Botanically hailed as Laurus nobilis and sprouting aromatic bay leaves, is an evergreen shrub, which is native to the Mediterranean region and is popularly used as a spice in Indian cooking. It is a flowering plant belonging to the Lauraceae family but has many other diverse families too based on the similarity of the foliage. The mention of the Laurus nobilis can be found in Biblical, Roman and Greek texts and cultures.
The bay leaf by itself is a fragrant herb and can be used fresh or dry. The dried leaves tend to have a strong flavour and are simmered before they are consumed. In fact, they are placed in braising liquids and taken away before serving. When dried bay leaves are ground to powder, they serve as a spice.
This culinary leaf spice is rich in carbohydrates (about 57%) and dietary fibre (about 60%). It is a highly respected herb that symbolises wisdom and peace to the Greeks and the Romans. Most chemical compounds, nutrients and vitamins in the leaves are plant-derived.
The fresh leaves are abundant in vitamin C or ascorbic acid, which acts as a natural antioxidant. They are also an excellent source of vitamin A, which is important for normal sight. Besides, it also contains the B-complex group of vitamins and minerals such as copper, selenium, calcium, potassium and manganese.
The bay leaf has the capability to relieve your stressed skin and prevent outbreaks. It can effectively treat dandruff and hair loss. Complaints of head lice can also be extensively addressed with the help of bay leaves.