Uses and Properties of Bay Laurel
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Lawrence Quao
Posted on: March 15, 2002

Can someone give me the properties of bay leaves? In other words, its uses and chemical composition.

Bay leaf is, of course, a culinary herb of great renown much used in Mediterranean cuisines such as the French and Italian. It is a small tree native to southern Europe and is grown as pot plant in cooler areas.

Bay is almost universally thought of as a culinary herb, but it does have medicinal effects too. According to John Lust in his book, "The Herb Book" (available from Richters), bay is "[a]stringent, carminative, digestive, stomachic. Bay oil, pressed from the berries and leaves, can be used in salves and liniment for rheumatism, bruises, and skin problems. Both fruit and leaves also stimulate the digestive apparatus. A decoction of fruit or leaves, made into a paste with honey or syrup, can be applied to the chest for colds and other chets problems."

For bay’s chemical composition Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases at http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/plants.html are an excellent source. Below is a list of non-ubitiquous chemicals in bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) from Dr. Duke’s database. You can get information about the medicinal properties of these chemicals at the database website.

1,8-CINEOLE Leaf 375 - 15,000 ppm

1-EPI-BICYCLOSESQUIPHELLANDRENE Leaf:

1-PENTEN-3-OL Leaf:

2-ETHYL-FURAN Leaf:

2-METHYL-BUTANAL Leaf:

2-METHYL-PROPANOL Leaf:

2-METHYL-PROPIONIC-ACID Leaf:

2-METHYL-PROPYL-2-METHYL-PROPIONATE Leaf:

2-METHYLETHYL-2-METHYLPROPIONATE Leaf:

2-METHYLPROPYL-ACETATE Leaf:

3-METHYL-BUTANAL Leaf:

3-METHYL-BUTANOL Leaf:

8-ACETOXYCARVOTANACETONE Leaf:

ACETIC-ACID Leaf:

ACETOEUGENOL Leaf 1 - 42 ppm

ALLO-AROMADENDRENE Leaf:

ALPHA-AMORPHENE Leaf:

ALPHA-BOURBONENE Plant:

ALPHA-CADINENE Leaf:

ALPHA-COPAENE Plant:

ALPHA-CUBEBENE Leaf:

ALPHA-GUAIENE Leaf:

ALPHA-GURJUNENE Leaf:

ALPHA-MUUROLENE Leaf:

ALPHA-PHELLANDRENE Leaf 10 - 120 ppm

ALPHA-PINENE Leaf 380 - 2,400 ppm

ALPHA-SELINENE Leaf:

ALPHA-TERPINENE Leaf 23 - 300 ppm

ALPHA-TERPINEOL Leaf 160 - 1,380 ppm

ALPHA-TERPINYL-ACETATE Leaf 656 - 1,000 ppm

ALPHA-TERPINYL-FORMATE Leaf:

ALPHA-THUJENE Leaf 480 - 600 ppm

ALPHA-YLANGENE Leaf:

ARTEMORIN Leaf 5,000 ppm;

BASSORIN Plant:

BENZALDEHYDE Leaf:

BETA-BISABOLENE Leaf:

BETA-CARYOPHYLLENE Leaf 30 - 180 ppm

BETA-CUBEBENE Leaf:

BETA-ELEMENE Plant:

BETA-EUDESMOL Leaf:

BETA-PHELLANDRENE Leaf:

BETA-PINENE Leaf 290 - 2,080 ppm

BETA-SELINENE Leaf:

BICYCLOGERMACRENE Leaf:

BICYCLOSESQUIPHELLANDRENE Plant:

BORNEOL Leaf:

BORNYL-ACETATE Plant:

BUTANAL Leaf:

BUTANOL Leaf:

CADINA-1(6),5-DIENE Plant:

CADINA-3,5-DIENE Plant:

CALAMENE Leaf:

CAMPHENE Leaf 24 - 186 ppm

CAMPHOR Plant:

