Bay laurel is an evergreen plant from the Mediterranean area and it has a long history among the classical civilizations. For the Greeks and the Romans it was mostly an ornamental plant used in gardens, for garlands and offered to the winners in sports or poetic competitions but also to heroic soldiers. The laurel wreath became a symbol of victory.
Both its leaves and berries were used for medicinal purposes as they contain an essential oil with a high concentration of eucalyptol. The plant has narcotic and carminative properties, calming abdominal pain and favoring the evacuation of intestinal gas. In apothecary works from Transylvania bay laurel was also recommended as a stimulant.
|Ripe laurel berries|
|Dried laurel berries|
|19th-century glass jar for laurel berry powder, using the alchemical symbol for powder.|
|19th-cenury wooden apothecary jar with decorated cartouche|