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tejpatra - Cinnamomum tamala Nees & Eberm.

tejpatra :

tejpatra : Cinnamomum tamala Nees & Eberm.

Tvakpatra consists of dried mature leaves of Cinnamomum tamala (Buch. Ham.) Nees & Eberm. (Fam. Lauraceae):

 a small evergreen tree upto 7.5 m high and

occurs in tropical, sub- tropical Himalayas between 900-2300 m,

often raised from seeds,

sown in nursery,

leaves collected in dry weather from about ten years old plant during OctoberMarch


Historically, it is one of the oldest known and used spices.

 Ancient literature has revealed that in the first century A.D., dried leaves and bark of this plant were prescribed for fever, anemia and body odour. Its seeds were crushed and mixed with honey or sugar and administered to children for dysentry or cough 

Taxonomical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae - Plants
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida - Dicotyledons
Family: Lauraceae
Genus: Cinnamomum
Species: Cinnamomum tamala

Allied species:

Saigon cinnamon

There are several other trees grown around the world that are also called bay leaves, namely: Californian Bay Leaf (Umbellularia californica, Lauraceae), Indian Bay Leaf (Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae), Indonesian Bay Leaf (salam leaf, Syzygium polyanthum, Myrtaceae), West Indian Bay Leaf (Pimenta racemosa, Myrtaceae), Mexican Bay Leaf (Litsea glaucescens, Lauraceae).


Sanskrit: tamalpatra, patra, tejpatram, palash, chandan, ram, tapasaj, gopan, anshuk, tamala
English: cassia cinnamon Indian Cinnamon
Hindi: Tejpatra
Urdu: Tezpat
Telugu: Akupatri
Bengali: Tejpatra, Tejpata
Marathi: Tamalpatra
Konkani: tamal patta
Oriya: Tejapatra
Gujarathi: Tamala patra, Develee
Tamil: Lavangapatri
Malayalam: Karuvapatta patram ഇടനയില, കറുവപ്പട്ട ഇല, വഴന Itanayila, Karuvappatta-ila, Valana, Vazhana
Kannada: Tamalapatra, Dalchini Ele
Punjabi: Tajpater
Arabic: saynamum tamalaan
Assamese: Tejpat, Mahpat
Japanese: タマラ肉桂 タマラニッケイ, テジパット Tamara-nikkei, Tejipatto
Chinese: 柴桂 [chái guì] Chai gui
French: Laurier des Indes
German: Indisches Lorbeerblatt, Mutterzimt
Burma: Thitchabo
Nepal: तेजपत्ता, शिसि, सिनकाुली Tejpatta, Sisi, Sinkauli
Greek: Μαλαβάθρον Malabathron


 bay laurel, a tree of Mediterranean origin in a different genus; the appearance and aroma of the two are quite different. Bay laurel leaves are shorter and light- to medium-green in color, with one large vein down the length of the leaf, while tejpat leaves are about twice as long and wider, usually olive green in color, with three veins down the length of the leaf. 

There are five types of tejpat leaves and they impart a strong cassia- or cinnamon-like aroma to dishes, while the bay laurel leafs aroma is more reminiscent of pine and lemon.


Synonyms in Ayurveda: tamalpatra, patra, tejpatram, palash, chandan, ram, tapasaj, gopan, anshuk, tamala

The Sanskrit name tamala­pattra​ [तमालपत्त्र] means dark leaf, although that seems poorly moti­vated.

Greek traders took that name to their own language, but falsely identified the Sanskrit word as a plural form with definite article, (ta) malabathra [(τὰ) μαλαβάθρα] for which they backformed a singular (to) malabathron [(τὸ) μαλαβάθρον]. This name was then taken by the Romans as malabathrum or malobathrum.

Many recent languages of Northern India have names for Indian bay-leaf that derive from that Sanskrit term, e. g., Marathi tamal patra [तमाल पत्र]. In Hindi and some related tongues, the spice is known as tejpatta [तेजपत्ता] pun­gent leaf (Urdu tezpat [تیز پات]). Tamil hat probably the best de­scriptive name for this spice: ilavanga­pattiri​ [இலவங்கபத்திரி] cinnamon leaf.

