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. 

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.

Other Names of Tejpatta 

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 Malayalam

Nutritional Value of Tejpatta:  

Macronutrient Content in 1 tsp of Crumpled Leaf 

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 Leaf

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 

Health Benefits of Tejpatta:  

The herb has diverse therapeutic uses and benefits which are as follows

Benefits of Tejpatta for the Brain 

  • Many studies show that the Indian bay leaf extracts possess anti-depressant effects, that is it can elevate the person’s mood.
  • It has anxiolytic effects, meaning it can produce calmness in a person experiencing. Thus, it is useful in the management of psychological disorders.

Benefits of Tejpatta for the Skin & Hair

  • This plant has skin whitening properties, as it reduces the activity of the enzyme tyrosinase which is needed to produce melanin which is the dark pigment present in the skin.
  • Tejpat oil is also useful for eczema-like skin disorders where the skin is dry and flaky. These benefits are due to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • The leaf is also used in treating head lice due to its insecticidal activity.

Benefits of Tejpatta in Cases of High Blood Sugar

  • It lowers blood sugar levels due to its antioxidant properties which help the body to use insulin better.
  • It is used to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels as well when given to diabetic patients.

Benefits of Tejpatta as an Insect Repellent: 

  • Tejpatta is used as an insect repellent as it contains lauric acid which gives it the insecticidal property.
  • It has been used to repel mosquitoes and to protect grains like wheat, rice, oats, and barley from insects.

Benefits of Tejpatta for the Lungs:

  • Firstly, the herb is useful in treating the common cold as it reduces running nose which is the primary symptom experienced by patients.
  • It is useful in bronchial asthma by reducing cough.
  • It has been tried in cases of complications of tuberculosis.
  • Due to its kapha balancing property, it can control the cough, help release mucus and cleans the air passages; therefore, it is useful in all the above-mentioned conditions.

Benefits of Tejpatta for the Uterus: 

It is seen to improve the blood circulation of the uterus and is useful in bleeding disorders of the uterus.

Benefits of Tejpatta for Cholesterol Levels

  • Tejpatta has been shown to reduce the bad cholesterol that is LDL-cholesterol and increase good HDL cholesterol and reduce triglycerides. Therefore, it helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases.
  • The effect of the blood sugar levels and the cholesterol level make it cardio-protective which means it helps in protecting the heart. 

Benefits of Tejpatta for the Stomach

The ethanolic extract from this plant shows anti-ulcer action probably because it reduces acidity and has antioxidant action.

Benefits of Tejpatta for Wound Healing

Due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and immunomodulatory effects it fastens the process of wound healing of minor cuts.

Benefits of Tejpatta in Cancer:

This herb contains many compounds that reduce the damage caused by free radicals and reduce the risk of cancer.

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.
  • Some people may develop an allergic reaction when leaf extract is applied to the skin.

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.

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.

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.

Types of Tejpatta

  • 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.
  • 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.

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).

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).

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.

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.

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.

6) Which Part of the Tejpatta is Used? 

Ans: Mainly the leaves and the bark of the herb is used in various medicinal and food preparations.

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