Bay Leaves, Tej Patta, Brinji Illai, Biriyani Leaves,
Bay leaf is an important spice which is also known as "Tej-patta” in India. As name suggest, bay leaves are the dried aromatic leaves from the "Bay Laurel tree”, which are oval in shape and pointed at the tip with smooth edge. Bay leaves impart a lovely flavour to the food in which they are cooked. Bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavour and fragrance, which has a strong pungent smell and are sharp-bitter in taste. These are widely used in cooking throughout the world. Bay leaves are most commonly used in Indian and Pakistani cuisines. Bay leaves are also used as a fixture in the cooking of many European cuisines as well as those from North America. Bay leaves releases their flavor in slow cooking recipes such as meat, chicken, Biryani and other hot-spicy dishes. Bay leaves are used as a whole or in powdered form. Whole leaves are often used in slow cooking dishes and crushed or ground leaves can be used for extra strength. Powdered Indian bay leaves are main ingredients in the Indian spice mixture "garam masala” and are used for cooking varieties of tasty dishes like Korma and curries. The bay leaves are frequently used to flavor soups, stews meat, sea foods and vegetable dishes in Mediterranean cuisine. They are also useful in adding flavor to vegetables, fishes, seafood or chickens when cooked in steam. Bay leaf is also often included as a pickling spice. Many essential oils used in perfumery are extracted from the bay leaf. It has also a great medicinal value and used in home remedies.
Medicinal uses of Bay leaves(Tej Patta,Brinji Illai):
• Bay leaves are useful in the treatment for 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 leaf is also an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial and has also been used to treat rheumatism, amenorrhea and colic.
How to use Bay leaves in Indian cooking ?
Bay leaves are most often used as a whole in cooking indian dishes and removed just before serving. Bay leaves can also be crushed or ground depending upon the recipe taste and flavor.
Other names of bay leaves are: Indian bay leaf, Tamaalpatra, Tejpatt, tejpat, tejpata, Tamalpatrar, Biryani Aaku, Punnai ilai, Echter Lorbeer, Apollo’s Bay Leaf, Bay Laurel, sweet Laurel, Lorbeerblatten.
Medicinally, the leaves of the Laurus Nobilis tree, also known as Sweet Laurel, have been used since the ancient times to treat problems associated with the liver, stomach and kidney. They were also used for treating bee and wasp stings. Nowadays, herbalists use bay leaves for treating various health complaints. Here are some ways in which bay leaves are used today:
· Coughs & Colds
· Placing a cloth soaked in water in which bay leaves have been boiled provides relief from cough, cold, bronchitis and chest infections.
· Aches & Pains
· Essential Oil of bay leaf is massaged on sprained areas and for relieving headaches. The oil also provides relief from swellings, rheumatic and arthritic pain.
· Bay leaves infusion promotes sweating, breaking fever, and flu symptoms.
· Bay leaves are used for treatment of digestive disorders. They reduce flatulence.
· Diabetes - A study was conducted by the Department of Human Nutrition, Pakistan, to test the effect of bay leaf on type 2 diabetes. Fourty people with type 2 diabetes were chosen for the study. They were divided into four groups and each group was given different quantities of bay leaf. At the end of the 30-day study, it was observed that all the subjects showed a marked increase in serum glucose. The conclusion was that using bay leaf reduces risk of cardiovascular diseases and Type 2 diabetes.