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---Synonyms---Sweet Bay. True Laurel. Bay. Laurier d'Apollon.
Roman Laurel. Noble Laurel. Lorbeer. Laurier Sauce. Daphne.
---Part Used---Leaves, fruit, oil.
A greenish-yellow volatile oil is yielded by distillation from the leaves
which contains a high percentage of oxygenated compounds. The berries
contain both fixed and volatile oils, the former, known as Oil of Bays,
includes laurostearine, the ether of lauric acid. Laurin can
be extracted by alcohol.
A frequent substitute for the expressed oil is said to be lard-coloured
with chlorophyll or indigo and turmeric, scented with the berries. Boiling
alcohol, which dissolves the true oil, will detect this.
The volatile oil contains pinene, geraniol, eugenol, cineol, etc.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The bark of the
root is effectual to break the stone and to open obstructions of the liver,
spleen, and other inward parts which bring the jaundice, dropsy, etc. The
berries are effectual against all poisons of venomous creatures, and the
sting of wasps and bees, as also against the pestilence, or other infectious
diseases and therefore put into sundry treacles for that purpose.
They procure women's courses, and seven of them given to a woman in sore
travail of childbirth do cause a speedy delivery, and expel the afterbirth.
The berries should not therefore be taken by such as have not gone out of
their time, lest they procure abortion, or cause labour too soon.
They wonderfully help all cold and rheumatic distillations from the brain to
the eyes, lungs or other parts; and being made into an electuary with honey,
do help the consumption, old coughs, shortness of breath, and thin rheums,
as also the megrim.
A bath of the decoction of the leaves and berries is singularly good for
women to sit in that are troubled with the mother, or the diseases thereof,
or the stoppings of their courses, or for the diseases of the bladder, pains
in the bowels by wind and stopping of urine. A decoction of equal parts of
Bay berries, Cumin seed, Hyssop, Origanum and Euphorbium, with some honey,
and the head bathed therewith, doth wonderfully help distillations and
rheums, and settles the palate of the mouth into its place.
The oil made of the berries is very comfortable in all cold griefs of the
joints, nerves, arteries, stomach, belly or womb; and helpeth palsies,
convulsions, cramp, aches, trembling and numbness in any part, weariness
also, and pains that come by sore travailing.
All griefs and pains proceeding from wind, either in the head, stomach,
back, belly or womb, by anointing the parts affected therewith; and pains of
the ears are also cured by dropping in some of the oil, or by receiving into
the ears the funic of the decoction of the berries through a funnel. The oil
takes away the marks of the skin and flesh by bruises, fails, etc. and
dissolves the congealed blood in them. It helpeth also the itch, scabs and
wheals in the skin.