Bay Leaf or Laurel Leaf are dried leaves or an evergreen shrub or more rarely a tree attaining a height of 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 ranging from 2.5 to 7.5 cms in length and 1.6 to 2.5 cms in breadth. The shape is elliptical and tapering to a point at the base and tip of the leaves.
Bay leaves are used as flavouring in soups, stews, meat, fish, sauces and in confectionaries. Both leaves and fruits possess aromatic, stimulant and narcotic properties. 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. The major functional properties are anti-microbial, anti-fungal, hypoglycaemic, anti-ulcerogenic etc.