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All the varieties of bay leaves have a sharp, bitter taste and are pungent. But, it is for the flavor they impart to foods, rather than the taste, that they are used. Bay leaf is used as a spice to impart flavor to a variety of dishes of various cuisines around the world, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Crushing the leaves imparts a more intense flavor than when they are used whole. When crushed they are used in a muslin bag.It is one of the constituents of the Indian Garam masala - a mixture of spices. Bay leaves also have the property of repelling flies, moths, roaches, mice etc. Bay leaf is a musky leaf from the perennial bay laurel tree.