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What are the health benefits of Bay Leaf (a popular part of Indian cuisine)?

Bay Leaf is used widely in cuisines (Tej Patta is the common name for bay leaf in Hindi) to enhance the flavor and taste of the cuisine. It belongs to the Lauraceae family of plants. Bay Leaf is produced from the Laurus plant which is scientifically known as Laurus Nobilis. Its origin is from Asia Minor. In ancient times Bay Leaf was known as the tree for the Sun God, and was associated with the Leo celestial sign. Bay leaves are not directly consumed; instead they are added to the food and not eaten, with them just adding flavor and smell to the food. Bay Leaf contains many Vitamins such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, iron and manganese. Many of the herbal products are made with some content of bay leaves due to the numerous benefits it provide to the human body.
Some of the benefits of the Bay Leaves are mentioned in this article. The oil extracted from bay leaf is used widely in a massage which in turn acts as a remedy to muscular pains. This oil is also used in a wide variety of perfumes due to its strong fragrance. The bay leaf oil massage also helps in stimulating the blood circulation. The bay leaves are very beneficial for the treatment of diarrhea. Boiling bay leaves in water for 15 minutes and drinking the water after adding salt will help treat diarrhea. The caffeic acid, eugenol, catechins, and quercetin present in bay leaves help the body fight against various cancers. One of the phytonutrients present in bay leaves called parthenolide helps in reducing the growth of angiogenesis tumor and cervical cancer. All the above said components present in the bay leaf are alos essential to reduce the heart attacks and strokes.
Bay leaf is very rich in volatile components like alpha pinene, beta pinene, limonene, mythyl chavicol, neral, linalool, myrcene, geranyl acetate and many more. These volatile components act as antiseptics, anti-oxidants and also help in digestion and also help fight against cancer. The minerals present like potassium present in bay leaf help in maintaining the blood pressure level and also the heart rate. Iron helps in the production of red blood cells. The body uses manganese and copper to behave as a co-factor for superoxide dismutase which is an antioxidant enzyme. It also uses iron to behave as a co-factor for the enzyme like cytochrome oxidases.
Cough, bronchitis, flu and other chest infections can be treated by the use of bay leaves. For this a cloth is soaked in the water in which bay leaves have been boiled and this cloth is placed over the chest. If the bay leaf is infused and then inhaled by a person suffering from cough or chest congestion, he will enjoy a quick relief. It clears up chest congestion, flu and also the symptoms of fever. The women who face problems during menstruation and also suffer from irregular periods may use bay leaf to solve the problem. Drinking bay leaf tea will help them get relief from this problem. Bay leaves are also beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. Bay Leaves balance the blood sugar level and also improves the insulin level in the body.
Bay leaf has lauric acid which can act as an insect repellant. The bay leaf infusions can help treat many problems like stomach ulcers, stomach irritation, colic pain and flatulence relief. Bay leaf also has some properties which act as an anti-inflammatory agent. The use of bay leaf strengthens the immune system and helps overcome stress.
Apart from all these health benefits bay leaves are primarily used as a flavoring agent in the dishes. Many dishes like dal, sauces, pickles contain bay leaf to add up to the taste and flavor.

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