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Tejpatta (Bay Leaves) – Benefits, Side Effects, Nutritional Value & More

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

The content has been written by a medical expert.

Introduction

Tejpatta is the dried leaves of the plant Cinnamomum tamala. It belongs to the family Lauraceae and genus Cinnamomum which has around 270 species of plants that grow authentically in Asia and Australia. 

tej patta leaves in a plate

Tejpatta is also known as Indian bay leaf is a small evergreen or perennial tree, which means it grows throughout the year and bears fruits every year of its life span.

Typically, the tree grows up to 12 meters in height and the leaf of this tree is around 12-20 cm long and 5-8 cm wide in the center with three long nerves running from base to apex of the leaf.

Where is Tejpatta Found?

The Indian Bay leaf grows naturally in the North-Western Himalayan region, Sikkim, Assam, Mizoram, Meghalaya, tropical and sub-tropical Asia, South Asia, the Pacific region, and in Australia. As a spice, it is used in various cuisines especially in northern Indian food and it imparts an aromatic odor and taste.1

Did you know?

Other Names of Tejpatta (Bay Leaves)

The India Bay leaf is known by various English names like

  • Indian cassia
  • Malabar leaf
  • Indian bark
  • Malabathrum.

It is also known by various names in the vernacular languages of India like 

  • Tejpatta (mainly pertaining to the dried leaves) in Hindi
  • Tezpat in Urdu
  • Patraka in Kannada
  • Tamalapatram in Malayalam2

Nutritional Value of Tejpatta:  

Over the years, I have observed that bay leaves might have a notable effect on the gastrointestinal system. It has been suggested that they might act as a diuretic, promoting increased urine production and potentially aiding in the elimination of toxins from the body.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Macronutrient Content in 1 tsp of Crumpled Leaf4 

Portion size  1 tsp = 0.6 g 
Amount per portion 
Calories  1.9 Kcal 
Total Fat 0.1 g 
Cholesterol 0.0 g 
Total carbohydrate  0.5 g 
Protein 0.1 g 

Micronutrient Content in 1 tsp of Crumpled Leaf4

Portion size  1 tsp = 0.6 g 
Amount per portion 
Vitamin A 1.850 mcg 
Vitamin B1 0.000 mcg 
Vitamin B2 0.003 mg 
Vitamin B3 0.012 mg 
Vitamin B6 0.010 mg 
Vitamin B9 1.080 mcg 
Vitamin B12 0.000 mcg 
Vitamin C 0.300 mg  
Vitamin D  0.000 mcg 
Calcium 5.000 mg 
Iron 0.300 mg 
Sodium 0.100 mg 
Potassium 3.2 mg 
Magnesium 0.72 mg 
Manganese 0.049 mg  
Phosphorus 0.68 mg 
Selenium 0.02 mcg  
Ash 0.1 g 
Water  0.1 g 

Types of Tejpatta (Bay Leaves)

  • It is seen that there are different types of bay leaves which are used to flavor food.
  • These include plants of various species like the Turkish or Mediterranean or European bay leaf (Laurus nobilus), Indian bay leaf, Californian bay leaf, Indonesian bay leaf, West Indian Bay leaf and the Mexican bay leaf.3
  • Amongst these the European Bay leaf also called as Bay laurel leaf is loosely referred to as ”Bay leaf” and is very similar in appearance to the Indian bay leaf.
  • The main striking difference being that the European bay leaf has only one central vein and their leaf is shorter, narrower, and lighter in color than the Indian Bay leaf.
  • These two are commonly mistaken for each other and have almost similar properties as well.3 

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta:    

The herb has diverse [potential benefits and uses and benefits which are as follows2,5,6,7

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for the Brain  

In my experience, I have observed that bay leaf essential oil might have anticonvulsant properties. This means that it could potentially help in reducing or avoiding seizures completely. It is believed that certain components present in the essential oil, such as eugenol, pinene, and methyleugenol, are responsible for this effect.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Many studies show that the Indian bay leaf extracts possess anti-depressant effects,  that  is it can elevate the person’s mood. It may have anxiolytic (reduces anxiety) effects, meaning it can produce calmness in a person experiencing anxiety. Thus, it may have some effect in the management of some psychological disorders.5  However, you need to reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience psychological problems.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for the Skin & Hair

This plant has skin brightening properties, as may have negative the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase which  is needed  to produce melanin which is the dark pigment present in the skin.5,6  Tejpatta  oil may also be useful for eczema-like skin disorders where the skin is dry and flaky.2 These potential benefits may be due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. The leaf  may be used  to help against head lice due to its potential insecticidal activity.7 You are advised to consult with a doctor if you encounter any such infestation as it may be disturbing.

