Laurel noble is a cult tree associated with Ancient Greece, with the mythological image of the ancient god Apollo, which is a symbol of male beauty. And laurel is also one of the most popular spices, widely used in cooking and preservation. In folk medicine, with the use of laurel noble, they prepare tinctures, rubbing and decoctions that are effective against various diseases. Laurel is grown in our garden both in the garden (in the southern regions) and in indoor conditions. This article will tell you about the features of laurel cultivation and its use in medicine and cooking.
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Laurel plant in history, myths and legends
The famous Ovid in his “Metamorphoses” tells that Apollo, who lived among people, fell in love with the nymph Daphne and constantly pursued her. Once, after defeating the serpent Python, Apollo met the young God of Love Eros with a bow and arrow and made fun of him: “Why do you, kid, need a bow and arrows? Do you think you will surpass me in the art of shooting? ” This mockery offended Eros, and he sent two arrows in revenge. The first, the arrow of love, pierced Apollo, and the second, killing love, hit Daphne.
Since then, Daphne has always run away from Apollo. No amount of contrivance helped him. Exhausted by suffering, eternal persecution, Daphne turned to her father Peney and Earth to take her image from her. After these words, she turned into a laurel bush (it is curious that in Russia until the XNUMXth century, the bay leaf was called “daphnia” (“laurel” in Greek – “daphne”). The saddened Apollo since then began to wear a wreath of evergreen laurel.
In Greece, dwellings were decorated with laurel leaves to refresh the room. Laurel branches were placed in the mattresses so that prophetic dreams could be dreamed. There was a belief that laurel saves from a lightning strike. So, the fact is known that the Roman emperor Tiberius, during the thunderclaps, put on a laurel wreath and crawled under the bed.
Lavr the Noble (Laurus nobilis) Is a subtropical tree or shrub, a species of the genus Laurus (Laurus) of the Laurel family.
The laurel branch, like the laurel wreath, is considered a symbol of glory, victory and peace. From the name of this plant came:
- Names: Laurus, Lawrence, Laura, Lorenz;
- The word “laureate” means “crowned with laurel”;
- Expressions: “to reap laurels” – to enjoy the fruits of your success, “to rest on your laurels” – to stop striving for further victories, to be content with what has been achieved.
Laurel was considered a sacred tree, laurel wreaths adorned the heads of the winners in Ancient Greece. Laurel leaves are widely used as a spice (bay leaf).
Description of the noble laurel
The birthplace of the noble laurel is the Mediterranean. On the territory of Russia, it grows in the southwestern regions of the Krasnodar Territory. A low evergreen tree of the laurel family up to 8-10 m tall, but it can also be a tree-like shrub. Sometimes in the forests there are trees up to 18 m tall.
The trunk of the tree is up to 40 cm in diameter with dark gray bark. The dense crown is usually pyramidal in shape. Leaves on short petioles, simple, alternate, leathery, shiny, whole-edged, have an oblong shape, pointed upwards, and narrowed towards the base. Above they are dark green, and below they are lighter, with a clearly visible feathery venation, slightly wavy along the edge. They have a strong characteristic odor.
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Laurel is a dioecious plant and its flowers are unisexual. On some trees, small staminate flowers are collected in axillary inflorescences of 6-12 pieces, their perianth is simple, calyx-shaped, of four greenish-yellow or white leaves. On other trees, only pistillate flowers, which are even smaller than staminate ones, are collected 2-3 in the leaf axils. Fruits are black-blue, juicy, fragrant drupes up to 2 cm long, ovoid or elliptical in shape, with a large stone. It blooms in March-April, and the fruits ripen in October-November.
The value of bay leaves is indisputable, since it contains essential oil (4,5%), cineole, acetic, valerian, caproic acid. The leaves contain pinene, geraniol, eugenol. The fruits and leaves contain tannins, bitterness.
It is used to treat chronic cholecystitis, gallstone disease. Decoctions of bay leaves improve digestion, stimulate appetite, and have a beneficial effect on many organs. An essential oil for the food industry is obtained from leaves, fruits and flowers. Partially used in perfumery and soap industry.
