Bay Leaf is called Indian Bay Leaf, Tamala Cassia, Indian Cassia Bark, Indian Cassia or Malabar Leaf. In India it is called TejPatta in Hindi. It is a three veined tough, smooth, pointed and elliptical leaf obtained from an evergreen tree in moderate size. It has a slightly mild flavor but very similar to the bark of cinnamon tree. Whole fresh leaves, dried leaves or powdered leaves are used. From the leaves, oil is extracted for treating various illnesses. During ancient times in Rome and Greece, wreaths were made from woven bay leaves for crowning athletes, poets and kings.
Culinary And Other Uses
In Bhutan, Nepal and India bay leaf is extensively used. It is used for making perfumes and in cooking in India. To make korma and biryani in Moghlai and Kashmiri cuisine, it is an indispensible spice. In Bhutan a herbal tea is made by boiling the leaves. It imparts a distinctive aroma and flavor to food. Flu, arthritis, pain in the muscles and paralysis is treated with bay leaf oil. The oil is easily available in many of the grocery shops in Asian countries. The oil extracted from the leaf is useful in treating pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraine, fungal infections, gastric ulcers, colic pain, bacterial infection and pain in the abdomen. Pulse rate and blood sugar levels are also maintained with intake of bay leaf oil. It helps improve the body’s immune system. To remove poison it works excellently as an antidote.
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Bay Leaf Oil Properties
Bay leaf is known to have astringent, antibacterial, diuretic, anti fungal, diaphoretic, carminative and anti inflammatory properties. Steam distillation process is used to bay leaf oil extract. Constituents of the oil include neral, alpha pinene, myrcene, alpha terpineol, methyl chavicol, beta pinene, linalool, geranyl acetate, limonene and eugenol. It is enriched with magnesium, vitamin C, zinc, copper, selenium, potassium, iron, manganese and calcium. Research conducted on it the modern times indicates that it is good in heart disease and diabetes treatment. Bay leaf oil contains certain enzymes that can assist in protein breakdown and thus promote better digestion activity. Cancer can be prevented due to the compounds contained in it. Functioning of the heart can be improved with the phytonutrient content in the oil. Antioxidants present in it help in insulin absorption.
Diabetes And Heart Disease
Bay leaf could be confused with another type of leaf called Bay Laurel leaf so it is important you know the difference. If bay leaf oil is consumed for around 30 days then it could reduce levels of glucose plasma and thus treat diabetes in patients. Total levels of dangerous triglycerides and bad cholesterol also drop with proper intake of bay leaf oil. Strokes, heart attacks and other common complications of the heart get reduced with bay leaf oil intake. Research has proved that it contains quercetin a compound having properties to fight cancer. Due to its astringent and analgesic properties it provides relief from neuralgia pain. As an antispasmodic it helps treat convulsions, cramps, nervous afflictions, coughs, diarrhea and aches. It also helps improve appetite and removes pain caused due to sprain, viral infections, influenza, cold and cough.