Indian Bay leaf

Indian Bay leaf

Indian Bay leaf classically referred in medieval terms as referred as Malobathrum or Malabar leaf, is the leaf of the plant Cinnamomum tamala  also called as as Cinnamomum tejpat.  This leaf is often confused with the leaf of Bay Laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus which also finds use in western foods. However  the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different and Indian Bay leaf is twice as long and wider than laurel leaves. They are usually olive green in color, may have some brownish spots and have three veins down the length of the leaf. They have strong and distinctive fragrance.

Medicinal Use:

  1. Mostly called as Tej Patta or bay leaf, it is used in cardiac diseases, inflammations, helminthiasis, dyspepsia, strangury, colic, hypertension, diarrhea, ophthalmia, spleen and liver.
  2. Bay leaves are known to have antioxidant properties that can help in conditions like diabetes, by enabling the body to process insulin efficiently.
  3.  It has antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties
  4. They contain some very valuable compounds, such as phytonutrients, caffeic acid, rutin, and salicylates, which promote cardiovascular health  maintaining the sugar level of blood, pulse rate and blood pressure.
  5.  Bay leaves are a rich source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, manganese, calcium, potassium and magnesium. As such, regular inclusion of bay leaves in meals promotes general heath and well-being improving the immune system of the body.
  6. Tej patta is used to treat infections of the respiratory and urinary tracts and bay leaf juice promote menstruation.
  7. The powder made from leaves is recommended for cough, flatulence, and dyspepsia.
  8. The leaf powder mixed with milk is used for fever, dyspepsia, and urinary diseases.
  9. The leaves and bark of bay leaf are used for treating rheumatism
  10. Bay leaf helps in the treatment of diabetes, migraine, gastric ulcers, abdominal pain, colic pain, bacterial and fungal infection as they contain enzymes that help to breakdown proteins and promote digestion of food.
  11. It is known to enhance fat metabolism and reduces ‘bad’ cholesterol and is, therefore, used in treating obesity.
  12. Bay leaf is known to provide resistance against different types of cancer.  One of the phytonutrients contained in bay leaves, known as parthenolide, has shown to specifically restrain the proliferation of cervical cancer cells.
  13. Herbal practitioners use bay leaves to help in regular menstruation,  and as an anecdote to poison in treating snakebite and insect stings.
  14. Placing a small bundle of bay leaves below your pillow while sleep can help cure dandruff as it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
  15. Some compounds present in bay leaves makes them an efficient herbal remedy for headaches and also proved to be useful in the treatment of migraines.

Bay leaf oil:

In India, the oil extracted from bay leaves is not only used in flavoring sweets and confectionery but also in the treatment of paralysis, muscle pain, arthritis and flu.In case of muscle soreness, apply the bay leaf oil on the affected area and massage for sometime to relive from soreness plus enhance the blood circulation too.

Interior deco use:

Place a jar filled with grains and bay leaf in the corner of room. It keep the bugs away the room and gives a pleasant odour to the room.

Culinary Use:
In Indian cooking, bay leaf is usually used as a whole dried leaf during the tampering of the famous Briyani with ghee for its distinctive flavor and aroma. Powder of roasted Bay leaves are added to the special Indian spice mix – Garam Masala which is a must in spicy gravies that go with poori, chapathi or parotta. The leaf is also used in tea preparation to have a strong spicy effect in tea to get rid of headache.