Health Benefits of TejPat

Bay Leaves

DESCRIPTION

Indian Cassia also known as Tejpat (Cinnamomum Tamala) is a small to moderately sized ever green tree. The leaves of this tree is the spice having clove like taste and a faintly pepper like odour. The tree has height up to 7.5 mtr with zigzag branching, trunk up to 95 cm girth, bark rough, dark grey to reddish brown in colour.

ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION

Cinnamomoum tamala is mostly occurring in the tropical and sub-tropical Himalayas extending to North East India up to an altitude of 2000 meters MSL. It also grows in Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The leaves are harvested when the tree attains an age of 10 years which continue for a century. Mature leaves are collected during October to March.

USES

The leaf is mainly used for flavouring food. It is widely used in pharmaceutical preparations because of its hypoglycemic, stimulant and carminative properties. It is also used in Indian system of traditional medicines.

Health Benefits:

Cardiovascular Health:

Bay leaves improve our cardiovascular health as they contain antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and other relevant compounds that protect our cardiovascular system from free radical damage. Bay leaves contain potassium that provides relief from hypertension and reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems.

Caffeic acid and Rutin in the bay leaves also play an important role in enhancing our heart health. Rutin strengthens capillary walls in the heart and the body’s extremities, while caffeic acid can help eliminate LDL or bad cholesterol from the cardiovascular system. Other nutrients like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins, etc in bay leaves also play an important role in improving our cardiovascular health.

Also read about Garlic, FenugreekCumin SeedsCorianderClovesCinnamonBlack PepperBay LeavesBasilAsafoetida which are also known to aid our heart health.

Antioxidant:

Bay leaves are an abundant source of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin A, and other antioxidant compounds like tannins, and flavonoids, etc. These compounds protect our cells from free radical damage and reduce the risk of several cancers such as colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, abdominal cancer, lung cancer, and intestinal cancer, etc. Free radicals are unstabilized ions that stabilize by stealing electrons from the neighboring molecules, and doing so causes oxidative damage to them.

Black PepperCurry LeavesCumin Seedscoriandercinnamonchiliescardamomaniseeds, Fenugreek are some of the other commonly used spices known for antioxidant benefits.

Digestion and Weight Loss:

The richness of volatile compounds in bay leaves treats upset stomach and also helps to soothe Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Bay leaves may also be helpful in treating flatulence, Constipation and Diarrhoea. The antimicrobial properties of bay leaves protects our digestive system from bacterial and fungal infections, and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers.

Bay leaves promote weight loss as it improves our metabolism, and accelerate the rate at which our body burns stored fats.

Besides these, it also functions as a natural Diuretic and increases urine output.

Also read about the benefits of other commonly used spices like MintGingerFenugreekFennelCurry LeavesCumin SeedsCorianderCinnamonCardamomBlack Pepper, Bay Leaves, Basil, Asafoetida, and  Aniseeds, on our digestion and metabolism.

Also read Diet and Weight Loss for food that may aid weight loss.

Aids in Managing Diabetes:

Bay leaves help to control Blood Sugar levels within the body. A study suggests that consumption of bay leaves, 1 to 3 g/d for 30 days, decreases risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases and suggests that bay leaves may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.

In another study it was demonstrated that, bay leaves reduced serum glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased HDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Additional studies are needed to confirm these results and also to identify the active components.

Some of the other spices which may be helpful to control diabetes are GarlicFenugreekCurry LeavesCumin SeedsCorianderClovesBlack Pepper, Bay LeavesBasil.

May Aid Memory:

In a recent study researchers exposed rats to bay leaf smoke for 5 minutes in a smoking chamber apparatus once per day for 22 days. They found that it aided in memory formation and improved cognitive deficits.

While animal studies aren’t always applicable to humans, they can offer insight that may lead to human studies.

Some other commonly used spices known to aid memory are Fenugreek, Black Pepper, Mint, Ginger, CuminsCinnamon, and Chilies.

Also read Food for brain Health.

Reduce Stress and Anxiety:

Linalool, a noncyclic monoterpenoid present in the bay leaves reduces stress hormones in the body and is used in aromatherapy. A study demonstrated that CT at 400 mg/kg possesses significant anxiolytic, antidepressant, and anti-stress effects and is therapeutically beneficial for the management of psychological ailments.

