Avocado Leaves: What You Need to Know

Like most people, you probably think of avocados as a delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in various ways. But you may not know that avocado leaves also have impressive health benefits.

avocado leaves
Avocado leaves. Credit: canva

Avocado leaves come from the avocado tree, native to Central America and Mexico. They have a long history of use in traditional medicine. They can also be used for tea, cooking, and cosmetics.

This blog post will explore the many benefits and discuss how to use them.

About Avocado Leaves

Avocado leaves come from the evergreen avocado tree, native to Central America and Mexico. The scientific name for this tree is Persea Americana.

The leaves of the avocado tree are dark green and glossy, with a smooth texture. They are typically oval and can grow up to 12 inches long.

They have a long history of use in traditional medicine. They have been used to treat a variety of conditions for centuries.

They are available year-round. 

Taste

They have a slightly minty flavor with notes of anise. Some people also describe them as being similar to eucalyptus.

Several chefs describe the taste as akin to a cross between fennel, anise, and bay leaves. Traditionally, they are toasted before use, which releases a nutty aroma and a hint of licorice flavor.

The taste is slightly bitter and pungent. It can be a bit strong for some people, so it’s best to start with a small amount and gradually increase it.

In tea, they remind us of mild green or black tea.

Nutritional facts

They are good sources of vitamins A, C, and E. They also contain B vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

In addition to being a good source of nutrients, they are also rich in antioxidants. They contain more antioxidants than green tea.

They are also a good source of antioxidant properties, which can help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.

These leaves are also high in quercetin. Quercetin is a type of flavonoid that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and anticancer effects.

They also contain a compound called persin. This compound has been shown to have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

What Are the Benefits?

avocado fruit and leaves
Avocado fruits and leaves. Credit: canva

Health Benefits

Some of these potential benefits include:

Reducing inflammation

They contain compounds that can help to reduce inflammation in the body. This can benefit people who suffer from conditions like arthritis and asthma.

Treat asthma symptoms

The phytochemicals have a relaxing and calming effect on various sections of the body and mind. This may aid in the reduction of headaches, muscular aches, and even asthma.

Avocado tea can help loosen the muscles in the chest, causing unpleasant asthma symptoms. Some avocado tea users advocate adding one tablespoon salt to every three cups of tea.

Antioxidants

They are high in antioxidants, which can help to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Free radicals are particles that can cause cell damage and lead to conditions like cancer.

Antioxidants may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing cholesterol from oxidizing.

Lower blood pressure

Magnesium and antioxidants can help relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from hypertension.

In addition, potassium can also help to regulate blood pressure. Brew yourself avocado tea three times or more weekly for the best results.

Treat diarrhea

They have astringent properties that can help to treat diarrhea. Astringent substances cause the contraction of body tissues. This can help stop diarrhea by reducing the amount of water in the intestine.

To treat diarrhea, brew a tea using two or three leaves and drink it three times per day.

Treatment for kidney stones

They are effective in treating kidney stones. The diuretic properties of the leaves help increase urine production and flush out toxins from the body.

To make the tea for kidney stones, boil two or three leaves in water for five minutes. Strain the tea and drink it three times per day.

Lower blood glucose levels

Like many teas, the antioxidants and phytochemicals in avocado tea assist your body in burning fat and glucose. This can help to lower blood sugar levels.

They are also a good source of fiber, which can help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down glucose absorption into the bloodstream.

For best results, drink avocado tea three times per day.

Skin wound healing

They can also speed up the healing process of wounds. The tannins in the leaves have astringent properties that can help close wounds and stop bleeding.

In addition, the antioxidants can help to protect the wound from infection.

To use them for wound healing, brew a tea using two or three leaves. Apply the tea to the wound with a clean cloth and bandage it up. Repeat this process three times per day until the wound heals.

What Are the Side Effects?

They are generally considered safe for most people. However, you should be aware of a few potential side effects.

Allergic reactions

Some people may be allergic. If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming them, discontinue use immediately and seek medical attention if necessary.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction may include hives, difficulty breathing, and swelling of the face, tongue, or throat.

Interaction with medications

They may interact with certain medications. If you take any medication, you should speak to your doctor before consuming them.

Quercetin can interact with blood thinners like warfarin. Quercetin can also interact with certain chemotherapy drugs.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming them. This is because there is insufficient research to determine whether or not they are safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

As with any food or supplement, it’s best to speak to your doctor before adding avocado leaves to your diet.

Is avocado leaf toxic?

The leaves, seeds, and skin are toxic to animals that consume large amounts. The harmful effects were traced to the Guatemalan avocado (Persea American).

The toxic effect in humans is rare in the amounts consumed as an herb, seasoning, or tea. However, they should be used in moderation as consuming large amounts may lead to stomach upset.

