Laurel
Title: Laurel
Additional Names: Bay laurel; Roman laurel; Turkish laurel; sweet bay
Literature References: Evergreen shrub, Laurus nobilis L., Lauraceae, bearing pale yellow flowers, shiny black berries and glossy aromatic foliage. Known since ancient times as a medicinal plant and spice; often used as a symbol of victory or achievement. Habit. Mediterrean region. Constit. Leaves: volatile oil (1-3%), costunolide, laurenobiolide, catechins, proanthocyanidins, alkaloids, plant acids. Fruit: fatty oil (25-55% ), sesquiterpine lactones, volatile oil (1-4%). Comprehensive description: S. Kumar et al. in Handbook of Herbs and Spices, K. V. Peter, Ed., (CRC Press, Boca Raton, 2001) pp 52-61. Composition of essential oil: M. Ozcan, J.-C. Chalchat, J. Med. Food, 8, 408 (2005). Reviews of composition and uses: A. Y. Leung, S. Foster, Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, (Wiley-Interscience, Hoboken, 2nd Ed., 2003) pp 69-72; J. Gruenwald et al., PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics, Montvale, 3rd Ed., 2004) p 500.
 
Derivative Type: Laurel berry oil
CAS Registry Number: 8002-41-3
Literature References: Fixed oil from fresh fruit. Constit. Chiefly lauric, palmitic, oleic acids, volatile oil, sesquiterpene lactones.
Properties: Greenish, fatty solid. d ~0.88. mp ~40°. nD25 1.4783. Sapon no. 198-199. Iodine no. 68-80. Insol in water. Sparingly sol in alcohol; sol in benzene, ether, carbon disulfide.
Melting point: mp ~40°
Index of refraction: nD25 1.4783
Density: d ~0.88
 
Derivative Type: Laurel leaf oil
Additional Names: Oil of sweet bay; bay leaf oil; volatile oil of laurel
Literature References: Obtained by steam distillation from leaves of Laurus nobilis L., Lauraceae. Constit. Eucalyptol (30-60%), a- and b-pinene, a-terpineol, sabinene, linalool.
Properties: Light yellow to yellow liquid with aromatic spicy odor. d2525 0.905-0.929. nD20 1.465-1.470. Rotation: -10° to -19°. Acid no. not >3.0. Sapon no. 15-45; 36-85 after acetylation. Sol in most fixed oils, in 1 vol 80% alcohol, with cloudiness in mineral oil, propylene glycol. Insol in glycerin. Keep well closed, cool and protected from light.
Index of refraction: nD20 1.465-1.470
Density: d2525 0.905-0.929
 
NOTE: Should not be confused with West Indian bay, Pimenta racemosa, or California laurel, Umbellularia californica.
Use: Culinary herb (bay leaf), component of bouquet garni; flavoring agent. Fragrance component in soaps, creams, lotions, detergents, perfumes.
Therap-Cat: Rubefacient; in treatment of rheumatism and gout; carminative.

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