The use of bay leaves in cooking
Bay leaf has a faint odor and a bitter taste. Leaves (dried and green), fruits and powder made from dried leaves, as well as briquettes, into which the powder is sometimes pressed, are used as spices. It is widely used in cooking and canning.
Bay leaf is sometimes called a spice, so often it is used. It refines and aromas primarily sour dishes (sauces, gravies). It is also added to the first courses – soups (meat, vegetable, fish, etc.), cabbage soup, borscht. Bay leaves spice up the second courses of lamb, beef, pork, combined with boiled and stewed fish. It harmonizes with vegetable dishes from beans, peas, beans, cabbage, carrots.
Bay leaf, unlike many other spices, can be added 5 minutes before cooking in the first and 7-10 minutes in the second courses. Bookmark rates from 1-2 to 3-4 leaves per dish. After laying the spice, the lid is closed, the leaf is removed from the finished dish.
Bay leaf is an irreplaceable spice for straightening the taste and smell of jelly, dishes from offal. It is used in the food industry in the manufacture of cheeses, sausages, pates, stews, sauces, marinades, in canning fish products, in the preparation of mayonnaise, ketchup, etc. It is part of many spicy mixtures: “Khmeli-suneli”, “Bouquet of garni ” and etc.
In home canning, it is used especially often when pickling tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beets, cabbage, beans, mushrooms. In combination with other spices and spices, it gives the marinades a pleasant piquant taste and peculiar aroma. It is also used in pickles, where it performs a slightly different function, giving the product a more delicate taste.
In Western Europe, there is a tradition of adding bay leaves to some types of preserves for canning and to some sweet dishes, drinks and desserts in cooking.
Growing laurel noble
Laurel feels best in lighted areas, but it can also tolerate light shading. Withstands a short-term drop in temperature to 10-12 degrees below zero. It tolerates drought well and is not picky about soils. Organic and mineral fertilizers have a beneficial effect on the growth and development of laurel. As an industrial culture, laurel has been growing in one place for about 60 years.
On plantations, laurel is grown in subtropical regions, where the minimum temperature does not drop below 12 degrees. Before sowing seeds, the soil is plowed to a depth of 40-45 cm. Organic (4-6 kg / m²) and mineral (in full dose) fertilizers are applied for plowing. After that, the site is harrowed and cultivated two or three times. Planting is carried out in autumn or early spring with intervals between rows 1-2 m, with intervals between plants 1-1,5 meters.
On plantations, laurel is looked after by weeding, cultivation, watering and pest control. Laurel can also be grown indoors.
Laurel leaves are harvested from November to February from trees that have reached three to four years of age. Branches with leaves are cut off and dried in the shade for seven to ten days. Then the leaves are removed, sorted and placed in bags, which are stored in dry rooms. In order to obtain the essential oil, the leaves are sent for processing fresh.
Propagation of laurel by cuttings
Laurel is propagated by seeds, cuttings and layering. The most common method is propagation by semi-lignified cuttings. Laurel cuttings are carried out in the spring (March-April) or in the summer (June-July). For harvesting cuttings, annual (matured, but not lignified) shoots of laurel are used. Cuttings (6-8 cm long, with three internodes), taken from the middle or lower part of the shoots of a laurel bush, are cut obliquely under the third node. The bottom sheet is removed and the top sheets are cut in half.
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As a substrate for rooting laurel cuttings, you can use coarse sand, or a mixture of moss and sand, or turf soil and sand: a layer of drainage is poured into the pot, then a layer of turf soil (about 4 cm), and a layer of sand on top (about 3 cm), moisten and plant cuttings to a depth of 1-1,5 cm.
Rooting of cuttings works well in a “greenhouse bag”, or in a cuttings, or under a glass jar. It is advisable to spray and ventilate cuttings for quick rooting daily. At a temperature of 16-20 degrees, the cuttings take root in about a month.
Reproduction of laurel by seeds
Planting material is grown from seed in nurseries or seeds are sown directly into the ground. Seeds harvested from special mother trees quickly lose their germination, which is why they are sown immediately after harvesting in the fall to a depth of 4-5 cm.When shoots appear, the plants are thinned out at a distance of 6-8 cm.
