Difference Between Cinnamon and Bay Leaf

Spices and herbs are plant products used for flavoring, coloring, and garnishing food. They may be used in dried or fresh forms and can also have aromatic properties. Besides, they also have certain medicinal benefits, which add to the advantages of their use. Cinnamon and Bay Leaf are two common spices used in households across the world.

Cinnamon vs Bay Leaf

The main difference between Cinnamon and Bay Leaf is that Cinnamon, which is used as a spice and essential oil, is obtained from the inner bark of the Cinnamon tree. On the other hand, Bay Leaf that is used for flavoring in cooking is a leaf of the Bay Leaf plant.  

Cinnamon and Bay Leaf

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from tree species that have Cinnamomum as a genus and belongs to the flower family Lauraceae. It is prominently used as a flavoring additive and aromatic condiment in a multitude of cuisines across the world. It derives its aroma and flavor from its major component, cinnamaldehyde and essential oil. 

Bay Leaf are leaves of the sweet bay tree, which is an evergreen tree from the Lauraceae family. The procured leaves are utilized in both fresh and dried forms, mostly as a flavoring agent in various cuisines. The major source of its constituent essential oil is eucalyptol, which provides it with its aroma. 

Comparison Table Between Cinnamon and Bay Leaf  

Parameters of Comparison   Cinnamon    Bay Leaf    
Category   It is a spice.   It is a herb.    
Scientific Name    The scientific name of Cinnamon is Cinnamomum Verum.   The scientific name for Bay Leaf is Laurus nobilis.    
Edible Part   The inner bark of the Cinnamon tree is usually used as an edible spice.   The leaves of the Bay Leaf plant are used for cooking.   
Physical Characteristics    Cinnamon as a spice is brown in color has a warm sweet flavor and fragrant aroma.    Fresh dry leaves are green in color, have a bitter-sweet taste, and are slightly fragrant.    
Native to    Also called Ceylon Cinnamon, it is native to Sri Lanka, the Malabar coast of India, Myanmar, the West Indies, and South America.    Bay Leaf is native to countries bordering the Mediterranean.   
Uses   It is used to flavor a vast multitude of eatables including curries, beverages, and bakery goods. Its essential oil is used in food, perfume, liquor, and drugs.   It is used in pickles, marinations, and flavor stews.   

What is Cinnamon? 

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum) is a brown-colored spice, often used in dried and powdered form. It is procured from the bark of a variety of species of trees that come under the Cinnamomum genus, under the Lauraceae family. It is used in the preparation of meals, perfumes, drugs, and liquor for its flavoring and aromatic properties. 

In early times, Cinnamon was considered more precious than gold. In ancient Egypt, it was utilized in religious and embalming practices. It continued to be used for performing religious rites during medieval times in Europe. Its use as a flavoring agent also emerged during medieval times. In modern times, it became the most profitable trading commodity for the Dutch East India Company. 

Cinnamon is believed to have a variety of medicinal benefits. It is generally considered healthy for diabetic patients, as it helps in regulating blood sugar levels. It also reduces cholesterol. It is sometimes also used as a cure in case of intestinal problems or irritable bowel movements. Though studies have not proved it yet, it is believed to help in allergies, heart diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, HIV, Infections, etc. 

Cinnamon has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic properties. It is generally advised to consume it in small amounts, i.e., 2-4 grams of powder per day. 

What is Bay Leaf? 

Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) is a green-colored herb, which is used mostly in dried form. It is derived from several plants like Indian bay leaf, California bay leaf, Bay laurel, etc., that belongs to the Lauraceae tree family. When used in the preparation of dishes, they are often removed before serving the meals since, as such, they are pungent and bitter. Besides, it’s used in killing jars in entomology. 

Bay Leaf has been cultivated since ancient times. It was used for making wreaths of laurel that were used for crowing winning athletes in ancient Greece. Its medicinal usage began in the Middle Ages. 

Bay Leaf is rich in vitamins and minerals like Vitamin A, C, B6, calcium, manganese, and iron. While adding minimal calories to the food increases the number of antioxidants and fiber in a dish. 

Bay Leaf is believed to have certain medicinal properties. It is notable for boosting the immune system, reducing the risk of diabetes, and improving digestive health. However, despite its myriad benefits, it is not considered healthy to consume raw bay leaf. Its best consumed in a diluted state and in small amounts. Some health experts also suggest consuming soaked bay leaf water as a detox drink. 

Main Differences Between Cinnamon and Bay Leaf 

  1. Though both Cinnamon and Bay Leaf are obtained from plants, Cinnamon is categorized as a spice since it is sourced from the bark, while Bay Leaf is categorized as a herb since it is sourced from the leaves. 
  2. Cinnamon and Bay Leaf have distinct scientific nomenclature. Cinnamon is called Cinnamomum verum, while Bay Leaf is called Laurus nobilis. 
  3. Though both Cinnamon and Bay Leaf are used as edible spices, they are different in terms of what part of the plant is used. Cinnamon is prepared using the inner bark of the Cinnamon tree, while Bay Leaf are leaves of that plant. 
  4. Cinnamon and Bay Leaf have distinct appearances, aroma, and taste. Cinnamon is brown has a sweet smell and taste. Bay Leaf, on the other hand, is green and has a bitter-sweet flavor. 
  5. Cinnamon is indigenous to Sri Lanka and hence is also called Ceylon Cinnamon and is also grown in India, Burma, South America, and West Indies. Bay Leaf is cultivated in countries bordering the Mediterranean and having a similar climate. 
  6. Cinnamon is used as a spice in eatables. It is also used for its aroma in perfumes, drugs, and liquor. Bay Leaf is mainly used for flavoring and is removed after the cooking takes place in case of marinations, pickles, and flavor stews.

Conclusion

Both Cinnamon and Bay Leaf are two plant-based products, which are used as aromatic and flavoring agents in the preparation of food. Both are obtained from the trees of the same family, Lauraceae, but a different genus. 

However, they are different in several respects. Cinnamon is a spice derived from the inner bark of the tree, while Bay Leaf is a herb, essentially the leaf of the tree. Cinnamon is brown and has a sweet smell and taste, while Bay Leaf is green, is pungent, and tastes bitter-sweet in raw form. 

References   

  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10408390902773052
  2. https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/FullText/2018/01000/Bay_Leaf___Leaf_of_the_European_LaurelAn_Overview.10.aspx    
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