Bay leaf is an aromatic leaf from the evergreen bay laurel tree, native to the Mediterranean. It is most widely used in cooking and preparing perfumes. The Indian bay leaf is basically a three veined leaf which is elliptical, pointed, smooth and tough. Bay Leaf or Laurel Leaf tree attain height of upto 15 to 20 mtrs. The upper surface of the leaf is glabrous and shiny, olive green, and lower surface is dull olive to brown with a prominent rib and veins. The aroma of the crushed leaves is delicate & fragrant and taste is aromatic and bitter. The size of the leaves is upto 7.5 cms in length and 2.5 cms in breadth. The shape is long elliptical and tapering to a point at the base and tip of the leaves.
Bay leaves are used Both leaves and fruits possess aromatic, stimulant and narcotic properties. These leaves are pungent and have a sharp, bitter flavor and are used as flavouring in soups, stews, meat, fish, sauces and in confectionaries. Their taste and fragrance are somewhat similar to the cinnamon bark but slightly milder. They are used in fresh, dried or powdered form. The essential oil from the leaves are also used as spice and food flavouring agent and has wider application in traditional medicines of different countries.