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Laurel | characteristics of spice | health benefits | spice in kitchen

Basic characteristic of laurel

Laurel (Laurus nobilis) is an ancient plant, for whose medicinal properties known the ancient Greeks and Romans. 

Greek philosophers and rulers have used the laurel for divination; the Roman Emperor Nero believed that laurel protects against plague, and in the invasion of the disease, he always hided in a nearby laurel forest. 

With the commencement of the Olympic Games in ancient Greece, the laurel wreath was a symbol of victory and the victors carried it on their head. 

In ancient times the laurel was considered as sacred wood – wood which belong to god Apollo. 

The origin of the laurel is Asia, but today laurel grows in warm regions of the Mediterranean coast. 

Laurel grows in the form of low evergreen tree or shrub, grows wild on the slopes of the rock. 

Bay leaves are oval, tapered and green color with a bitter taste. Laurel flowers are divided into male (green) and female (unobtrusive color). After flowering, it produces fruit in the form of berries.


Laurel is in use as leaves and fruits. The leaves are harvested throughout the year, dried and packaged. Dry bay leaves use in kitchens around the world, as strong and aromatic spice in the dishes.

Today the most famous types of laurel are Mediterranean and California bay leaf which has a stronger taste.

Nutritional Value of Laurel

Fresh bay leaves contain large amounts of vitamin C, vitamin A, and B group vitamins (riboflavin, B6, folic acid, Pantothenic acid).

Of minerals in the laurel can be found copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium.

From what encourages aromatic scent of laurel? 

The aroma of laurel comes from essential oils which occupies the highest percentage of quantitative chemical composition of laurel. The majority of the essential oils infused in fruit of laurel.

Other nutritional elements in laurel are : starch, dietary fiber, sugars, bitter substances, terpenes.

Health Benefits of Laurel

1. Impact on the digestive tract

Bay leaf helps with stomach cramps, nervous stomach, regulates digestion and prevents the accumulation of gasses in the intestines.

2. The impact on the respiratory system

Bay leaves are used as a natural remedy for expectoration. It is also used in the treatment of chronic obstructive bronchitis and colds.

3. The analgesic action of laurel

With essential oil, laurel belongs to the natural painkillers. - Removes all types of pain in the muscles, with hamstring, bruises and bumps. 

Laurel has a role to improve circulation in the muscles. It helps with the state of rheumatic pain and gout, because laurel acts anti-inflammatory.

4. Fungal infections

Antifungal activity of bay leaves helps in the treatment of fungal infections of the nails, where it is applied in the form of oil of laurel.

5. The antiviral activity

Laurel also has excellent antiviral properties, and is used in treatment of flu and colds.

6. Headaches and Migraines

Bay leaves contain substances that eliminate migraines.

7. Lymphatic drainage

The effect of laurel is also reflected in the strengthening of the lymphatic system, which is used in the treatment of varicose veins. 

The combination of an analgesic effect of laurel and action on the lymphatic system, helps in case of inflammation of the lymph nodes and glands.

It is enough to massaged it with one or two drops of laurel oil, and the pain will disappear.

8. The removal of dandruff

The water in which was standing laurel is used to rinse the hair affected with dandruff.

Use bay leaves as a spice

Bay leaves used in cooking to bring flavor and aroma to meals of meat, fish, sauces, sour soups. It is quite enough to put one or two bay leaves, because they are quite aromatic.

Preservation and storage of bay leaves

Bay leaves in the dried state are preserved in glass jars with lids, for prevent loosing aroma and taste. In a tightly closed jar in a dark place, bay leaves can be keeping more than two years.

* Dried bay leaves should be compact and in olive green color. If they are brown that means they have lost the taste.


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