From Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Cinnamomum tamala, Indian bay leaf, also known as tejpat,<ref name=GRIN/> Malabar leaf, Indian bark,<ref name=GRIN>Template:Cite web</ref> Indian cassia,<ref name=GRIN/> or malabathrum, is a tree within the Lauraceae family which is native to India, Nepal, Bhutan, and China.<ref name=GRIN/> It can grow up to Template:Convert tall.<ref name=FoC>Template:Cite web</ref> It has aromatic leaves which are used for culinary and medicinal purposes. It is thought to have been one of the major sources of the medicinal plant leaves known in classic and medieval times as malabathrum (or malobathrum).
Nomenclature and taxonomy
The leaves, known as tējapattā or tejpatta (तेजपत्ता) in Hindi and in Nepali, tejpata (তেজপাতা) in Bengali, tejpat in Assamese, and tamalpatra (तमालपत्र) in Marathi and in original Sanskrit, are used extensively in the cuisines of India, Nepal, and Bhutan, particularly in the Moghul cuisine of North India and Nepal and in tsheringma herbal tea in Bhutan. It is called biryani aaku or bagharakku in Telugu. They are often labeled as "Indian bay leaves," or just "bay leaf", causing confusion with the leaf from the bay laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus, and the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. This may lead to confusion when following Indian or Pakistani recipes. Bay laurel leaves are shorter and light to medium green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf, while tejpatleaves are about twice as long and wider, usually olive green in color, and with three veins down the length of the leaf. True tejpat leaves impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay laurel leaf's aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon. Indian grocery stores usually carry true tejpat leaves.
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The bark is also sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia Template:Citation needed. Methanolic extract of C. tamala leaves fed at 10 mg/kg to alloxan-induced diabetic rats for 15 days resulted in significant reduction in blood glucose level, blood glycosylated haemoglobin, LPO, serum AST, and ALT, and significant increase in the antioxidant enzymes such as CAT, GSH, and SOD. C. tamala could be used as an adjunct therapy in diabetes. <ref>(Indian Vet. J. June 2012, 89(6): 72-74).</ref>
"Malabar" is the name of a region on the west coast of southern India that forms the northern portion of the present-day state of Kerala. The word mala or malaya means "mountain" in the Tamil and Malayalam languages, as also in Sanskrit. The word "malabathrum" is also thought to have been derived from the Sanskrit tamālapattram (तमालपत्त्रम्), literally meaning "dark-tree leaves".
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