Meet Salam, The Original Spice of Indonesia. Salam is better known as a bay leaf, one of original spice plants from Indonesia. In Latin called Syzygium Polyanthum. Laurel belongs to a tribe of Syzygium.
Physically, laurel has many branches and leaves. It is 25 m high. Bay leaves are circular or oval like an egg. Base and tip of the leaf are tapering and flat edges. Inflorescence is in the form of grains, white, bowl-shaped and fragrant. The plant bears berries which are spherical and crimson.
We can easily find laurels as they grow wild in the forests, or planted in the yard, lowlands particularly in Java and Sumatra. Grow in soil at an altitude of 225-450 meters above sea level, with a rainfall 3,000-4,000 mm/year for the kind of dusky Latosol. To reproduce this plant is by seed, and requires enough water. Salam also takes a bit slow to grow.
Why Salam is so special? As mentioned at the beginning, talking about this plant must not be separated from the leaves. Indonesians use many bay leaves for seasoning since the time of their ancestors. Just mention some famous recipes such as Soto Ayam (chicken soup), Opor Ayam (chicken in pepper and coconut curry), Gulai Kambing (goat coconut curry), Sambal Goreng Hati (fried liver with spicy sauce), Oseng Tempe Kacang Panjang (fried soybean cakes and long beans), Pepes Ikan (steamed fish in banana leaves) and others. Almost of all Indonesian recipes use these fragrant leaves to add flavor to dishes. It is because bay leaves emit a distinctive herbal aroma but not strong.
Still about the benefits, traditionally steeping of the bark or leaves efficacious for treating abdominal pain. Drink the steeping water to stop excessive defecation. In addition, the bay leaf is also used to treat gout, stroke, high cholesterol, blood circulation, stomach ulcers, itchiness, diabetes and some other diseases.
The use of leaves as the above medicines is caused by the elements inside. In a dry bay leaf contained about 0.17% essential oil, with an important component Methyl Eugenol and Chavicol (Methyl-Chavicol) in it. Ethanol extract of leaves showed the effects of anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, while the methanol extract is anti-worm, especially in the pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus Xylophilus). Chemical contents in the laurel consist of Essential oils, Tannins and Flavonoids.
And what about the fruit, can we eat it? For the curious, have a try. Don’t worry about the taste. The fruit of this laurel has nice and sweet flavors when it is ripe.
One more use of Salam. Bark contain dyes that are often used to color craft items from bamboo. That is all about our introduction to Salam, The Original Spice of Indonesia. Through the leaves, bark, roots and fruits – the Laurels leaved traces in food and traditional medicine of Nusantara. (Let’s learn Bahasa and the unique Indonesian culture!)
- Ensiklopedi Indonesia,
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