Mint, ClovesCardamomBay LeafBasilAsafoetidaCinnamon are also known to help manage stress.

Anti-Inflammatory:

One of the most important benefits of bay leaf is its ability to reduce inflammation throughout the body. Bay leaves contain several anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C, vitamin A, Parthenolide, and dietary fibers, etc. These compounds provide relief from the pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, rheumatism, rheumatoid, gouts, asthma, and bronchial asthma. 

Bay leaves can quickly reduce inflammation and irritation when topically applied to affected areas, such as sore joints or areas affected by arthritis.

Also read about ClovesCurry Leavesfennelcumin seedscinnamonchiliescardamomBlack Pepper, basil for their anti-inflammatory benefits.

Bay Leaf Plant

Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Fungal:

Bay leaves have been found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.Bay leaves inhibit the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria behind Staph infections) and E. Coli. An early lab study also shows that bay leaves fight off H. Pylori, a bacteria that causes ulcers and even cancer. 

The antifungal properties of bay leaf fight against fungal infections especially against Candida infection.

Garlic, Curry LeavesCumin SeedscorianderClovesCinnamonChiliesBasilAniseeds are some other commonly used spices with antibacterial or antimicrobial properties.

Help Respiratory Conditions:

Bay leaves help reduce lug inflammation and protect against asthma and bronchial asthma. Bay leaves improve our respiratory health due to the abundance of essential nutrients in them. Bay leaves essential oil is often used in aromatherapy for loosening up phlegm and eliminating dangerous pathogens trapped in the respiratory tract.

Other commonly used home remedies which can help the symptoms of respiratory health and asthma are MintGingerGarlicCurry LeavesCorianderCloves, CinnamonChiliesCardamomBlack PepperBay LeavesBasilAsafoetidaAniseeds.

Protect Against Kidney Stones:

In a study 20 traditional medicinal plants were examined and evaluated against urease activity to obtain natural sources of urease inhibitors. Eight of the whole 20 studied plants crude extracts, including Bay Leaves, were found the most effective, from which most potent urease inhibitory was observed. Urease activity will lead to kidney stones formation. The study found that, along with other traditional medicinal herbs, bay leaf was able to reduce the amount of urease in your body.

Urease is an enzyme that, when out of balance, can lead several gastric disorders, including kidney stones.

Fenugreek is also known to protect against kidney stones.

Promotes Skin Health:

Antioxidants can help to soothe the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and even add elasticity to the skin. When topically rubbed on the skin, bay leaves are known to have healing properties. Bay leaves promote the quick healing of wounds and injuries.

The antimicrobial properties of bay leaves protect wounds and injuries from bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Anti-inflammatory compounds like vitamin C and dietary fibers in bay leaves reduce pain and inflammation caused by the injury. Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins in bay leaves also play a significant role in keeping our eyes healthy.

Some of the other commonly used spices that are beneficial to skin are Fenugreek, Curry Leaves, CinnamonChiliesBlack PepperBasil etc.

Reduces Hairfall:

Beta-carotene and protein in bay leaves strengthen our hair and reduces hair fall risk. Other vitamins and minerals like zinc, potassium, magnesium, and B vitamins etc. present in bay leaves also play an important role in controlling hair fall. Bay leaves protect our hair from premature greying of hair.

FenugreekCurry LeavesClovesCinnamonChiliesBay Leaves are also beneficial for hair and dandruff.

Word of caution:

Although Bay Leaves provide many health benefits, there are few points of concern. Avoid Bay Leaves if you are allergic to them. Ensure that you consume true bay leaves derived from the laurel tree and not other varieties as they may be toxic. Consult your doctor before consuming bay leaves to ensure there is no food-drug interference.

This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.

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About Sanjay Pandita 73 Articles
Sanjay Pandita is an alumni of REC (NIT) Srinagar and has a great interest in travelling and food. He has a keen interest in trying different cuisine and writes about food and health. Here he brings authentic cuisine from Kashmir and other regions. You may also contact him for Web Development, SEO and Writing projects.

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