Rasa: Katu Madhura
Guna: Laghu Picchila Teeskhsna
Veerya: Ushna
Vipaka: Katu
Karma: Vathakaphahara

Its leaves have a clove-like aroma with a hint of peppery taste, they are used for culinary and medicinal purposes
 mature leaves are dried and commonly known as bay leaves. These are aromatic and used as spice in cooking


Transplanted in the field 2 m apart with a recommended spacing of 3-4 m. Sufficient shade is provided in the early
stages of growth, and shade trees are cleared after 8-9 years. The fields are not usually manured or other wise cared
for but undergrowth is occasionally removed. The ease with which essential oils can be obtained from this plant’s
material makes it ideal for cash crop farming.


Seed - the seed of species in this genus generally has a short viability and is best sown as soon in containers as it is ripe Remove the fruit pulp since this can inhibit germination. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water hastens germination, which can take 1 - 6 months at 20°c. The germination rate of fresh seed is about 50%, falling to 25% for seed 6 months old, and zero for those 1 year old. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in containers. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions when 10cm or more tall.
Cuttings of semi-ripe side shoots, 7cm with a heel, in a frame with bottom heat


 Leaves are ready for harvesting when trees are 10 years. Tree longevity is up to 100 years, and they continue bearing in old age. Leaves are collected every year from vigorous plants and in alternate years from old and weak ones. Collections are made in dry weather from October-March. Continuous rain diminishes the aroma of the leaves. Small branches with leaves are dried in the sun for 3 or 4 days and tied up into bundles for marketing. The average annual yield per tree is 40-100 kg/tree


Essential oils (d-α phellandrene and eugenol).
In the essential oil from the leaves, mostly monoterpenoides were found: Linalool (50%) is the major compound, whereas α‑pinene, p‑cymene, β‑pinene and limonene range around 5 to 10% each. Phenylpropanoids appear only in traces: Newer work reports 1% cinnamic aldehyde and no eugenol, whereas older literature speaks of traces of both compounds



1. Citrakkadi Taila
2. Kasisadi Taila
3. Vajraka Taila

Parts used for medicinal purpose

Bark, Leaves, ,


 1-3 g of the drug in powder form. 

Bark powder -1-3 GM
Leaf powder 1-3 gm
Oil -2-5 drops


acts as an antidote for scorpion sting


The best substitutes are cinnamon leaves or fresh cardamom leaves, but these are also not easy to come by. Some prefer the South American boldo leaves: although their flavour is rather different, it is at least strong enough for the highly spiced Moghul foods. Easier and still satisfactory substitutes are a small piece of cinnamon bark or a dried allspice berry. 


Since Indian bay leaves were hardly available in the West bevor the turn of the millennium, most older books encourage the use of laurel (the Mediterranean bay leaf) instead. Though looking similar, the taste is very different, and also weaker. 

Commercial value:

Dried leaves are used as flavoring agent
The leaves have medicinal properties
The bark is also sometimes used for cooking
Could be used as an adjunct therapy in diabetes



12.5-20 cm long, 5-7.5 cm wide at the centre, 3 converging nerves from base to apex young leaves pink, petiole 7.5-13 mm long, margin entire, apex acute or accuminate, both surfaces smooth, stomata paracytic odour, aromatic, taste, slightly sweet, mucilaginous and aromatic.


Petiole and midrib-transverse section of petiole and midrib shows epidermis externally covered with cuticle, uniseriate, multicellular (1 to 3 cells), trichomes present, oil cells single or in group, isolated large stone cells, much lignified showing striations found scattered, most of the parenchymatous cells of cortex with reddish-brown contents, pericycle represented by a few layers of sclerenchymatous cells, stele more or less planoconvex as in the midrib of leaf, xylem on upper and phloem on lower side consisting of usual elements, present.


Lamina-transverse section of lamina shows dorsiventral structure, represented by palisade tissue on upper and spongy parenchyma on lower side, epidermis same as in midrib, externally covered with cuticle, below upper epidermis single row of closely packed palisade layer followed by multilayered, irregular, thin-walled cells of spongy parenchyma without intercellular spaces, idioblasts containing oil globules present in mesophyll and also in palisade, lower epidermis covered externally with cuticle, lamina intervened by several small veinlets: vascular bundles covered with thick-walled fibres on both side.

Geographical distribution:

South slopes of the Hima­layas and the moun­tains of North Eastern India, ex­tending into Burma. The main pro­duction areas are Nepal and Sikkim, but most of the harvest comes from wild or half-domesticated trees. 