Also Read: 5 Ayurveda Herbs For Hair Growth

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  in Cases of High Blood Sugar

Based on my experience, I have observed that Laurus nobilis (bay leaf) essential oil might exhibit antiviral properties against SARS-CoV and HSV-1. The constituents of the essential oil, such as beta-ocimene, 1,8-cineol, alpha-pinene, and beta-pinene, are believed to contribute to this antiviral effect.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

It may help to lower blood sugar levels due to its antioxidant properties which may also have some effect on the body to use insulin better. It  is may help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well when given to diabetic patients. Larger human studies could help demonstrate the efficacy of tej patta in preventing damage to vital organs due to long-standing diabetes. Therefore, avoid using tej patta or other herbal remedies for diabetes without talking to your healthcare provider.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  as an Insect Repellent:  

Tejpatta  may have some potential effect as an insect repellent as it contains lauric acid which gives it the insecticidal property. It may have properties to repel mosquitoes and to protect grains like wheat, rice, oats, and barley from insects.7  More studies are required to support the use of tej patta as an insect repellent.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for the Lungs:

The herb may have potential benefits in treating the common cold as it reduces running nose which is the primary symptom experienced by patients. It may be beneficial in bronchial asthma by reducing cough. It may also have some effects in cases of complications of tuberculosis. Due to its  kapha  balancing property, it can potentially control the cough, and may help release mucus and may clean the air passages; therefore, it may be useful in all the above-mentioned conditions.2 however the data available about its benefits on humans seems to be insufficient thus, avoid using tej patta or other herbal remedies for lungs without talking to your healthcare provider.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for Cholesterol Levels

Tejpatta  has been studied to reduce the bad cholesterol that is LDL-cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides. Therefore, it may help in reducing the risk of heart diseases.2,5,6  The effect  of the  blood sugar  levels  and the cholesterol level may make it cardio-protective which means it may help in protecting the heart.  However, more research is required to ascertain the above-mentioned potential uses. You should consult a doctor for serious conditions such as cholesterol levels which must be diagnosed and treated by a doctor.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for the Stomach

The ethanolic extract from this plant may show anti-ulcer action probably because it reduces acidity and has antioxidant action.2,5,6 However, you need to reach out to your healthcare provider if you experience stomach problems.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  for Wound Healing

Due to its potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory effects it may fastens the process of wound healing of minor cuts.2,5,6 We need further studies to establish this fact.

Potential Uses of  Tejpatta  in Cancer:

This herb contains many compounds that reduce the damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.2,5,6  You are advised not to use any herbal remedy to cure or prevent cancer without consulting your doctor.

Though there are studies that show the potential use of tejpatta in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of tejpatta on human health.

How to Use Tejpatta  

  • Tejpatta  can  be consumed  as a tea, decoction, entire leaf can be added during the cooking process, it can be used as powder, it can be used as ground leaf and oils can be extracted from the leaves.
  • The  proper dose for each condition changes from person to person based on their gender, built, age and presence and absence of other diseases. Currently, there  isn’t  much scientific evidence determining the appropriate dose ranges.
  • Since it is a plant product it is usually safe but need not be safe all the time; a dose of more than 1 gram per day can induce sweating and excessive urination in people. Therefore, a pharmacist or allopathic doctor is to  be consulted  before using.10

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking tejpatta or herbal supplements. Likewise, do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.  

Side Effects of  Tejpatta  :    

  • Taking the whole leaf by mouth is not safe. It  can’t  pass through and is not digested by the digestive system and can easily get stuck in the throat or in the gut and even damage the lining of the gut.8
  • Some people may develop an allergic reaction when leaf extract  is applied  to the skin.9  

People may react differently to common herbs and foods. Therefore, if you experience any side effects after using fennel seeds, you should immediately reach out to your healthcare provider.

Precautions to Take with Tejpatta:  

  • In pregnancy and breast feeding: There isn’t enough evidence on whether the herb is safe in pregnancy and during breast feeding. Just to be on the safe side it is to be avoided. 
  • In diabetes: The leaf has blood sugar lowering capacity therefore if the leaf is consumed by a person on medication for diabetes, then his or her blood sugar levels should be monitored.11

Interactions of Tejpatta with Other Drugs :  

  • With Anti-diabetic drugs: As mentioned above the blood sugar levels of the persons taking medicines for lowering blood sugar should be monitored if they are consuming this leaf as well.11

Also Read: What Causes Roaches: An Insight into Infestation Sources and Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions:  

1) What is the Difference Between Tejpatta and Bay leaf?  

Tejpatta is a type of Bay leaf also called the Indian Bay leaf (Cinnamomum tamala).3

2) What is the difference between Tejpatta and Dalchini? 

Yes, they are different. Dalchini is the dried bark of a small tree called Cinnamomum zeylanicum while Tejpatta is the dried leaves of a tree called Cinnamomum tamala (Indian bay leaf).12

3) What is the Difference between Tejpatta and Cinnamon? 

