Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis L.)

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Family. Lauraceae General information

The Noble Laurel is an evergreen shrub or tree native to southern Europe. Currently cultivated in Mediterranean countries, Asia Minor, Transcaucasia, Crimea, and Guatemala.

Botanical description

The Noble bay leave is usually a low tree, 8-10 m tall, but can also be a semi-shrub, especially in the Maki Atwa bush. Laurel trees up to 18 m tall are less common. It can live up to 100 years. The trunk of the tree is up to 40 cm in diameter and the bark is dark grey. Tankilapia is pyramidal. Leaves are relatively stiff, leathery, glossy, elongated, and pointed at the top. They are 10-50 mm long and 20-50 mm wide. The leaf margins are elevated and wavy. The upper half of the leaves is dark green, and the lower half is lighter. Laurel flowers in March-April. Fruits are black-blue, juicy, fragrant cowberries
2 cm long, ovoid or elliptical. The fruit ripens between October and November.

Cultivation and preparation

Propagated by seeds (best method), cuttings, and cuttings. Seedlings are grown in the nursery or sown directly into the ground in autumn. The laurel plantations are located in subtropical areas where the absolute minimum temperature is below -12 °C. Young bay leaves and ripe fruit are collected for raw material. They are dried in a sunless place and spread in a thin layer. When well dried, the leaves are stiff, light green, and without a greyish tinge. Stored in an airtight container.

Active substances

The fruit contains 24-25 % green oil containing glycerides of lauric, palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acids, a fragrant yellowish essential oil (0,8 %), resins, lauric hydrocarbon, phytosterol, starch. The essential oil contains pinene and cineole. The seeds contain 72 % essential oil. The leaves have an essential oil content of 2,5 % to 3,5 %, of which almost 50 % is cineole, and 65 other components, including rutin.

Therapeutic effects

Antiseptic and analgesic properties. Bay leaves improve appetite and stimulate digestion.
Laurel leaf infusion is used to treat diabetes mellitus. For this purpose, 10 bay leaves are poured over 300 ml of boiling water and kept for 2-3 hours. Drink half a glass 3 times a day.

Laurel oil is an externally applied medicinal substance. The consistency of the bay oil ointment easily stimulates blood circulation and has an antiseptic effect, so it is used as a rub for lacerations, various skin rashes, muscle pain, rheumatism, and joint inflammation.
An ointment of powdered bay leaves in butter or olive oil (1:2) is used as a rub for arthritis, myositis, and neuralgia.

Uses for spices

Bay leaves have an aromatic smell and a bitter taste. Interestingly, even if bay leaves are stored for a long time and improperly, they do not lose their properties. The bay leaves or their powder are used for spices.
Bay leaves are the most commonly used spice in the food industry. They are added to processed cheese, pickles, pickles, patisons, tomatoes, vegetable pickles, mustard, and various soups. The bay leaf or its essential oil is used to flavor stewed meats and cooked and smoked sausages. Bay leaves have a strong antioxidant effect. They are present in herring and fish marinades.

Bay leaves are used in sour dishes, wild game and various types of roast meat, and in preserving vegetables. Bay leaves go particularly well with pickled cucumbers, beetroot, beans, and cabbage. They are also added to mushrooms. They are used in cooking wild poultry with sour cream, and in boiling fish. In the preparation of gravy from leftover juice from roasted meat. Suitable for crab, crayfish, herring. Bay leaves flavor cold meats, goulash, sauces. In all culinary traditions, bay leaves are used to flavor soups except dairy and fruit soups. However, no more than 1 leaf per 4 people is added. Bay leaves give a milder flavor to all salted, pickled, pickled, and smoked products. It is compatible with all spices used in savory dishes.

Some peoples use bay leaves in sweet dishes and drinks. In Kyrgyzstan, it flavors honey, and in Kalmykia, tea. In the Kuban, bay leaves flavor pear jam.

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