Medicinal uses of bay leaves

Bay leaf is known as Tejpatta in Hindi. It is the dried mature leaf of an evergreen tree and is present in every Indian kitchen as a spice. Few Bay leaves are added to pulao, biryani, curries, and soups due to their strong flavor, aroma and taste. It also used for medicinal purpose either used alone or in combination with other ingredients. Bay leaf has aromatic, astringent, stimulant and carminative qualities and used in cold, cough, asthma, low appetite, rheumatism, colic, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.


General Information

Cinnamomum tamala (Talisha Pattri or Tejpatta) is a medium sized evergreen tree 2-10 m tall, found wild in the tropical and subtropical Himalayas at altitudes of 900-2500m, the Khasi hills, the Nilgiri hills and at the foot of the Sikkim Himalayas. Its few common names are Indian Cassia, Tamala cassia, Tejpat, Tvakpatra, Tamalpatra, and Bay leaf.

Scientific Classification

Cinnamomum tamala (Buch.-Ham.) Nees & Eberm. syn. Laurus tamala Buch.- Ham., belongs to family Lauraceaewhich is an economically important plant family consisting mostly of trees or tree-like shrubs. The genus Cinnamomum is represented by about 350 species worldwide.

  • Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  • Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  • Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  • Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  • Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  • Subclass: Magnoliidae
  • Order: Laurales
  • Family: Lauraceae – Laurel family
  • Genus: Cinnamomum Schaeff. – cinnamon
  • Species: Cinnamomum tamala (Buch.-Ham.) T. Nees & Eberm.

Description of Leaf

Leaves-12.5-20 cm long, 5-7.5 cm wide at the centre, 3 converging nerves from base to apex young leaves pink, petiole 7.5-13 mm long, margin entire, apex acute or accuminate, both surfaces smooth, stomata paracytic odour, aromatic, taste, slightly sweet, mucilaginous and aromatic.

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: mainly leaves

Plant type: tree

Distribution: South-east Asia, some Pacific Islands and Australia, growing mainly in tropical rain forests at varying altitudes.

Vernacular names/Synonyms

  1. Latin name: Cinnamomum tamala Synonym Laurus tamala
  2. Sanskrit: Tejapatra, Patra, Patraka, Utkat, Tamaalpatra, Naalukaa, Naalikaa, Tvakpatra, Patra, Varanga
  3. Hindi: Tejpat
  4. English: Indian Cassia, Lignea, Indian Cinnamon
  5. Trade name: Tamalpatra
  6. Assamese: Tejpat, Mahpat
  7. Bengali: Tejpatra, Tejpata
  8. Gujrati: Tamala patra, Develee
  9. Kannada: Tamalapatra, Dalchini Ele
  10. Kashmiri: Dalchini pan, Tajpatra
  11. Malayalam: Karuvapatta patram
  12. Marathi: Tamalpatra
  13. Oriya: Tejapatra
  14. Punjabi: Tajpater
  15. Tamil: Lavangapatri
  16. Telugu: Akupatri
  17. Urdu: Tezpat
  18. Unani: Saleekhaa, Saazaj Hindi Also equated with Zarnab/Telispattar

Dosage of Bay leaf/ Tejpatta for Therapeutic Purpose

  1. For adult: 1-3 grams
  2. 5-16 years: ½ adult usage levels.
  3. 1-5 years: ¼ adult usage levels.

Composition of Bay leaf

  1. Protein 7.6 %
  2. Fat: 8.8 %
  3. Fibre: 25.2 %
  4. Carbohydrate: 50.2 %
  5. Calcium: 1 %
  6. Ascorbic acid / Vitamin C: 46 mg/100mg

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Bay Leaf

  1. Tvakpatra / Tejptra is used in Ayurveda for preparation of many medicines due to its pharmological activities. It mainly contains Essential oils (d-a phellandrene and eugenol). As a single drug, the powder of medicine is taken in dose of 1-3 grams to treat piles, anorexia, and cold-cough.
  2. Rasa (taste on tongue): Madhura (Sweet), Katu (Pungent)
  3. Guna (Pharmacological Action): Laghu (Light), Tikshna (Sharp), Piccila (Slime)
  4. Virya: Ushna (Heating)
  5. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion): Katu (Pungent)
  6. Karma / Action: Kaphavata-hara, Ruchya, Arshoghna

Unani Properties

  1. Below is given properties of Tezpat described in Unani-Tibb:
  2. Dafe Taffun (Antiseptic): It prevents sepsis / infections.
  3. Kasir Riyah (Carminative): It helps to pass the gases from intestine.

