Bay leaves are not poisonous and other myth busters

Written by:

I grew up in a house where the aroma of simmering homemade spaghetti sauce often wafted through the air. As our large, Italian family gathered around the table, one of us kids usually wound up getting a bay leaf in his or her serving. Our mother would instruct us to pull it out and set it aside. She said eating bay leaves would be poisonous. It was only safe to use to flavor the sauce. My entire life, I believed this and taught it to my own children. My eldest daughter, who is now 38, and I have a great laugh every time one of us makes sauce and adds a bay leaf. Why? Because several years ago, we learned that they are not poisonous at all!

We wonder how far back in our ancestry the myth could be traced. Who was the first woman in the kitchen who told her kids never to eat the bay leaf out of the sauce? As it turns out, there are other myths from childhood that have also proven to be false. This post is all in good fun, and we’d love to hear about things that you grew up being told by the older women in your family, that you later learned were untrue. But, first, back to bay leaves for a moment.

If you eat bay leaves, make sure they are cooked long to soften them

While I’m not sure where the idea of bay leaves being poisonous arose, there are, in fact, certain potential hazards from eating them, including those listed below:

  • They are rough in texture, which poses a choking hazard.
  • Because they are tough to chew, they can get lodged in your intestines.
  • If you consume too many bay leaves, it can have a sedative effect.

On the bright side, steeping bay leaves in water and drinking it is said to have a powerful antioxidant effect, which can strengthen the immune system. Many people prefer the dried leaves over fresh, which tend to have a bitter taste.

It’s not illegal to drive with your dome light on

As for childhood myth #2 that turned out to be blatantly false, lol, it’s not illegal to drive with your interior car light in use. I actually can’t recall where I learned this myth for the first time, but it’s something I told my kids because I had always believed it. Okay, so, just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD, right? Using interior dome lights while driving can impair visibility on the road, which increases the risk for collision.

Also, while it’s not illegal to use interior dome lights while driving, it might make a police officer suspect you of distracted driving. What is the reason your light is on? Were you taking your eyes off the road to look for something that fell on the floor? To avoid getting stopped for suspected distracted driving, it is best to pull over and stop before using your dome lights.

Sitting on cold cement does not cause hemorrhoids

That brings us to childhood myth #3, which is that sitting on cold cement will cause hemorrhoids. Nope. Not true. In fact, studies show that the opposite is true. By sitting on a cold surface, the veins in the anal area contract. Cold makes things contract. Heat makes things expand. If you sit on a chair all day or spend a long time on the toilet, THIS can cause hemorrhoids. However, have at it, if you want to sit on cold concrete! It is another myth that many kids are taught that simply isn’t true.

We are bursting the bubble on several more childhood myths

How many of the things shown in the following list were you told when you were a kid:

  • If you go outside in the cold without a coat, you’ll get sick.
  • Going outside with wet hair and no hat will cause you to catch a cold.
  • Staying outdoors in cold weather too long will cause sickness.

NONE of these things are true! The only way that you can catch a cold or illness, such as the flu, is from a virus or bacterial infection. Being outside in the cold, not wearing a hat or coat or having wet hair in cold weather does not cause virus or bacterial illness. Yet, how many times do you remember your mother or grandma saying, ”Where’s your coat? You’ll catch a cold if you go out like that!”? Have you made the mistake of teaching this myth to your kids?

How old were you when you learned that these myths were not true? What other funny things were you taught as a child that have no scientific basis or proof, whatsoever? Give us a laugh by sharing them in the comments under this post on our Facebook page!

Share THis