Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis

Laurel (Laurus nobilis L., 1753) commonly called Lauro is a plant widely used in temperate climate zones; Is an aromatic plant and officinal plant belonging to the Lauraceae family and laurus genus.

Systematic –
From the systematic point of view the laurel belongs to the Domain Eukaryota, Kingdom Plantae, Subkingdom Tracheobionta, Superdivision Spermatophyta, Division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, Subclass Magnoliidae, Order Laurales, family Lauraceae, and then to the genus Laurus nobilis L. and the species.

Etymology –
The name of this plant comes from the Latin “laus” = praise, to highlight the curative properties of the plant “praised” already from the ancients. The epithet of the species, that is, “nobilis” stands for illustrious, important, famous. For others, the vulgar name would be derived from the Celtic root “laur” = green. The common name and science both have a Latin derivation, the Greeks called Daphne this plant by virtue of the legend that he saw a nymph transformed into a laurel to escape from Jupiter to an eager Apollo.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Laurus nobilis is a common species along the northern coastal areas of the Mediterranean Sea, Spain to Greece and Asia Minor. In Italy it grows spontaneously in the central and southern areas along the coast, while in the northern regions it is cultivated. The spread and the extensive use made of it in Sicilian cuisine brought laurel to be included in the list of traditional Italian food products (P.A.T) of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (Mipaaf) as a typical Sicilian product. Due to its wide spread, that is spontaneous under natural conditions, it did identify a specific type of stain: The stain to laurel or Lauretum. It is the spontaneous form of plant association that settles in the less arid and cooler areas of the area generally occupied by the scrub.

Description –
The laurel often appears in shrubs, but only because it is often pruned. In fact, it is a plant that in natural conditions becomes a tall tree up to 10 m, with thin branches and glabres forming a dense pyramidal crown. It is an evergreen plant. It is a particularly pollinating species.
The plant’s wood is aromatic and emanates the typical scent of the leaves. The stem is erect, the black green bark.
The leaves, ovate, are dark green, coriacee, glossy on the top and dull in the lower one, they are also very fragrant. The laurel is a typically diocious plant, that is, it brings flowers, unisexual, in two different plants, one with male flowers and one with female flowers (which then carry the fruits). Unisuality is due to evolutionary phenomena of abortion starting from flowers initially complete. In feminine flowers, there are 2 to 4 stamina (non-functional stamina), similar to men, with feminine atrophic (non-functional and atrophied) parts. The flowers of light yellow, gathered to form an umbrella inflorescence, appear in spring, generally in March-April.
The fruits of the laurel are woods of black and shiny (maturity) with only one seed and the berries mature in October-November. Pollination is of the anemophilous type (produced by the wind), therefore, unlike most plants using entomophilic pollination (conducted by insects).

Cultivation –
For cultivation go to the specific tab.

Uses and Traditions –
The laurel, especially in cold temperate climates, where there are no other significant blooms, is an important source of nectar and pollen for bees.
Geraniol, eugenol, eucalyptol, pinene, terpineol, cineol, fellandrene are the essential oils of the laurel that make it aromatic and healing.
There are so many uses and traditions that are lost in the night of the bull’s day.
In Italy, it is well-known that a laurel crown should be placed on the head of a graduate student.
Legend has it that Dafne, daughter of Peneo, to escape the courtship of Apollo, asked to change her figure, so that under her touch turned into lauro.
In Roman-Greek mythology, the laurel was a sacred plant and symbolized wisdom and glory: a laurel wreath drew the forefront of the winners in the pitic or delphic games and was the greatest honor for a poet who became a graduate poet. Hence the figurative sense of symbol of victory, fame, triumph and honor. In addition, this plant was sacred to Apollo because Dafne, the nymph of which the god invaded, asked that the cause of Apollo’s invasion against him was eliminated, and therefore the human aspect was removed from him and turned into Alloro. At that point Apollo put the plant of Allo in his garden and swore to take it on his head in the form of crowns forever, and said that the Romans likewise did during the parades in the Capitol. It would have been Apollo, in fact, to make this evergreen tree.
For the Romans it was a symbol of success and nobility, so noble that even lightning could not strike it, is because it symbolized glory and power and dominance in all fields, with it crowned the emperors. This use persisted in the Middle Ages and with its branches of berries, the head of the new doctors in medicine was crowned, practiced for which the Italian word “graduate” and the French “baccalaureat” were used to honor all those who They obtained a university degree in Italy or, in France, the equivalent of our maturity certificate.
Even in China lauro is synonymous with victory and literary prestige.
In France and Germany he knows a funerary job, the coffins are covered with branches and are surrounded by crosses made up of his fronds.
Paraguay’s Guarany calls it “The Creator Verge” and “Through the Water of Life”, they see in it an image of the cosmic tree of the Axis of the world, whose ashes have “mixed with honey the power To purify; With its wood they produce the urns that will contain the skeletons of the dead babies.
She writes of Laurus nobilis Pietro Andrea Mattioli (doctor and botanist): “Let Laurino oil cook the mature orbachelle in the water. Imperfect from the bark that surrounds them make a certain greenness, which is sprinkled with hands in a basin, and it is rewarded … The great lauro to make oil Lautino, is that of the mountains, and that produces more leaves wide. The best is the cool, green, sharp, and bitter … “. And again: “Be sure, that in the houses, where its branches are, do not penetrate, nor come any fever of lightning … The most held peaches of Lauro boiled together with spice in white wine, they are beneficial to deafness and The suffixes of the ears, taking the hot steam with an ombutello … Trite the same peaks, together with the bottom, and with salt, and drink with warm water, solve the body, hunt down the phlegm, and the worms … ”

