Laurus nobilis L.
Laurus nobilis L.
French: Laurier noble Laurier sauce.
Laurel is a shrub of 2 to 6m, with evergreen foliage, giving as fruit a small ovoid berry of purplish-black color.
It is one of the many representatives of the Lauraceae family, which includes 45 genera and more than 1000 different species, distributed in all temperate and subtropical regions (Asia, Africa and America).
Some of these varieties, such as the Cherry Laurel, show high levels of toxicity.
In Greek antiquity, this tree is dedicated to Apollo. Mythology tells us how the nymph Daphne who fled before the advances of the god, was transformed into a laurel tree to escape him. But Apollo kissed him and bestowed immortality on him. And in memory of his first love, God made it his favorite tree and dedicated it to songs, triumphs, and poems.
Note also that in Antiquity, a category of diviners, called Daphnéphages, the forehead encircled with laurel, ate of its leaves before divination sessions. The Pythia of Delphi chewed bay leaves before rendering her oracles.
In external use, its effectiveness is remarkable on wounds, ulcers, mouth ulcers, psoriasis, infected skin diseases, acne, boils, muscle contractures. Laurel leaf infusion is used as a digestive stimulant, calming, anti-migraine, and as an anti-flu.
A decoction of the leaves is useful for cleaning wounds and burns, as an insect repellent liquid, or for destroying external parasites in animals.
An African recipe recommends the use of fresh leaves crushed with a pestle in the application on infected wounds, insect bites and skin diseases.
Let us add that the word "Baccalaureate" (bacca laureati: bay of laurel) is the diploma that was given to new medical doctors.
During the Middle Ages, those who stood out for their research or their knowledge were crowned with laurel. Symbol of fame, inspiration, and triumph, the laurel is also a symbol of peace.