Important Medicinal Properties of Bay leaf

  1. Anti-dysenteric: Relieving or preventing dysentery.
  2. Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
  3. Astringents: Constrict tissues; styptic.
  4. Antioxidant: neutralize the oxidant effect of free radicals and other substances.
  5. Antiulcer: tending to prevent or heal ulcers.
  6. Antibacterial: active against bacteria.
  7. Anthelmintic: expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
  8. Analgesic: acting to relieve pain.
  9. Abortifacient: induces abortion.
  10. Antidote to tobacco
  11. Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
  12. Diuretic: Promoting excretion of urine/agent that increases the amount of urine excreted.
  13. Expectorant: promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs.
  14. Hepatotonic: Tonic for liver.
  15. Hypotensive: Blood pressure lowering.
  16. Hypolipidemic: lipid lowering.
  17. Laxative: tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.

Health Benefits of Bay leaf

  1. It is hot in potency and expectorant and helps in cold, cough, asthma etc.
  2. It reduces swelling.
  3. It lowers blood pressure.
  4. It reduces effect of gastric ulcers.
  5. It is stimulates appetite.
  6. It is carminative and gives relief in gas, abdominal distention, colic, indigestion etc.
  7. It stimulates secretion of digestive juices.
  8. It has blood sugar and lipid lowering properties.
  9. It potentiate the action of insulin.
  10. It has diuretic properties and is useful in kidney and bladder disorders.
  11. Medicinal Uses of Bay Leaf / Tejpatta

Tejptra is a used as a condiment and medicine. In Ayurveda it is used for treatment of wide variety of disorders from time immemorial. The aromatic leaves have astringent, stimulant and carminative properties. They are used in fever, anemia, body odor, rheumatism, colic, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The leaves are used alone and as an ingredient of other medicines like Sudarshan Churna, Chitrak Haritaki, Vyaghri Haritaki, Kushmanda Rasayan, Puga Khand, Avipattikar Churna etc. It is used in preparation of compound proprietary Ayurvedic medicines, Pancreas Tonic, Dabur Madhu Rakshak etc.

Scientific studies shows bay leaves exhibit antidiabetic and antioxiadtive activities in artificially induced diabetic conditions. Here are few remedies which can be done at home using bay leaves to cure various ailments.

Vomiting / Chardi

Mix equal amount of Dalchini and Tejpatta in powder form. Take this powder in dose of 1-3 grams.

Cold, cough, Coryza, Allergy, Sinusitis

Prepare tea of Tejpatta (3-4), Tulsi leaves, Black pepper. Drink thrice a day. You may add honey as per taste.

Headache due to cold

Prepare decoction of Tejpatta and drink few times a day.

Scalp infection, lice in hairs

Prepare decoction by boiling Tejpatta (5 gm) in water (400 ml) till volume reduces to 100 ml. Filter and apply this decoction in roots of hair. Leave for 3 hours then wash with plain water. You may add Bringraj in it to make hair black and strong.

Khasi, Coughing

Take powder of Tejpatta leaves (2 gm) with honey.

Asthma, Respiratory problems

Take Tejpatta (5 gm), Liquorice /Mulethi (2 gm), Pippali / Long pepper(1 gm) and Sonth / dry ginger powder (1 gm). Prepare decoction in 200 ml water till volume reduces to 50 ml. Filter and drink.

Abdominal pain, Abdominal gas, Indigestion, Nausea, vomiting

Prepare decoction by boiling Tejpatta (5 gm), dry ginger in water (400 ml) till volume reduces to 100 ml. Filter and drink twice or thrice a day.

Kidney stone, Kidney problem

Regular intake of Bay leaves decoction prevents recurrent stone formation in body.

Heart diseases, Angina, Uneasiness, Palpitation

Prepare decoction by boiling Tejpatta (3 gm), Rose petals (3 gm), Lavang/ clove (3) in water (300 ml) till volume reduces to one forth. Filter and drink twice or thrice a day.

Uterus infection after delivery

Boil Tejpatta (3 gm), Ajwain, Sonth (dry ginger powder) in water and drink twice a day.

Sneezing in morning

Regularly drink Tejpat decoction.

Arthritis, Joint pain, Gout, Inflammation

Warm bay leaves and Castor leaves and apply at affected area.

Warning / Side Effects / Contraindications

  1. It is reportedly abortifacient (induces abortion).
  2. It should not be used in pregnancy.
  3. It should be taken in low doses only.
  4. It may interfere with absorption of tetracycline.
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