What Are Avocado Leaves Good for?

avocado leaf tea
Avocado leaf tea. Credit: canva

Tea

Making this is very simple.

Add a few dried or fresh leaves to boiling water and let steep for about five minutes.

Dry the leaves, typically around 3 or 4 leaves per pot, are recommended by tea enthusiasts. Some heat the water before adding the foliage to steep. Others boil water with the leaves in it for 10 to 15 minutes.

Cooking

Fresh and dried ones are best suited for cooked applications such as toasting, boiling, and steaming.

Like the bay leaf, they can be added at the beginning of cooking and removed before serving.

The fresh leaves can be used as a bed for roasting meats, a wrapper for steaming or grilling fish, and inside the tamales’ wrapping to add taste.

They can also be dried and used in soups, stews, and mole sauces and to make salad dressings with a nutty hazelnut and robust anise flavor.

How to store them

Fresh

If you have a fresh one, it is best to store them in the fridge, wrapped in a damp paper towel. They will last for up to a week this way.

Dried

You can also dry and store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Dried will last for several months.

Cosmetics

They can also be used to make cosmetics. For example, you can make face mask by mashing some leaves and adding them to your favorite face mask recipe.

You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your favorite lotion or cream to boost its antioxidants.

Medicinals

They have been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

They are thought to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anticancer properties.

They can be made into a tea or taken internally from the extract. They can also be applied topically to the skin in a compress or ointment.

If you want to try them for medicinal purposes, you should speak to your doctor first.

Cooking

mexican black beans
Mexican black beans. Credit: canva

Mexican cooking

Avocado fruit is a crucial ingredient in Mexican cuisine. Many people are unaware that avocado leaves, or hojas de aguacate, are used to flavor food in Mexico’s Southern states, such as Oaxaca.

Harvested from native Mexican avocado (Persea drymifolia), the leaves, like bay leaves, may be used fresh or dried. They can also be broken up and/or used in ground form, like bay leaves. They’re utilized to season stews, soups, moles, tamales, and barbecued meat.

They are frequently used to flavor black beans in Oaxaca. The leaves may also be used like hoja santa leaves, as they are a wrapping material.

Toasted leaves are used in some recipes. They may be toasted by putting them on a hot griddle (comal) for about one minute on each side. They’re generally added toward the end of the cooking process.

Substitute

If you can’t find them, there are a few substitutes that you can use, usually aimed at duplicating the anise-like flavor. These include bay leaves, hoja santa leaves, and epazote.

Remember that each of these substitutes will have a different flavor profile, so adjust your recipe accordingly.

Recipes

Oaxacan black beans with avocado leaf

Ingredients

  • Cooking oil
  • 12 ounces dry black beans rinsed, soaked (optional), and drained
  • 18 sq. inches of an avocado leaf (or 1 rib of fresh fennel, diced)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • salt
  • 4 ounces chorizo sausage, casing removed (or Soyrizo, or chorizo chile and spice mixture)

Instructions

  1. If using a fresh leaf, toast it in a pan on the stove or a hot griddle.
  2. In a saucepan or Dutch oven, cook the onion in the oil over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add the beans, water, and diced fennel or the leaf to a saucepan. Bring to a boil while increasing the heat for two minutes.
  4. Turn down the heat, cover, and cook at a low simmer until the beans are tender.
  5. When the beans are about half to two-thirds done, add the salt, beginning with 2 tsp.
  6. In a small pan, cook the chorizo or Soyrizo, breaking it into small pieces until lightly browned. Set aside.
  7. Add the chorizo to the beans near the end of cooking and stir to combine. Before serving, remove the leaf.

Other recipes

Other popular recipes include:

  • Avocado Leaf Crusted Tuna Taquitos recipe
  • Avocado Leaf Salsa
  • Chicken Cooked in Avocado and Banana Leaves – Pílte de Pollo
  • Pork Barbacoa with Avocado Leaves

FAQs

Can you eat avocado leaves?

Yes, they are safe to eat. You can add them to your diet by brewing them into tea or using them to flavor soups and stews.

Can I boil avocado leaves?

Yes, boiling it is a common way to prepare them for use in recipes or for making tea.

Can avocado leaf cure high blood pressure?

No scientific evidence supports the claim that they can cure high blood pressure. However, some people believe that avocado leaves’ diuretic properties may help reduce blood pressure.

What are the brown spots on avocado leaves?

Anthracnose’s fungal disease usually causes brown spots. The best way to prevent this disease is to water the plants at the base and avoid getting the leaves wet.

If you notice brown spots, you can remove the affected leaves and dispose of them.

Where to buy avocado leaves?

You can find them at some specialty grocery stores or online.

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