The “lauro” is often quoted in the Canzoniere di Petrarca. In fact, Laura (also the homophonic play that the poet realizes is functional to this metaphor), the woman loved by the lyrical one, is partially similar to this shrub (emblematic the sestina “Young woman under a green laurel “). Taking pictures of Greek mythology (especially the myth of Dafne and Apollo), laurel is a symbol of rejection and inaccessibility, Laura’s characteristics. The “lauro” is also a sacred plant to God Apollo and a symbol of wisdom and glory (in ancient times poets gained poetic honor through a laurel crown above the forehead, becoming “graduates”). Interestingly, the play of words designed by the poet: he realizes the approach of one side between “lauro-l’aura” (where the second word means “gold” and refers to the typical luster of the woman, especially to his hair ); While the pair Laura-l’Aura (= air) also appears, as in sonnet nº90 “They were the golden cape to the scattered aura”.
Fred Perry (known tennis and British entrepreneur) adopted as the symbol of his clothing two branches of laurel cross.
On 20 April 2015 the «Vlaamse laurier», the Flemish laurel, was entered in the European Register of Protected Geographical Indications (IGP). This species is characterized by a symmetrical shape (balls, cones, columns, etc.) and cold resistance (particularly appreciated by the customers of the northern countries).
The plant has aromatic, digestive, expectorant, stimulating, anti-rheumatic and drying properties. Used in the folk tradition for internal and external disorders but especially for those responsible for the gastrointestinal and respiratory system.
Leaf infusion is indicated for digestive disorders and intestinal swelling. Presence in the leaves of bitter substances and essential oil increases salivary and gastric secretion, resulting in improved digestive and assimilative capabilities.
Decoction of leaves is useful in the treatment of oral cavity infections, it is also recommended for stimulating and dehydrating pediloys.
The essential oil derived from the fruits is indicated for the treatment of joint pain (it is also used in veterinary medicine for the same purpose), bruising, bruising and muscle strain; Some drops of the same in warm water and a handful of leaves, allow to create a mildly fragrant, deodorant and stimulating bath.
A thin layer of laurel oil, passed on the animal’s pelas, defends them from the flies.
In the kitchen, laurel leaves are used both fresh and dry, stimulate digestion and are one of the aromas always present in the court bouillon where the fish is sown; Are added to flavor meat, salami, sweets, drinks, legumes, to prepare marinades and flavor cheeses.
The leaves are also used to pack dried figs and licorice.
Fresh fruits are used as flavorings in the preparation of some British beers.
Drydies can be grated like nutmeg, they are tonic, stimulating and antiseptic.
Laurino is a liqueur obtained by drinking alcohol in the woods, typical of Emilia.
Lauro has been used for many centuries as a remedy for many illnesses, especially against plague, still today it is used to refresh the environments: put sprouts in the closets, remove tarme.
The Laurel is an excellent natural pesticide against insects from cereals and legumes, you just put a few leaves in the containers. Good repellent effect, on scrolls, (chinole continence) will just crumble some leaves in the “strategic” places to keep insects at a distance.
In summary, the laurel leaves use either fresh or dried, one or two leaves to flavor: meat (especially roasts), fish, broth, soups and soups, herbs and infusions. But thanks to its essential oils, laurel is used in herbal medicine for healing or as a medication especially for: treating rheumatism, curing muscle pain and bruising, promoting digestion, attenuating fever, relaxing properties (in combined with chamomile and other herbs), take advantage of the expectorant properties, keeping moths away from cabinets and drawers. Depending on the disorder, use decoction, infusing or essential oil.

Preparation Method –
The leaves are used in the garden and can be used in various uses: in the kitchen, to flavor meat and fish, as a home remedy to remove the cobwebs from the cupboards (the best and most perfumed camphor substitute) to prepare refreshing desserts and quality Digestive or pedunculate, or treated with alcohol to obtain a scented and aromatic liquor from the digestive, stimulating, antiseptic properties and is useful against cough and bronchitis.
From the berries, an aromatic oil and medicinal properties can be obtained, a peculiar ingredient of the ancient Aleppo soap. It was also used to preserve books and parchment and to prepare classic laurel wreaths.
As mentioned, the laurel is among the recipes of the whole world to flavor meat, fish or vegetables. In Italy, it is mainly used for pig and game, but there are numerous recipes that require a laurel leaf also with other foods.
For its digestive properties, laurel is also used for beneficial drinks, including the so-called “canary”, a glass of hot water with a laurel leaf and a lemon zest to relieve stomach ache, even in children.
The laurel leaves can also be dried: after one year they must be thrown, as they lose most of their aroma.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Treben M., 2000. The Health of the Lord’s Pharmacy, Tips and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Publisher
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.

Attention: Pharmaceutical applications and surgical uses are indicated for information purposes only; they do not represent any prescription of a medical type; Therefore, no liability is accepted for their use for any aesthetic or food purpose.




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