Bay leaves are immensely popular in India, and you may even find them in every kitchen and Indian cuisine. They are predominately used in cooking because its bitter and pungent flavor can add a kick to any dish.
Its distinctive taste is delicious when added to soups, curries, roasts and other savory dishes, but aside from being an addition to your favorite cuisine, it is also known for its myriad of health benefits.
Botanical Name and Family of Indian Bay Leaf
The scientific name of the Indian bay leaf is Cinnamomum tamala. It belongs to the Lauraceae or Laurel family and is closely related to avocados and Chinese cinnamon. Indian bay leaves have often been referred to as Indian Cassia, Tejpatta, Malabar leaf and Malabathrum.
What Is Indian Bay Leaf?
Indian bay leaf is the aromatic leaf obtained from a tree called Laurus Nobilis that grows widely in the Mediterranean area including China, Nepal, India and Bhutan. The leaves of this tree are used in cooking for their aromatic flavor and also used in traditional medicine for thousands of years.
The Salinan Indians used bay leaves to create a poultice to help stop seizures. Some tribes used bay leaves to relieve headaches by placing a bay leaf into their nostrils. Bay leaves were even used by the ancient Greeks to make wreaths for crowning heroes and notorious athletes.
Because of the bay leaf’s peppermint-like fragrance, early European settlers named the bay tree pepperwood. It was also used by hunters to help attract deer. Today, this herb has primarily been used as an ingredient in bay rum, soaps, cosmetics, detergents and as a prime ingredient in some medications.
Active Ingredients Found in Indian Bay Leaf
Bay leaves contain a volatile oil that is made up of the following active ingredients:
- Vitamin A
Health Benefits of Indian Bay Leaf
Indian bay leaves have been used to treat respiratory conditions such as cold, sinusitis and asthma. It is also considered a carminative to expel intestinal gas and used to treat gastritis and diarrhea.
Other benefits of Indian bay leaves include the following:
- Aid in weight loss
- Increase fertility
- Relieve muscle and joint pain
- Support the metabolism
- Expel toxins from the body
- Promote blood circulation
- Regulate blood pressure
- Reduce the risk of diabetes
- Promote healthy hair
Bay leaves also have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research shows that these leaves also have some anti-diabetic as well as anti-hyperlipidemia effect.
How to Use Indian Bay Leaf
Bay leaf infusion is easy to prepare by steeping 2-3 leaves in a cup of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Bay leaf essential oil is commercially available and may be massaged onto joints and muscles to reduce body pain.
Side Effects of Indian Bay Leaf
This herb is generally safe in the quantities that are commonly used in cooking. Even though this herb is considered safe, you should not consume bay leaves in conjunction with other medications. Always make sure to consult your doctor about the efficiency of this herb and the recommended dosing as well.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Bisht S, Sisodia SS. Assessment of antidiabetic potential of Cinnamomum tamala leaves extract in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Indian J Pharmacol. 2011 Sep-Oct; 43(5): 582–585. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.84977 PMCID: PMC3195132
Dhulasavant V, Shinde S, Pawar M, Naikwade NS. Antihyperlipidemic Activity of Cinnamomum tamala Nees. on High Cholesterol Diet Induced Hyperlipidemia. International Journal of PharmTech Research 2010 Oct-Dec; 2(4): 2517-2521