Dried bay leaves, a pungent seasoning in cookery with medicinal properties, spilling out of a glass container

#Gastronomy101: The Bayleaf Explained

In India, spices are very popular with immense healing benefits in it. In every kitchen, you will find varieties of spices used to cook food. Addition of these makes your food much tastier, spicy and filled with aroma.

But, as we know; excess of everything is bad; same case relies upon spices too. Those who are habituated to spicy and hot foods gets easily engaged by ailments related to digestive system and many more. In the limited quantity, spices are like medicines and its overdose can even make you ill.

Shrub tree of bay leaves
Bay leaf tree

Spices are either obtained from bark, roots, stem, leaves, fruits or any other parts of the plant. Let’s talk about the properties, naming, uses and medicinal properties of one of the widely used spice called ‘Bay leaf’.

Bay leaf is obtained from a wild plant which is found in warm and temperate Himalayan regions up to heights of 3000 to 6000 ft. It’s an evergreen tree or long shrub with glossy leaves native to the Mediterranean region.

Ripe and green bay leaves ontree
Ripe bay leaves

The leaves have distinctive aromatic fragrance which is used in cooking food; to provide it different flavour. It is used in green or dried form. The tree can vary in height as 33-59 ft tall. It bears flowers which are pale yellow in colour and in pairs.

Bay leaf belongs to kingdom Plantae and ‘Lauraceae’ family. Its binomial name is “Laurusnobilis”. It is also called Tejpat or Tejpatta in Hindi. In Sanskrit, its is called Tamalpatra.

The leaves contain a volatile oil which mainly contain eugenol in it. It also contains tarpine, cinnamic aldehide, phellandrene, geraniol, cineole etc in it. It is light, bitter, sharp, sweet and warm in nature.

Uses of Bayleaf

Dried bay leaves in a container
Dried bay leaves

There are multiple option to use bay leaves. If you are going to cook some spicy and hot food then few leaves will be the best in it. It will enhance the taste and fragrance 2 times more than usual taste.

  • In case of steamed foods, bay leaves can be used for an aromatic fragrance and taste.
  • You can use it in slow cooking meals.
  • In case of biryanis, pulav or fried rice; a tint of bay leaf is the best. Try it once and blow the lingering fragrance of food stuffs.

Medicinal Benefits of Bayleaf

Nature has offered us this plant; then there must be some medicinal properties in it. Here, we will discuss about some of the healing properties of bay leaves. So, lets proceed-

1. Seasonal Flu

In case of cough and cold, make an herbal tea using bay leaves, ginger and a spoonful of honey and give this to the patient. Grind 5 gm of its bark with 5 gm small pepper and give this to the patient with 2 teaspoon of honey. It is very helpful to cure dripping nose, sneezing, burning sensation etc.

2. Flatulence

In case of flatulence, give the decoction of bay leaves to the patient. It cures excessive sweating and gives relief in swelling of stomach due to intestinal infections and runny tummy.

3. Headaches

Grind 10 gm of bay leaves with water and apply the paste on forehead. It is beneficial to cure headache due to heat or chill. As the headache gets cured, remove the paste and rinse with water.

4. Respiratory Disorders

In case of any kind of respiratory ailment like asthma or bronchitis take 2-2 gm of powdered bay leaf and pepal leaf with ginger jam. Give this to the patient twice a day. It is a natural cure without any side-effect.

5. Head Lice

In case of dandruff or head lice take 5-6 bay leaves and boil it in a glass of water till water gets reduced to half. Massage you hair and scalp with this water and wash the hair after an hour. Bay leaves are also a kind of insect repellent.

About Indianspice Staff Reporter

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