Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Laurocerasus officinalis

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prunus laurocerasus L.



Traditional name

Kirsebærlaurbær / Laurbærkirsebær
     Cherry Laurel / English Laurel
     harilik loorberkirsipuu

Used parts

Preparation: Tincture of the young leaves


Laurocerasus officinalis {Prunus laurocerasus}
     Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Rosiflorae / Rosidae; Rosales; Rosaceae - Rose Family


Original proving

History and authority: Proved and introduced in 1828 by Jorg, Hartlaub and Nenning; Hering:  Guiding Symptoms , Vol. VII, 27; Allen:  Encyclop. Mat. Med.,  Vol. V, 506.  (Pharmacopea)

First proven by Dr. Jorg. (Douglass Materia Medica)

Proved and introduced in 1828 by Jörg, Hartlaub and Nenning.

Description of the substance


Cherry-laurel is a small evergreen tree, native of Asia Minor, and often cultivated as an ornamental shrub in the southern part of Europe. The flowers are small, white, and disposed in axillary racemes, which are shorter than the leaves. The fruit is an ovate, acute, purple drupe, with a globular stone. The leaves are very thick and leathery, about 6 inches in length, and one-third as broad, tapering at the apex to a sharp point, and at the base to a short leaf-stalk. The margin is denticulated with sharp, appressed, rather distant,serrate teeth. The upper surface of the leaf is of a bright-shining green colour; the lower pale and dull. The tree belongs to the section of Cerasus (Jussieu), which, by many botanists, is considered distinct from Prunus, chiefly on account of the globular fruit-stone.

     This evergreen perennial shrub grows from fifteen to twenty feet in height; has become completely naturalized in this country generally resisting the winters, but a very severe frost will destroy it. Merat states that a cold of 14° Fahrenheit will injure it, and the severe frost of 1837 - 8 destroyed vast numbers in this country. It is a very general inhabitant of our pleasure - grounds. Its flowers are white, slightly tinged with yellow; long and clustering. Its berries are deep purplish black, larger than the common berry, and have a sweetish not unpleasant taste. The leaves are of a beautiful glossy shining green; elliptic, oblong; four to eight inches in length; slightly serrated on the edge; stiff and leathery, and provided with a gland on each side of the midrib, half an inch above the insertion of the leaf - stalk. They have no fragrance until bruised, and they then emit a strongish odour, like ratifia, which is strongest in the young undeveloped leaves during the months of May and June.

English laurel is a dense and bushy wide spreading evergreen shrub or small tree. It can get as big as 30' tall with an even larger spread. Most cultivars stay much smaller, though. English laurel has shiny oblong leaves 3-6" long that are dark green on top and pale underneath. In late spring it bears fragrant creamy white flowers in upright racemes 3-6" long. [A "raceme" is an inflorescence with stalked flowers which radiate off a single unbranched stem. If the flower stalks were branched the inflorescence would be called a "panicle", and if the flowers didn't have stalks at all, it would be a "spike."] The individual flowers are cup shaped with 5 petals and are almost a half-inch across. The fruits are 1/2" cherrylike drupes that ripen to dark purple. There are more than 40 named cultivars selected for leaf shape, growth form, and flowering characteristics. 'Camelliifolia' has conspicuously twisted leaves. 'Marbled White' has leaves with white mottling. 'Otto Luyken' has small leaves and gets 3' tall with a 5' spread; it tolerates deep shade. 'Zabeliana' is a low, wide-spreading shrub to 3' tall and 8' wide or more; it has narrow, willow-like leaves and often flowers a second time in autumn.
English laurel is native to SE Europe and SW Asia. It has been grown as a hedge and ornamental garden shrub in Europe for more than 400 years.
English laurel grows best on a slightly acidic soil. Prune after flowering. Shearing for hedge growth results in unsightly mutilated leaves; it's best to prune individual branches. This is a fast growing shrub under ideal conditions, and if not clipped some of the cultivars will grow to tree stature.
Light: Full sun to shade. English laurel is quite tolerant of shade. It does best with more shade in hot climates and more sun in colder areas. Some of the cultivars are tolerant of deep shade.
Moisture: Provide regular garden watering; English laurel is not considered drought tolerant.
Hardiness: USDA Zones 6 - 9. Hardiness varies among cultivars.
Propagation: Root semi-hardwood cuttings in summer with bottom heat.
English laurel is a popular specimen shrub, especially in Europe, the British Isles and on the American West Coast. It is often used in groupings. English laurel responds very well to pruning and is therefore widely used as a hedge. It is evergreen and dense enough to make a suitable screen. English laurel does well in the shade and is tolerant of salt spray and coastal conditions. The dark green foliage is dense and attractive year round and the flowers, although perhaps too sweet-smelling, are especially showy against the glossy foliage.
The common and botanical names reflect the English laurel's superficial resemblance to the true laurel, or bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), an unrelated tree in the Lauraceae whose leaves are used as a spice.
There are more than 300 species of plums and cherries (genus Prunus). P. caroliniana, from the eastern U.S., is very similar to P. laurocerasus, and is also called cherry laurel. Other well known Prunus are plums, apricots, almonds, peaches, nectarines, cherries and flowering cherries.
The foliage may be toxic to livestock.

New Phytol. 2005 May;166(2):589-94.  
Plant-microbe interactions: identification of epiphytic bacteria and their ability to alter leaf surface permeability.
Schreiber L, Krimm U, Knoll D, Sayed M, Auling G, Kroppenstedt RM.
Institut fur Zellulare und Molekulare Botanik, Universitat Bonn, Kirschallee 1, 53115 Bonn, Germany.

Bacteria were either isolated from leaf surfaces of Hedera helix or obtained from a culture collection in order to analyse their effect on barrier properties of isolated Hedera and Prunus laurocerasus cuticles. On the basis of the 16S rDNA sequences the genera of the six bacterial isolates from Hedera were identified as Pseudomonas sp., Stenotrophomonas sp. and Achromobacter. Water permeability of cuticles isolated from H. helix was measured before and after inoculation with the six bacterial strains. In addition water permeability of cuticles isolated from P. laurocerasus was measured before and after inoculation with the three bacterial strains Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Xanthomonas campestris and Corynebacterium fascians. Rates of water diffusing across isolated cuticles of both species significantly increased by up to 50% after inoculation with all bacterial strains. Obtained results show that epiphytic bacteria have the ability of increasing water permeability of Hedera and Prunus cuticles, which in turn should increase the availability of water and dissolved compounds in the phyllopshere. Consequently, living conditions in the habitat phyllosphere are improved. It can be concluded that the ability to change leaf surface properties will improve epiphytic fitness of leaf surface bacteria.

 Hoppe Seylers Z Physiol Chem. 1975 Dec;356(12):1853-7.   
[A new mandelonitrile lyase from the cherrylaurel (Prunus laurocerasus)
Gerstner E, Kiel U.

Mandelonitrile lyase has been isolated from the seeds of Prunus laurocerasus and characterized. The enzyme is a glycoprotein and contains FAD as prosthetic group. It has an absorption spectrum of the hydrophobic type. The molecular weight is 60000. The new mandelonitrile lyase catalyses both formation and cleavage of D-(+)-benzaldehyde cyanohydrin. Despite the existence of marked morphologic and biochemical differences between P. laurocerasus and P. amygdalus (var. sativa) (sweet almond) the enzymes isolated from the seeds of the two Prunoideae species are closely related, as judged from their immunological properties. However they exhibit specific differences in the isoelectric points and quantitative distribution of the three isoenzymes.