CAPRYLIC-ACID Plant:

CARVONE Leaf:

CARYOPHYLLENE Leaf:

CARYOPHYLLENE-OXIDE Plant:

CINNAMIC-ACID Fruit:

CINNAMYL-ACETATE Leaf:

CIS-3-HEXANOL Leaf:

CIS-3-HEXENOL Leaf:

CIS-ALPHA-BISABOLENE Plant:

CIS-OCIMENE Leaf:

CIS-P-MENTH-2-EN-1-OL Leaf:

CIS-P-MENTHA-2,8-DIEN-1-OL Leaf:

CIS-SABINENE-HYDRATE Leaf:

COSTUNOLIDE Leaf 18,000 ppm;

CUBEBENE Leaf:

CUMINYL-ALCOHOL Leaf:

CYANIDIN Plant:

CYCLOSATIVENE Leaf:

DEHYDRO-1,8-CINEOLE Leaf:

DELTA-3-CARENE Leaf 15 - 162 ppm

DELTA-CADINENE Leaf:

DESACETYLLAURENOBIOLIDE Leaf 60 ppm;

ELEMICIN Plant:

ENANTHIC-ACID Plant:

ETHYL-2-METHYL-PROPIONATE Leaf:

ETHYL-PENTANOATE Leaf:

EUGENOL Leaf 18 - 1,335 ppm

EUGENYL-ACETATE Leaf:

FORMIC-ACID Leaf:

GAMMA-CADINENE Leaf:

GAMMA-ELEMENE Plant:

GAMMA-MUUROLENE Leaf:

GAMMA-TERPINENE Leaf 92 - 137 ppm

GERANIOL Fruit: Leaf:

GERANYL-ACETATE Leaf:

GUM Plant:

HEXADECANE Leaf:

HEXANAL Leaf:

HEXANOL Leaf:

ISOBUTYRIC-ACID Leaf:

KAEMPFEROL Plant:

LAURENOBIOLIDE Plant:

LAURENOLIDE Leaf:

LEDENE Leaf:

LEUCOCYANIDIN Leaf:

LIMONENE Leaf 80 - 500 ppm

LINALOL Leaf 800 - 3,340 ppm

METHANOL Leaf:

METHYL-CINNAMATE Fruit:

METHYL-EUGENOL Leaf 213 - 2,608 ppm

METHYL-HEPTENONE Leaf:

MYRCENE Leaf 33 - 320 ppm

MYRTENAL Leaf:

MYRTENOL Leaf:

NERAL Leaf:

NEROL Leaf:

NERYL-ACETATE Leaf:

P-CYMENE Leaf 62 - 340 ppm

PELARGONIC-ACID Leaf:

PENTANAL Leaf:

PENTANOIC-ACID Leaf:

PENTANOL Leaf:

PENTYL-ACETATE Leaf:

PERILLYL-ALCOHOL Leaf:

PHELLANDRAL Leaf:

PROPIONIC-ACID Leaf:

QUERCETIN Leaf:

REYNOSIN Leaf 2,500 ppm;

RUTIN Leaf:

SABINENE Leaf 450 - 2,650 ppm

SANTAMARINE Leaf 1,500 ppm;

TERPINEN-4-OL Leaf 238 - 1,380 ppm

TERPINOLENE Leaf 12 - 200 ppm

TETRADECANE Leaf:

THUJ-2-EN-4-OL Leaf:

TOLUENE Leaf:

TRANS-2-HEXENAL Leaf:

TRANS-CARVEOL Leaf:

TRANS-METHYL-EUGENOL Leaf:

TRANS-OCIMENE Leaf:

TRANS-SABINENE-HYDRATE Leaf:

TRIDECANE Leaf:

TULIPINOLIDE Root:

VALERIANIC-ACID Leaf:

VERLOTORIN Leaf 1,400 ppm;

VIRIDIFLOROL Leaf:

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