Can Bearded Dragons Eat Bay Leaves? (Get Stuck?)
While you are evaluating the best foods for your Beardie (Click here to learn, from this guide, how to avoid some big mistakes that some Bearded Dragon owners make) you may have wondered if Bay leaves are ok.
Can Bearded Dragons eat bay leaves? No, it is not a good idea to feed your Bearded Dragon bay leaves. This is because they do not get digested and may be painful for your Beardie to swallow. Bay leaves are mainly used for flavoring in cooking and removed before serving.
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Now that you know that they are not a good idea, keep reading to learn other potential health risks, some known benefits, if they are a good idea for baby beardies, and much more.
What are bay leaves?
Before we delve into the nutritional content of bay leaves, etc. It’s worth making sure we are on the same page. Therefore, in this section, I will explain what they are, what they are typically used for, the various varieties, etc.
According to Wikipedia, it is an aromatic leaf. It is typically used in cooking, but it is also be used as a medicine (more on this later). It is used as is, or dried and ground down. Also, the oil of the bay leaf is extracted and used in various ways.
One of the biggest reasons why bay leaves are used in cooking is because of its distinct aroma and flavor. In fact, it is often put into ingredients to capture the flavor, then removed before serving, to avoid the chance of people eating the actual leaves.
There are various varieties of bay leaves to consider, such as:
- Bay laurel
- California bay leaf
- Indian bay leaf
- Indonesian bay leaf
- West Indian bay leaf
- Mexican bay leaf
This variation is used in various recipes such as soups and stews. Initially, while the leaves are fresh, they are quite mild. But in time, after a few weeks or so, they gain their flavor.
California bay leaf
Known as the Oregan myrtle as well as the pepperwood and known to have a very distinct and strong flavor.
Indian bay leaf
The leaves of this variety are shorter than the others. And, is known to have a flavor similar to cinnamon.
Indonesian bay leaf
This variation is different from the others because it is very rarely found outside of Indonesia. And is known to be used in meats to enhance their flavor.
West Indian bay leaf
This bay leaf is from West Indian bay leaf and used in food as well as a locally famous product called bay rum. This product is typically used on the skin for a variety of ailments, such as bad colds or the flu. I remember this being used on me as a child along with other cold remedies.
What is the nutritional content of bay leaves?
Before you can really conclude if Bay leaves are good for your Beardie, you need to understand their nutritional content. In the table below I have listed their content for you.
Source: Wikipedia (per 100g)
Are there any known health benefits?
Now that you know what the nutritional content of bay leaves is now, you may be wondering if it has any other known health benefits, right? For that reason, in this section, I will provide some detail about this.
Enhancing the taste
As discussed earlier, The bay leaf is known to enhance the taste of food. I understand that is not a health benefit, strictly speaking. But, I figured its worth including it here because it is a benefit.
Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities
According to this site, these bay leaves have Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. This may not mean much to you right now, but let me explain.
What is an antimicrobial? in the simplest terms, it’s an agent that kills microorganisms. There are different types, depending on which microorganism they attack. For example, antibiotics are used against bacteria.
What is an antioxidant? To answer this the easiest way, it’s a compound that stops oxidation. This is good news because oxidation is a chemical reaction, that in turn, which produces free radicals. These free radicals affect our cells.
The leaves and oils are used in medicines
Earlier, I mentioned that the bay leaves are sometimes used in medicine, remember? Well, according to WebMD, they are used in an attempt to help with a lot of known diseases. However, there is no hard evidence that they work. This includes the following:
- Stimulating bile flow.
- Causing sweating.
- Dandruff, when applied to the skin.
- Joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), when applied to the skin.
- Boils, when applied to the skin.
- and other conditions.
Except for diabetes, which earlier results seem to suggest that it can, with a combination of other diabetes medicine, potentially lower the pre-meal blood sugar levels. The other listed diseases have not had any proven evidence to suggest they work.
In general, regarding Bearded Dragons, there is no hard evidence to prove that Bay leaves have any real health benefits. In reality, it is mainly used by humans for enhancing the flavor and taste of our food. Which, is not something your Bearded Dragon is concerned with.
Are there any negatives or known health risks?
Now that you know about the nutritional content, any known health risks, etc. You may be keen to know if there are any known health risks or negatives in general. For that reason, in this section, I will explain this.
Should not be consumed whole
According to WebMD, the bay leaf itself should not be consumed whole. This is because we cannot digest it. Not only will it be potentially painful to go down, but it could also tear your internal intestines. There is no specific studies, that I know of for Bearded Dragons. But, based on this info alone, it’s not a chance I would be willing to take.
Some people may have allergic reactions
Although it may be rare, there are some cases of people that have allergic reactions to the bay leaf, when it makes contact with their skin. So, as a Bearded Dragon owner, for some people, they would not be advised to even handle it.
Obviously, this is an issue not limited to bay leaves. Allergies can be triggered by nearly any food, it just depends on the individual.
May slow down the Central Nervous System (CNS)
During surgery, for us humans, it is known that bay leaves, especially when combined with other medication in surgery, such as anesthesia & other medicine, can slow down the CNS.
What is CNS? This controls most of your bodily functions. And has two main parts, your brain, and the spinal cord.
Obviously, this is really applicable to us humans, but worth knowing, when evaluating all the known effects.
Should you feed your Bearded Dragon bay leaves?
Now that you understand the nutritional content, health benefits, and potential risks, you may still be wondering if you should be feeding these leaves to your Beardie.
To be direct, no, you should not feed bay leaves to your Beardie. Because of the sheer fact that it could get stuck and not digested is enough for me to say this. Also, when you look at all the other foods available, why take the risk?
Should you feed your baby Bearded Dragon bay leaves?
When it comes to baby Beardies, is it the same policy? You may be wondering if they should be fed bay leaves as well, right?
In my opinion, no, you shouldn’t feed your baby Bearded Dragon bay leaves. This is because babies are more fragile than adults, and they are at more of a risk than them. So, for the same reasons, you should avoid it.
In this section, I will answer some questions related to the food and behavior of Bearded Dragons. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me.
Q: Can Bearded Dragons eat other plant-based food sources?
Yes, Bearded can eat other plant-based food sources. In fact, especially the adults, consume a lot of plant-based food sources including kale, spinach, etc.
There other flowers that some owners feed them as well, such as rose petals (Click here to see some of the risks associated with feeding them this). And, of course, they do eat insects (Click here to see why ants should be avoided) as well.
Q: Can you hand-feed your Beardie?
Yes, you can hand-feed your Beardie. Initially, they may need to get used to you, but with time Bearded Dragons get used to human contact (Click here to see if they actually enjoy the contact). When they are new to you, for example, when you just get one, you may need to wait a few weeks for him to fully adjust.