Bay Leaves, Laurus nobilis


Latin name:      Laurus nobilis

English name:  Bay Laurel, Bay Tree, Roman Laurel, Sweet Bay

Sanskrit name:     Tamalapatra

Indian name: Tejpat

Medicinal parts used: Bark and Leaves

Bay leaves come from the evergreen Laurel tree. The leaves are waxy and oval-shaped. The flowers are greenish yellow in colour and grow in small umbrels. When dried, the bay leaf is a matte olive green. Warm and quite pungent when broken and the aromatic oils are released. It is lightly bitter and strongly aromatic.

The bay tree is indigenous to Asia Minor, from where it spread to the Mediterranean and then to other countries with similar climates.

Today, bay leaf is one of the most sought-after culinary spices. Also known as sweet laurel, bay leaves are used as flavouring and seasoning in soups, meat, stews, fish, sauces, pickles and in confectioneries. The bay leaves are usually dried and are used whole, crumbled or ground.

Therapeutic use:

  • In ayurvedic medicine, bay leaves are used in teas to help soothe respiratory problems and indigestion.
  • Bay leaf has many properties which make it useful for treating high blood sugar, migraine headaches, bacterial and fungal infections, and gastric ulcers.
  • Bay leaves and berries have been used for their astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic and stomachic properties.
  • Bay oil or oil of bays (Oleum Lauri) is used in liniments for bruising and sprains.
  • Bay leaf contains eugenol which has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
  • Bay leaf is also an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial.
  • Bay leaf has also been used to treat rheumatism, amenorrhea and colic.

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Jerry Arney on March 26, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    Very informative!


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