The bay leaf is an aromatic leaf commonly used in cooking. It can be used whole or in a dried or ground form. Indian bay leaf or malabathrum (Cinnamomum tamala, Lauraceae) differs from bay laurel leaves which are shorter and light- to medium-green in colour with one large vein down the length of the leaf. Indian bay leaves are about twice as long and wider, usually olive green in colour and have three veins running the length of the leaf. Culinarily, Indian bay leaves are quite different having a fragrance and taste similar tocinnamon (cassia)bark, but milder.
In lab studies, bay leaves have been found to have antibacterial properties, which means they stop bacteria from growing near them. More specifically, bay leaves inhibit the growth of both Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria behind Staph infections) and E. Coli.