Avocado Leaves: What You Need to Know

If you’re like most people, you probably think of avocados as a delicious fruit that can be enjoyed in various ways. But what you may not know is that avocado leaves also have some impressive health benefits.

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 of avocado leaves and discuss how to use them.

About Avocado Leaves

avocado leaves
Avocado leaves. Credit: canva

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.

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

Avocado leaves are available year-round. 

Taste

Avocado leaves 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 or anise and bay leaves. Traditionally, avocado leaves are toasted before use, which releases a nutty aroma and a hint of licorice flavor.

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

In tea, avocado leaves remind us of a mild green or black tea.

Nutritional facts

Avocado leaves are a good source of vitamins A, C, and E. They also contain B-vitamins, potassium, magnesium, and iron.

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

Avocado leaves 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.

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

What Are the Benefits of Avocado Leaf?

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

Health Benefits

Avocado leaves are thought to have several health benefits. Some of these potential benefits include:

Reducing inflammation

Avocado leaves 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 present in avocado leaves 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 of salt to every three cups of tea.

Antioxidants

Avocado leaves 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 present in avocado leaves may also help reduce the risk of heart disease by preventing cholesterol from oxidizing.

Lower blood pressure

The magnesium and antioxidants present in avocado leaves can help to relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from hypertension.

In addition, the potassium in avocado leaves can also help to regulate blood pressure.

Brew yourself avocado tea three times or more per week for best results.

Treat diarrhea

Avocado leaves 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 with avocado leaves, brew a tea using two or three leaves and drink it three times per day.

Treatment for kidney stones

Avocado leaves 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 an avocado leaf 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.

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

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

Skin wound healing

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

In addition, the antioxidants present in avocado leaves can help to protect the wound from infection.

To use avocado leaves 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 of Avocado Leaves?

Avocado leaves 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 to avocado leaves. If you experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction after consuming avocado leaves, 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

Avocado leaves may interact with certain medications. If you are taking any medication, it’s best to speak to your doctor before consuming avocado leaves.

The quercetin present in avocado leaves can interact with blood-thinners like warfarin. Quercetin can also interact with certain chemotherapy drugs.

Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid consuming avocado leaves. This is because there is not enough 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 who consume large amounts of avocado leaves. 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 is Avocado Leaves Good for?

avocado leaf tea
Avocado leaf tea. Credit: canva

There are several ways that you can use avocado leaves.

One way is to make avocado leaf tea. You can also add avocado leaves to soups, stews, and other dishes.

Avocado tea

Making this is very simple.

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

Dry avocado 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.

Avocado leaves for cooking

Avocado leaves, both fresh and dried, 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 of avocado 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, as well as being utilized to make salad dressings with a nutty hazelnut and robust anise flavor.

How to store them

Fresh avocado leaves

If you have fresh avocado leaves, 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 avocado leaves

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

Cosmetics

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

You can also add a few drops of avocado leaf essential oil to your favorite lotion or cream to give it a boost of antioxidants.

Medicinals

Avocado leaves have been used for centuries in traditional medicine.

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

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

If you are interested in trying avocado leaves for medicinal purposes, it’s best to speak to your doctor first.

Cooking with Avocado Leaves

mexican black beans
Mexican black beans. Credit: canva

Mexican cooking

Avocado fruit is a key 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, much 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 avocado 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 towards the end of the cooking process.

Substitute for avocado leaves

If you can’t find avocado leaves, 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.

Keep in mind 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 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 avocado 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 avocado 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 avocado leaf.

Other recipes

Other popular recipes using avocado leaves 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, avocado leaves are safe to eat. You can add them to your diet by brewing them into a tea or using them to flavor soups and stews.

Can I boil avocado leaves?

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

Can avocado leaf cure high blood pressure?

There is no scientific evidence to support the claim that avocado leaves can cure high blood pressure. However, some people believe that the diuretic properties of avocado leaves may help to reduce blood pressure.

What are brown spots on avocado leaves?

Anthracnose’s fungal disease usually causes brown spots on avocado leaves. 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 avocado leaves at some specialty grocery stores or online.