The aromatic leaves of several plants mainly used in cooking carries different varieties such as Bay Laurel, California Bay Leaf, Indian Bay Leaf, Indonesian Bay Leaf, West Indian Bay Leaf and Mexican Bay Leaf. Of these Indian Bay leaf though similar in appearance to the bay laurel leaves, but differs in fragrance and it taste milder as cinnamon bark.
Bay Leaf- The Aromatic Leaf
Bay Leaf belongs to the family Lauraceae, in the genus of Laurus bearing the botanical name Laurus Nibilis. It is believed to be originated in the regions of Asia Minor and it is distributed to all over the Mediterranean region and other parts of Asia.
The Spicy Culinary Leaf
The pleasant and sweet whiff emitted by Bay leaves to the delicious dishes makes it an inevitable ingredient. It is usually utilized as a flavouring agent in the ancient cuisines of Greeks. Bay leaves are fixtures in European and American cuisines. They also flavoured classic French and Filipino dishes along with soups, stews, meat, seafood preparation, vegetable dishes and sauces.
The Thai cuisine employs bay leaf in Arabic dishes. In Indian and Pakistani cuisine, it is used in rice dishes like biriyani, ghee rice and it is one of the important ingredients of garam masala
Bay Leaf-The Healthy Herb
Greeks and Romans believed that Bay leaf symbolizes wisdom, peace and protection. It contained plant derived compounds, minerals and vitamins essential for health. It has volatile active components such as α-pinene, β-pinene, myrcene, limonene, linalool, methyl chavicol, neral, α-terpineol, geranyl acetate, eugenol, and chavicol which are antiseptic, antioxidant and digestive properties. It is a rich source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, Vitamin C, Folic Acid and Minerals
Bay Leaf- The Remedy
The bay leaf and its berries have astringent, diuretic and appetite stimulant properties. Essential oil extracted from bay leaves contains cineol, eugenol, chavicol, acetyl eugenol, methyl eugenol, α- and β-pinene, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol and terpineol and it is used for the treatment of arthritis, muscle pain, bronchitis and flu symptoms. The mixture of herb parts can soothe the stomach ulcers, relieve flatulence and colic pain. The lauric acid in the bay leaves is an excellent insect repellent.