf tea
Servings: 2
Author: Ros Singh


  • 5 mature bay leaves
  • 3 cups water
  • sweetener (optional)
  • milk (optional)


  • Place a small pot on medium heat.
  • Add water. Allow to come to a boil.
  • Wash bay leaves.
  • Add the leaves to the pot.
  • Brew for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Leave to steep for at least 15 minutes.
  • Strain.
  • Sweeten and add milk (optional).
  • Serve hot.

Pin this:

bay leaf tea & benefits pinterest image

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating