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Spice Descriptions and Uses

Tejpat Cinnamomum tamala

Other names : Indian cassia

Distribution

Cinnamomum tamala is a moderate sized evergreen trees which is the source of tejpat leaves and the Indian cassia bark. It is distributed in tropical and sub-tropical Himalayas, Khasi and Jaintia hills and in Eastern Bengal.

Cultivation

Plants are raised from seeds sown in nursery beds in March-April. Seedlings are transplanted to the field in rows of 2m apart with a spacing of 3 3.5 m between plants. Leaves are collected in dry weather every year from vigourous plants, dried in the sun and tied up into bundles for marketing.

The principal components of the essential oil obtained from leaves are d-a-phellandrene and eugenol. The essential oil from the bark contains 70 - 85 % cinnamic aldehyde.

Culinary use

The leaves are used as a spice in Indian cooking and they occupy the place of bay leaves in Europe.

Medicinal and other use

In Kashmir, they are used as a substitute for pan or betel leaves. It is also used as a clarifier in dyeing.