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The Science Of Plants

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The Bay Leaf - Medicinal Plant in Indonesia

A medicinal plant is any plant that contains substances which has the ability to be used for therapeutic purposes. One very important and popular medicinal plant in Indonesia is the bay leaf. The bay tree is indigenous to Asia Minor, from where it spread to the Mediterranean and then to other countries with similar climates such as Indonesia, more specifically and commonly in the island of Java. Although in Indonesia, we would mostly find bay leaf in the kitchen, to be used as spices to add aroma to the cooking, it is also very well-known for its capability to heal like a medicine. Many are the importance of the bay leaf including what the ingredients in the bay leaf are, its ability to heal many different sicknesses, and its affects in various aspect in life.

This is a pure essential oil (minyak atsiri) that a company manufactured and exported from Indonesia

The leaf of bay leaf has a very strong and astringent taste and just like its taste, it has a strong affect on our body that could help prevent sicknesses. One of the reasons why the bay leaf has become an effective medicine used in Indonesia is because it consists of pure essential oil (minyak atsiri). The pure essential oil is not a stranger to Indonesian citizens. It can be found and are used in everyday lives by mothers as a cooking recipe. About 57% of the 40 types of pure essential oil are produced in Indonesia. The bay leaf is just one of the many plants that consist of pure essential oil. The pure essential oil helps the bay leaf to release its cure for sicknesses because it is needed by human to consume and contain better health. Moreover, the pure essential oil has the potential to provide the pureness of what nature has to offer if manufactured correctly until all the woods has dissolve. That is why the pure essential oil plays a big part in the bay leaf.

The significant of medicinal plant to us is its ability to cure sicknesses, and that is what's so beneficial about the bay leaves. According to Prof. Hembing Wijayakusuma in his book titled "Tumbuhan Berkhasiat Obat: Rempah, Rimpang, dan Umbi" meaning "Plants that has the potential to be as Medicine: Spices, Rhizome, and Root", the salam tree has the ability to be medicine that is useful and also helpful in our everyday lives. The bay leaf is able to heal and prevent many common sicknesses including high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, gastritis, and diarrhea. The parts of the bay leaf are its leaves, the skin of its stem, their roots and fruits. The leaves help cure sicknesses as mentioned above, as for the fruit or seed can help cure people under the influence of alcohol/drinking. Different sicknesses contain different process on how to consume the bay leaf.

How to use the bay leaf:

In cases where the medicine has to be consumed by drinking, at least 7-20 sheets of fresh leaves of leaves that has already been dried can be drink after boiled. For other usage of consuming, roll the leaves until the skin of its stem or roots are smooth, then tap the leaf to the area where it is in sick condition, for example rashes.

Here are some steps on how to apply the bay leaf in order to cure certain sicknesses:

* Diarrhea (diare):

Wash 15 sheets of fresh leaf until clean. Add 2 glasses of water, and then boil for 15 minutes; next, place in a small amount of salt. After it has become cool, drain the leaves, pressing out excess water. You can drink the water as tea in the afternoon.

* Diabetes mellitus (kencing manis):

Clean 7-15 sheets of fresh salam leaves then boil them in 3 glasses of water until the water reduce to only 1 glass. After cooling down, drain the leaves from the water then drink the water. Do this 2x a day.

* High cholesterol (kadar kolesterol darah yang tinggi):

Wash 10-15g of fresh salam leaves until clean, then boil them in 3 glasses of water until the water reduce to only 1 glass. After cooling down, drain the leaves from the water then drink the water at night time. Do this every day until cured.

* Hypertension (tekanan darah tinggi):

Wash 7-10 sheets of salam leaves until clean, then boil them in 3 glasses of water until the water reduce to only 1 glass. After it has cooled down, drain the leaves from the water then drink the water 2x a day, each only half a glass.

* Gastritis (maag):

Take 15-20 sheets of fresh salam leaves and wash them until clean. Then boil the leaves with ½ litter of water for 15 minutes. Add brown sugar as much as you need. Afterwards wait for it to cool down and when it has, drink the water like a tea. Do this every day until the pain and the symptoms of the sickness are gone.

* Under alcohol influence (mabuk alkohol):

Wash 1 handful of salam seed, then boil until the skillet fall off. Afterwards blend until it becomes crumbs. Drain the leaves, pressing out excess water then drink the whole water.

The process above shows how the bay leaves are manufactured to be consumed everyday and heal everyday common sicknesses, but is it true that these processes would help cure and/or prevent sicknesses? Studies were performed to see whether the consumption of bay leaves would put in any affect in improving the health of many that are suffering from one of the sicknesses that was said to be cured by consuming bay leaf. This experiment was done in order to determine whether bay leaves are able to cure serious sicknesses such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. As a result, after testing 40 people, where they were divided into 4 groups and given 1, 2, and 3g of capsules containing different amount of bay leaves per day for 30 days followed by a 10 day washout, all capsules shown that they reduced the percentage of serum glucose from 21 to 26% after those 30 days, including the total cholesterol which decreased from 20 to 24% and larger decreases in low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol that went from 32 to 40%. And finally triglycerides also decreased 34 and 25% in groups consuming 1 and 2 g of bay leaves, respectively, after 30 days. So to sum up, this study proves that the consumption of bay leaves for 30 days help decrease the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, bay leaves have been proven to be very beneficial for those who suffer from one of the many serious diseases.

However, although bay leaves may be full of advantages and could strongly benefit



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