C. tamala is found in tropical and sub-tropical Himalayas, Khasi and Jaintia hills and in eastern Bengal, India.

Plant conservation:

Considering the economic potential and dwindling natural populations of C. tamala in several ranges, this species has been recommended for in-situ as well as ex-situ conservation by several authors. However, in the absence of standard agro-techniques and owing to lack of information on seed germination behavior, conservation efforts have not succeeded so far

General Use:

The bark is sometimes used for cooking, although it is regarded as inferior to true cinnamon or cassia  Methanolicextract 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.

Therapeutic Uses:


Systemic Use:

  • Diabetes. Taking Cinnamomum tamala three times per day for 3 months might lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.
  • Common cold.
  • Asthma.
  • Stomach and intestinal problems.
  • Skin diseases.
  • Bad breath


Bark powder
Leaf powder 


 Leaves and bark have aromatic, astringent, stimulant and carminative qualities and used in rheumatism, colic, diarrhoea, nausea and vomiting. 

Clinical trials:

     1. Anti-hyperlipidemic herbs in siddha system of medicine - Thillai Vanan

3. Antidiarrhoeal activity of the standardised extract of Cinnamomum tamala in experimental rats

CV Rao, M Vijayakumar, K Sairam, V Kumar - Journal of natural medicines, 2008 - Springer


1. Essential oil constituents of the spice Cinnamomum tamala (Ham.) Nees & Eberm.
A Ahmed, MI Choudhary, A Farooq… - Flavour and …, 2000 - Wiley Online Library

2.  GC-MS analysis and screening of antidiabetic, antioxidant and hypolipidemic potential of Cinnamomum tamala oil in streptozotocin induced diabetes mellitus …
S Kumar, N Vasudeva… - Cardiovascular …, 2012 -

3. Assessment of Bioactivity of Cinamomum tamala (Buch.-Ham.) by Manoj Kumar

4. Identification of potential anti-chronic disease targets for Cinnamomum tamala: an in-silico target screening approach by Savita Deshmukh



Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking Cinnamomum tamala if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Diabetes: Cinnamomum tamala might lower blood sugar. Watch for signs of low blood sugar and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use Cinnamomum tamala. 

Surgery: Cinnamomum tamala might lower blood sugar levels. There is some concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using Cinnamomum tamala at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Toxicity studies:

There isn’t enough reliable information available to know if Cinnamomum tamala is safe or what the side effects might be. 

Use in other system of medicine:

It is used in cooking to add a specific flavour to food. It also has some medicinal properties.

Bay leaves have a floral fragrance similar to oregano or thyme. They have been used as a flavoring by the Ancient Greeks and many Mediterranean cultures, as well as in the Americas. They are commonly used in soups, stews, meat and fish dishes and sauces.  Bay leaves are a classic herb in traditional French cuisine. Typically the leaves are used whole or as part of an herbal garnish that is removed before serving the meal. They are also used in Thai and Arabic dishes, in particular Massaman Curry.  In India they are used in Aram Masala.

Bay trees can live many decades. The leaves are harvested when the plant is a couple of years old. Fresh bay leaves are very bitter. The dried leaves have a deeper less bitter flavor. The older the leaf is the stronger the flavor. The oil is used by the perfume industry. The wood is also sweet-scented.

The name Lauris nobilisis derivies from the Latin “laurus” meaning to laud or praise and “nobilis” meaning noble. Esoterically, the leaves are considered a noble and strong protector that have the ability to attract the “right place” to you. The leaves can be burned to purify the air, providing comfort and freshness to a room.

In early Greece annual athletic competitions held to honor Apollo. The winner was crowned by a wreath of bay, also called, bay laurel leaves. In modern Greece, the bay laurel is called Daphne and the tree’s boughs are a national symbol. The term “baccalaureate” originates from the giving of the bay leaf crowns to signify success. The Romans held bay laurel to be a symbol of victory.


Cinnamomum tamala, Indian bay leaf, also known as ತಮಾಲ (Tamaala) in Kannada(ಕನ್ನಡ), மரப்பட்டை இலை (Pattai Illai) in தமிழ்(Tamizh), tejpat, tejapatta, Malabar leaf, Indian bark, Indian cassia, or malabathrum, is a tree in the Lauraceae family that is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, and China. It can grow up to 20 m (66 ft) tall. Its leaves have a clove-like aroma with a hint of peppery taste, they 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).

Ayurvedic Formulations:

Common Ayurvedic Formulations of tejpatra with their Indications
Lala Dawasaz Herbal Hair Oil

KEY WORDS: tejpatra Cinnamomum tamala Nees & Eberm. Bay leaf

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