Do You Really Know About Tejpata (Bay Leaf)

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Main Name: Bay Leaf
Biological Name: Laurus nobilis
Names in Other Languages: Hoja de laurel (Spanish), Tej patta (Hindi), Punnai ilai (Tamil), Karuvaela (Malayalam), Masala Aku (Telugu), Tamal patra (Marathi), Tej pata (Bengali), Tamal patr (Gujarati), Tejpatra (Oriya), Tejpata, Tezpatta (Punjabi), Tez pat (Urdu)
For anyone who has a good knowledge of Mediterranean or South Asian cuisines, knows the importance of bay leaves in the food. It is quite surprising how a single ingredient can drastically change the flavor of the food. Bay leaf is one of the oldest spices used by mankind to add flavor and aroma to food. A native of Asia Minor, bay leaf has become an important part of regions spreading across France and Turkey to Far North America and India. It is a common fixture in European and North American dishes, such as soups, stews, meat, seafood and other vegetable dishes. Bay leaves serve as an important constituent in “garam masala”, a fine combination of different ground spices in India. Throughout history, bay leaf is known for its myriad culinary and medicinal properties. Read further through the following sections to know the marvelous benefits that bay leaf provides to your health with its distinctive flavor and fragrance.
Orientation of Bay leaves
Bay leaf is indigenous to Asia Minor, from where it spread to the Mediterranean region and other favorable countries. Bay leaf cannot survive in colder climates, which counts as one of the main reasons of it not being cultivated in northern regions. Turkey is one of the leading exporters of bay leaves, along with countries like France, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Colombia, Central America, North America and India. The laurel tree, from which the bay leaf is derived from, holds an important place both symbolically and literally in both Greece and Rome. The laurel tree is a symbol of honor in these cultures and is one of the central components in many ancient mythologies. Bay leaf has its wide use in culinary dishes in Europe and North America. There are different beliefs associated with the bay leaf. Some people belonging to the Elizabethan era believed that pinning bay leaves to one’s pillow on the eve of Saint Valentine’s Day can help them see their future spouse in their dreams.

Bay leaves contain notable plant-derived compounds, vitamins and minerals which offer a range of benefits. This herb was widely used by the Greeks and Romans who believed that it symbolizes wisdom, peace and protection. The various bay leaf health benefits are given below.

Health Benefits of bay Leaves :

1. Treatment of Diabetes:

Bay leaves have been found to be effective in treating type 2 diabetes as they cause reduction in blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. To get maximum results, these leaves can be powdered and consumed for 30 days. This will cause a drop in sugar levels in the body as well as regulate the functioning of your heart. This is because the antioxidants in bay leaf enable the body to process insulin more efficiently, thus making it a good choice for diabetics and people with insulin resistance.

2. Good for Digestion:

Bay leaves are good for promoting digestion and can treat digestive disorders such as heartburn and flatulence. Drinking a concoction of bay leaf tea with hot water can alleviate common digestive disorders like constipation, acid reflux and irregular bowel movements. It contains enzymes that enable the breakdown of proteins, thus making it an excellent spice for non-vegetarian diets. In case of indigestion and bloating, you can take 5 grams of bay leaves, add a piece of ginger and boil this in 200 mil of water till ¼ water remains. Add some honey and consume this twice a day for relief. It also acts as an appetite stimulant if you are recovering from illness.

3. Cardiovascular Benefits:

The powerful phytonutrients in bay leaf provide protection against cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and strokes. They contain valuable compounds such as rutin, salicylates, caffeic acid and phytonutrients which boost heart health and improve heart function. In case of heart disease and anxiety, boil 3 grams of bay leaves and 3-4 grams of wild rose flowers in 300 ml water till only 75 ml remains. Strain and drink this concoction for relief.

4. Treatment of Cold and Infection:

Bay leaves are effective in fighting the symptoms of cold, flu and infections. In case of respiratory problems, boil water and add 2 to 3 bay leaves. Allow it to steam for 10 minutes. Soak a cloth in this water and place it on your chest to alleviate flu, cold and cough. Bay leaf tea is effective in reducing fever. In case of repeated sneezing, boil some bay leaves in 200 ml water till ¼ remains. Strain and drink this concoction.

5. Relieves Pain:

The oil extracted from bay leaf has anti-inflammatory properties which can ease the pain resulting from sprains, strains, arthritis, rheumatism as well as general pains and aches. Massaging your temples with bay leaf oil helps to relieve migraines and headaches. It also boosts circulation and promotes a feeling of well-being. In case of joint pain, you can make a poultice of ground bay leaves and castor leaves, and tie it around the inflamed joints to reduce pain and swelling. In case of headache, you can boil a few bay leaves in water for a few minutes. Strain and drink this concoction while it is still hot. You can apply a paste of bay leaves on your forehead to get relief from severe headache.

6. Anti-cancer Properties:

Bay leaf contains caffeic acid, quercetin, euganol and catechins all of which possess chemo-protective properties which provide resistance against different types of cancer. They also contain a phytonutrient called parthenolide which has shown to specifically restrain the proliferation of cervical cancer cells.

7. Beneficial during Periconception Period:

Being rich in folic acid, bay leaves are extremely beneficial during the periconception period (3 months before and after pregnancy).By providing sufficient folic acid content to the child; they prevent birth defects in the child. These leaves also have the property of inducing pregnancy.

8. Treatment of Menstrual Problems:

Bay leaves, when taken orally, can induce regular and normal menstruation. They also have the property of curing vaginal discharge.

9. Treatment of Nosebleed:

In case of nosebleed, crush 2 to 3 fresh or dry bay leaves. Boil them in 200 ml water till 100 ml remains. Strain and drink this concoction for relief.

10. Treatment of Kidney Problems:

Bay leaves help in treating kidney infections and even kidney stones. For this purpose, boil 5 grams bay leaves in 200 ml water till 50 ml water remains. Strain and drink this twice daily. This will stop the formation of kidney stones.

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