Laurel seeds are large, oval in shape, up to 2 cm in length, with a thin fleshy membrane that prevents them from drying out and premature germination. Seeds of laurel, like all laurels, do not tolerate drying and remain viable only for 3-5 months if stored in a cool, damp room.
Before sowing the seeds, they must be freed from the shell, otherwise they will germinate for a very long time. It is best to sow them immediately in separate pots with a capacity of at least one liter or in the ground, immediately to a permanent place. Seeds sprout from April to August. It also happens that individual seeds can begin to germinate as early as January, but then, if severe frosts hit, such seedlings usually die.
Growing laurel indoors
It is best to keep plants in rooms in winter at a temperature of about 10 degrees Celsius, in spring it is best to take the plant outside. In the first year, seedlings do well without feeding, but starting from the second year of growing, you can use any mineral fertilizers in the form of a solution in small doses. Laurel is very tolerant of various types of soils, it does not tolerate only too wet.
By growing laurel at home, you will acquire a wonderful beautiful evergreen plant. And besides, the opportunity to prepare this wonderful spice with your own hands – bay leaf.
Laurel in folk medicine
Infusion of bay leaves: brew 1 cup boiling water 2 tbsp. l. crushed leaf, insist 1-2 hours, wrapped warmly, drain. In case of discharge from the ear, rinse the ear canals and instill warm infusion of bay leaves into the ear. After instillation, cover the ear opening with a cotton swab. The procedure should be done 2-3 times a day or 1 time at night.
Infusion of laurel leaves: Brew 300 ml of boiling water, 5 g of crushed leaves, insist in a thermos for 3 hours, strain through 2-3 layers of gauze, bring the volume to the original. Take orally with spastic pain in small sips the entire dose within 12 hours. The course of treatment is 2 days.
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Infusion of laurel leaves: pour 3 cups of boiling water over 10 pure laurel leaves, leave for 2 hours in a thermos, strain. Take regularly 1/2 cup 3 times a day for diabetes.
Decoction of laurel leaves: Brew 300 ml of boiling water 5 g of bay leaf, boil over low heat or in a water bath for 5 minutes, insist in a thermos for 4-5 hours, drain. Drink the cooked broth in small sips for 12 hours to clean the joints. Repeat the procedure for 3 days. After a week, repeat for 3 more days. On the days of treatment – only vegetarian meals. Cleaning the joints for the first year should be carried out quarterly, then once a year and always after cleaning the intestines. If this is not done, untreated intestines under the influence of a decoction of bay leaves can become a source of allergic emissions.
Tincture of laurel leaves: pour 0,5 liters of vodka into 1 cup of chopped bay leaf and leave for 14 days in a dark, warm place, occasionally shaking the contents, then strain. Take 1 tbsp. l. 3 times a day 0,5 hours before meals until cure (for throat cancer).
A very aromatic fatty oil is obtained from the ripe fruits of laurel, which is used in medicine as an external antiseptic for abscesses and skin rashes, as well as against muscle pain, muscle inflammation, with sprains and dislocations, for rubbing with paralysis, rheumatism. In folk medicine, laurel oil is used in the treatment of chronic cholecystitis and gallstone disease. For the same purposes, you can use oil made from laurel leaves.
Laurel oil can be prepared in the following way: place 30 g of finely chopped bay leaves in a bowl, pour 200 ml of linseed or sunflower oil over them and insist in a warm place for 7 days, then strain and squeeze.
Chewed laurel leaves applied to wounds help with poisonous insect and snake bites. Fresh laurel leaves are useful in the form of a medicinal bandage for hornet and bee bites. According to ancient scientists, laurel is an antidote to any poison you drink. If a piece of wood of laurel is tied to a cradle, the child will stop crying and fall asleep.
All parts of the tree have good disinfectant properties. For indigestion, drink 4-5 drops of laurel juice with water. In the same way, ear pain and deafness are treated, and spots are removed from the face. Laurel leaves, when worn on the body, prevent hallucinations.
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