Tejpatta and cinnamon are different. Tejpatta is the dried leaves of Cinnamomum tamala which belongs to the genus Cinnamomum. This genus has around 270 species of plants under it. The dried bark of the tree Cinnamomum verum (synonym Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is the one which is commonly known as the true cinnamon.1,12,13

4) How is Tejpatta Tree Grown? 

The tree requires ample sunlight and must be planted at a spacing of 3 x 2 m in regular plantations.  The seeds are sown closely on prepared beds during the month of June-July, and it takes 2-3 weeks for the seeds to develop into seedlings. When seedlings reach a height of 15 cm or turn four months old, they are shifted into polythene bags of 30×15 cm in size. Then, after 10-12 months, they are planted in the main field and take 6-9 years to attain the harvestable stage that is the leaves can be harvested when the trees turn 8-10 years. The leaves are usually harvested from the month of October to December and in some places, the collection is continued till March.10 

5) Can we Eat Tejpatta? 

Yes, only in the amount that is added in food and ground leaf for short periods can be consumed, the raw whole leaf is not to be eaten it is very difficult to digest the leaf and it may get stuck in the throat or damage the lining of the gut.8

6) Which Part of the Tejpatta is Used? 

Ans: Mainly the leaves and the bark of the herb  may be used  in various herbal benefits and food preparations.7

Also Read: Shikakai – Uses, Benefits, Side Effect, Precautions & More

References:  

  1. Gunjan Sharma, A.R. Nautiyal; Cinnamomum tamala: A valuable tree of Himalayas.  Int. J. Med. Arom. Plant. 2011 June; 1 (1): 1-4. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267692908_Cinnamomum_tamala_A_valuable_tree_of_Himalayas  
  1. Shifali Thakur, Gitika Chaudhary; Review Based Upon Ayurvedic and Traditional Uses of Cinnamomum tamala (Tejpatta). International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research. 2021 June; 68 (2): 71-78. Available from: https://globalresearchonline.net/journalcontents/v68-2/11.pdf  
  1. Vijayasankar Raman, Rainer W Bussman; Which Bay leaf is in Your Spice Rack? – A Quality Control Study. Planta Medica. 2017 March; 83 (12): Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/314142585_Which_Bay_Leaf_is_in_Your_Spice_Rack_-_A_Quality_Control_Study 
  1. Nutritionvalue.org. Spices, bay leaf nutrition facts and analysis.  [Internet]. Available from. https://www.nutritionvalue.org/Spices%2C_bay_leaf_nutritional_value.html.  
  1. Shashank Tiwari, Shreya Talreja; Importance of Cinnamomum Tamala in the Treatment of Various Disease. Pharmacogn J. 2020 September; 12(6): Suppl: 1792-1796. Available from: https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/7df4/763cf49cc4f5c326616c086c1c06c3d8c4fe.pdf?_ga=2.7655026.1100916339.1641413271-858442835.1625849501 
  1. Ravi Kant Upadhyay; Therapeutic and Pharmaceutical Potential of Cinnamomum tamala. Research Reviews: Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2017 July; 6 (3): 18-28. Available from: https://www.rroij.com/open-access/therapeutic-and-pharmaceutical-potential-of-cinnamomumtamala-.pdf 
  1. Mukesh K. Chaubey; Insecticidal Activities Of Cinnamomum Tamala (Lauraceae) Essential Oil Against Sitophilus Oryzae L. (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). International Journal of Entomological Research. 2016; 4 (3): 91-98. Available from: https://esciencepress.net/journals/index.php/IJER/article/view/1796/882 
  1. Tat-Kin Tsang, Micheal J. Flais, Gary Hsin; Duodenal Obstruction Secondary to Bay leaf Impaction. Annals of Internal Medicine. 1999 april; 130 (8): 701-702. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10215575/ 
  1. Snejina Vassileva, Razvigor Darlenski; Bay leaf phytodermatitis. Contact Dermatitis Wiley. 2020 November: 84 (5): 344-345. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33191495/ 
  1. MFPI. Handbook of processing of Tejpatta [Internet]. Available from http://niftem.ac.in/newsite/wpcontent/themes/niftm/assets/pmfme/learning_material/baywriteup.pdf 
  1. Alam Khan, Goher Zaman, Richard A. Anderson; Bay Leaves Improve Glucose and Lipid Profile of People with Type 2 Diabetes. Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition. 2008 Dec; 44 (1): 52-56. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2613499/ 
  1. Central council for research in ayurvedic sciences ministry of AYUSH (Govt. of India). Important uses of Dalchini. [Internet]. Available from: http://ccras.nic.in/content/important-uses-dalchini 
  1. Sunil K.K. Narayana, Divya K. Gopi; Macro-micro-morphological diagnosis of leaves of two species of Cinnamomum (C. sulphuratum and C. verum) used as resource of bay leaf. An International Quarterly Journal of Research in Ayurveda. 2020 August; 40 (3): 196-203. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7685258/ 

Also Read: Shankhpushpi – Benefits, Side Effects, Precautions & More

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