The Sacred Magical Herb, Bay Leaf or Tejpatta
The Nice Spice : Culinary, Medicinal and Spiritual Benefits
Bay leaf was highly praised by the Greeks and the Romans, who deeply believed that the herb symbolises wisdom, peace, and protection.
It is full of flavour, aroma, therapeutic, medicinal properties and is used even in spiritual affirmations.
The Herb of Victory : Ancient History of the Crown of Laurels
A sacred tree The Bay laurel also known as Sweet Bay, Sweet Laurel, Indian bay, Bay laurel, Poet’s laurel, Wreaths laurel, Apollo’s bay leaf among others.
Its leaves were used to make wreaths or crowns of laurel for honouring the victorious athletes and other dignitaries like Doctors, Graduates, Poets etc. in ancient Greece.
Fun Fact :The term Nobel Laureate or poet Laureate also comes from the Bay Laurel. And so does the phrase ‘achieving laurels’.
It’s used till date to signify victory and achievements. So, next time when you see the poster of an award winning film and you see these crown of leaves surrounding its title, you will know it’s the humble bay laurel.
A Culinary Delight
You may have used Tejpatta to flavour your basic rice or Biryani or soups and experienced the aroma and flavour it adds to the entire dish. The leaf of course must be removed once the cooking is over and is not for direct consumption.
Its Olive green in colour smooth on the top, with 3 clear veins. Its smell consists of a mild aroma of cloves and cinnamon and it’s quite succulent. It’s a key ingredient in making curry powders.
According to Famous Chef, Tarla Dalal, there are different types of Bay- leaves used in different cuisines. They can be used fresh or dried ( also powdered).
In Indian cuisine it is commonly found in the cooking of Pulao or Biryani. It is one of the main ingredients in the Garam masala powder and in the manufacturing of curry powders.
The whole leaves are used in tempering of some vegetable and dal preparations. It adds the much needed richness to Paneer Makhani and some regional Dal preparations. It can be used as part of the masala flavouring used in Snack items like Indian Kachoris.
It is also used in Mediterranean food dishes like tomato soups and to flavour French dishes like the Bouillabaisse.
I personally enjoy Bay leafs being added to even Pastas and Risottos.
Next time you see this sacred herb in your dish,
Be grateful for the blessing and yes of course the aromatic and delectable flavour!
Medicinal and Healing properties
Tej Patta or Patra in Sanskrit, the healing spice is used as a medicine in Ayurveda. It is known to have minerals and vitamins which are good for health and in maintaining bodily and organ functions. It has anti-oxidizing, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, anti-bacterial and digestive properties which protect our body.
Naturally light, pungent, bitter, sweet, and warm by nature, it is helpful in digestion, stimulates the brain, cleanses urine, relieves headaches, colds, asthma among many other healing properties.
We have created a ready reckoner for some common remedies where Tej Patta is used as mentioned by Chandigarh Ayurveda Centre
Headaches – Grind 10 grams of bay leaves in water and apply on a skull to get relief from headache caused by cold or heat
Cold & Cough – Boil Tejpatta in warm water and drink it quick relief in colds, sneezing, runny nose, burning sensation, headache etc.
Teeth Whitening – Rubbing the fine powder of Tej patta on the teeth in the morning and evening makes the teeth glow
Gum Diseases – Chewing the stalk of tej patta in benefits stops bleeding from the gums.
Stuttering – Sucking bay leaves regularly provides relief in stuttering.
Asthma – One teaspoon powder of dried bay leaves with one cup of hot milk twice a day regularly provides relief in respiratory problems.
Appetite Loss – Drinking raita of bay leaves in the morning and evening ends the problem of loss of appetite.
Nausea – Taking 2-4 grams of its powder removes nausea.
Diarrhoea – Taking sugar candy (Mishri) and honey mixed with 1-3 grams of leaf powder reduces stomach problems
Cholesterol – Add it in your food routine and see a distinct control in the levels of Cholesterol.
Joint and Muscle Pains – Bay Leaf oil is highly beneficial in relieving joint and muscle plains and arthritis
The Magical Bay Leaf: Healing and Spirituality
It is believed that bay leaf has got many magical qualities. It can be used in worship and meditation just like an incense stick as part of spiritual practice.
Burning a bay leaf cleanses the energy and aura. It has also been found to relieve stress and fatigue. The combination of chemicals in the leaves creates smoke that, when inhaled, calms the body and the mind and that’s why it is used while doing meditation.
It is also used in some spiritual rituals to attract abundance and good luck.
Some popular bay leaf ritual :
Blowing of the Bay Leaf powder, outside the house to attract good energy and abundance into the house and your world.
The leaf is also used to write affirmations on it with a red pen on a full moon night. After writing the leaves are burnt and sent out as ashes into the universe.
There are umpteen uses of the magical Tej Pata. How many have you tried or will try? Do tell us in the comments section.
And if you are still on the lookout for what more does the Bay Leaf offer?
Dig deep and you will find that its powder is also a bug repellent and the wood of its tree is used to make musical instruments and utensils?
There is something the Humble or should I say the Special Bay Leaf has to offer everyone.
In humble gratitude of the magical Bay Laurel! Make use of it today and bring on the laurels!