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The leaves of the cherry-laurel, as well as the bark and the seeds of the tree, when distilled with water, yield a distillate of hydrocynanic acid and benzoic aldehyde (benzaldehyde, bitter almond oil). W.A. Tilden (Pharm. Jour. Trans., Vol.V, 1875, p.761), finds that the essential oil of cherry-laurel is not absolutely identical with that of the bitter almond; it consists mainly of benzoic aldehyde, and is accompained by hydrocyanic acid, possibly some benzoic alcohol, and minute quantities of a resin having the peculiar odor of the cherry-laurel leaf. Both substances consitute medicinal principles of Aqua Laurocerasi (Br.) or cherry-laurel water.
The formation of these substances suggests the presence of amygdalin in these parts of the plant. Lehmann(1874), testing the leaves for amygdalin, obtained 1.3 per cent of crystallizable but deliquescent bitter laurocerasin, which behaved toward the ferment emulsion exactly like amygdalin, yielding hydrocyanic acid, benzaldehyde and dextrose.
The leaves contain further the enzyms emulsin, prulaurasin, lauracerasin as a bitter glycosid and prunasin and sambunegrin. All these substances gave complains.
In larger concentration it can kill the reflexibility of the muscular fibres, diminishes, the coincious stays, milk in larger concentration the best antidote. Even sheep which ate too much leaves can die.
Also toxicology: excitement, red face, increased respiration, scraping throat, headache, Agmoe, heart failure
PARTS USED IN MEDICINE, AND MODE OF PREPARATION:
The Leaves, which are gathered in April and May. They are to be reduced to a fine paste in an iron mortar, mixed with equal parts of alcohol; express the juice, and then mix again with equal parts of alcohol. The mother tincture thus prepared serves to make the attenuations. Christison (Disp., 592) states that the hydrocyanated oil does not exist in the leaves ready formed, but seems to be produced by some mutual reaction of principles brought in contact with one another, when the cells of the plant are crushed and broken up.
J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Dec 3;51(25):7489-94.
Chemical and antioxidant properties of Laurocerasus officinalis Roem. (cherry laurel) fruit grown in the Black Sea region.
Kolayli S, Kucuk M, Duran C, Candan F, Dincer B.
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Karadeniz Technical University, 61080 Trabzon, Turkey.
Laurocerasus officinalis Roem. is a summer fruit highly characteristic of the Black Sea region. The edible parts of the fruit were tested for chemical composition and antioxidant properties. Total moisture, ash, protein, sugar, pectin, ascorbic acid, phenolic, and mineral contents of the fruit were determined. The antioxidant activity of the fruit was investigated using TLC plate and ferric thiocyanate methods. Its antioxidative character was also tested utilizing hydroxyl, DPPH, and superoxide radical scavenging activity measurements, using BHT, vitamin C, and Trolox as references. Besides being a good source of nutrients, L. officinalis was found to provide a rich source of protective antioxidant compounds. Its antioxidant and radical scavenging activities were comparable to or higher than those of the reference antioxidants. It appeared to have high mineral content. The concentrations of macroelements K, Mg, Ca, and Na were high at 2215 +/- 10.5, 179 +/- 11, 153 +/- 0.8, and 55 +/- 0.3 mg/kg, respectively, and the concentrations of trace elements Mn, Fe, Zn, and Cu were 24.2 +/- 1.3, 8.3 +/- 0.8, 1.9 +/- 0.2, and 0.8 +/- 0.1 mg/kg, respectively. In addition, the fruit showed very low contents of Pb, Ni, Co, and Cr, below the detection limits, which is considered to be a good food quality. As it is a rich source of protein, sugar, ascorbic acid, minerals, and antioxidants, L. officinalis is well worth further studies regarding its components possessing important health benefits and inclusion in the daily diet.