Laurel: benefits, medicinal properties and contraindications

Bay leaves

What is the laurel?

He laurel It is a tree whose leaves stand out for being commonly used in many homes for its important benefits and properties , reason why it has always become a common ingredient in the development of a wide variety of natural remedies. It also highlights its popular use in the kitchen, for its great aromatic power.

It is a tree that, from a historical point of view, came to be considered by the Greeks as the sacred tree of Apollo. Not in vain, the Romans used it as a symbol of victory.

Its components include the formic, pelargonic, acetic, cinnamic, lauric, caproic, propionic, linoleic and oleic acids. But it also contains camphene, terpinene, limonene and sabinene.

Known scientifically with the name of Laurus nobilis L., consists of a perennial tree belonging to the Lauráceas family. Its trunk is straight, smooth, which can exceed 10 meters in height (its average height varies between 6 to 12 meters in height), and is native to the Mediterranean area.

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What are the benefits of laurel?

The laurel is attributed antiseptic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and bactericidal effects. For this reason, it is common to find it as an ingredient in many natural remedies that pursue the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of respiratory disorders and diseases.

Of course, in regard to its food composition, the laurel contains carbohydrates, potassium, fiber, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin B6, folic acid and vitamin C, among others. It must be taken into account that it is not advisable to drink bay leaves in excess, since it can be harmful for those people who have a sensitive stomach.

Acts as a wonderful stomach tonic , which means that by helping in the segregation of the different digestive juices, especially in copious meals, is fundamentally digestive to facilitate peristaltic movements. That is, it acts as digestive tonic , facilitating digestions.

Main properties of laurel

But this digestive quality does not end here, since it is also capable of preventing the acidity of the stomach, and in case of gas and flatulence, it naturally helps in its expulsion. In addition, it is usually used to stimulate appetite, thanks to its content in different active ingredients capable of improving appetite. To enjoy this quality it is advisable to drink a laurel infusion before each main meal.

However, there is no doubt that the laurel is well known for its qualities and benefits for the respiratory system . Precisely for its antiseptic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and bactericidal benefits, it becomes a traditional natural remedy to treat and alleviate the different conditions and diseases of the respiratory system .

For example, laurel naturally helps in relieving symptoms - and discomfort - related to flu and colds, pharyngitis or bronchitis. Why? Fundamentally because it helps expectoration, helping our respiratory system to better expulsion of mucus (for its expectorant qualities).

Due to its antiseptic qualities, laurel externally helps to treat certain skin conditions caused by the spread of fungi.

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Main properties of laurel, in summary

Among the most important benefits that laurel has, we find that:

  • Stimulates the digestive system , increasing secretions and helping peristaltic movements, which facilitates digestion.
  • In cases of flu , bronchitis and other diseases of the respiratory system, acts as an expectorant.
  • It favors the elimination of liquid , so it helps the kidneys. In addition, it is good in slimming diets.
  • It diminishes the abundant rules and it favors those that are poor, reason why we can say that the laurel regulates the menstruation.
  • It also helps against anxiety and stress, being a relaxing plant.

The main uses of laurel in the kitchen

For its great aromatic power, and because its leaves are preserved almost perfectly throughout the year (because they are hard and leathery), the truth is that the laurel enjoys a privileged position in the kitchen of many houses , being used precisely as aromatic in broth dishes and soups.

For example, one of the most common uses of bay leaves in the kitchen is to flavor broths with meat, stewed and meat in sauce.

Medicinal properties of laurel

What are the contraindications of laurel?

An excessive consumption of laurel, especially in the form of infusion, can have digestive effects opposed to its ability to facilitate digestion, since it can cause annoying symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

In addition, its consumption is not recommended in case of digestive ulcer or gastritis, since it can be irritating and increase your discomfort. That is, its use is not advised in people with a delicate stomach.

On the other hand, its use is not recommended by children under 6 years of age, or during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Externally, its use on the skin is not advised in people with hypersensitivity to this tree, since it can cause the appearance of serious dermatological and allergic reactions. In addition, it can cause photosensitivity, so it is not recommended to sunbathe in areas that have been in contact with the laurel infusion (or creams made with it).

More information | Botanical On Line

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