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Uses: Leaves - fresh or dried. A spicy, aromatic flavouring, bay leaves are commonly used as a flavouring for soups, stews etc and form an essential ingredient of the herb mix 'Bouquet Garni'. The leaves can be used fresh or are harvested in the summer and dried. The flavour of freshly dried, crushed or shredded leaves is stronger than fresh leaves, but the leaves should not be store for longer than a year since they will then lose their flavour. The dried fruit is used as a flavouring. The dried leaves are brewed into a herbal tea
Used plant part
Leaves. Industrial, laurel oil is prepared from the fruits, which may also be used as a spice.
Plant family Lauraceae (laurel family).
Sensoric quality Aromatic and slightly bitter. (see also fenugreek on bitter spices).
The essential oil from the leaves (0.8 to 3%) contains mostly 1,8 cineol (50%); furthermore, eugenol, acetyl eugenol, methyl eugenol, α- and β-pinene, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol and terpineol are found.
The dried fruits contain 0.6 to 10% of essential oil, depending on provenance and storage conditions. Like the leaves, the aroma is mostly due to terpenes (cineol, terpineol, α- and β-pinene, citral), but also cinnamic acid and its methyl ester are reported.
From laurel fruits, a green mass (melting point about 30 °C) can be extracted, which contains several percent of essential oil (main components are two sesquiterpenoids, costunol and dehydrocostuslacton), but is mainly composed of fat: Triglycerides of lauric acid (dodecanoic acid), myristic acid (tetradecanoic acid) and elaic acid.
As a medicinal plant, bay leaves and berries have been employed against rheumatism, skin rashes and ear aches and to promate abortion. The leaves are antiseptic, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic in large doses, emmenagogue, narcotic, parasiticide, stimulant, stomachic, and insect repellent. The essential oil is ussed by the cosmetic industry in creams, perfumes and soaps.