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The properties of the laurel
Laurus nobilis: this is the scientific name of the laurel. It belongs to the Lauraceae family and is found in areas with a temperate climate, particularly on the northern coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. In Italy the plant grows spontaneously in the southern regions and is cultivated in the northern regions. During its growth it can take on the appearance of a bush or a tree and its leaves are green and oval in shape. The fruits of the plant are black.
The laurel is used during the cooking of different dishes, to give an aroma to the foods on which it is applied. Besides being able to be used in the field of cooking and gastronomy, this plant has several beneficial properties. The essential oil of laurel, for example, is known for its positive action on the nervous system and for the benefits it brings in the field of treating rheumatic pains. This type of oil can also be used in case of sprains and muscle tears. The action of the laurel, however, brings its main benefits to the digestive system: the essential oil takes care of the stomach, improving the digestion of food and performing a calming and invigorating action on the walls of the organ and a sort of protection of gastric mucosa. But where can this plant be found? It is available throughout the year, although the best months for harvesting the leaves are summer ones (especially July and August), since in this specific period they have a superior flavoring power. As for the fruits of the laurel it is recommended to collect them after September, so that they can ripen completely before being used. Fresh leaves can be used for food preparation. To dry them, it is necessary to keep them in a ventilated and dry place, away from direct sunlight, taking into account that once the leaves have dried they can be used within a year. Over this period of time the laurel loses its characteristic and intense aroma.
How to use bay leaves in the kitchen
As briefly mentioned, one of the most popular uses of laurel is the use of this aramotic plant in the kitchen. There are many dishes in which it can be used: it can be put in rabbit ragù, in octopus and potato salads, in soups, in soups, velvety and broths, in the preparation of fish and meat (such as sea bass, salmon, rabbit, chicken, veal, kid).
Laurel can also be used to create an infusion of laurel, using its leaves. The preparation is quite simple: it is necessary to carefully clean the leaves and then put them in distilled water, previously heated to the boiling point. It is then necessary to filter the mixture and the addition of vodka, sugar and lemon juice is recommended.
The medicinal properties of laurel
As previously mentioned, laurel can be used for body care and personal health. Its use has been synthetically explained in relation to the problems of the digestive system but it can also be used in the treatment of colds and influences. It is a good anti-catarrhal. The laurel berries are known for their healing properties, since they contain a precious oil rich in beneficial substances. The laurel powder, obtained after drying and crushing the berries, taken in the dose of one teaspoon a day, is an aid against the flu and colds, the problems of intestines and stomach, nervous and even diseases paralysis. Laurinate oil is obtained by crushing a small group of berries and macerating them in 500 ml of olive oil and can be used in the treatment of rheumatic pains: it must be rubbed on the parts affected by discomfort a few times a day. If boiled for a long time, the small berries can be used as an oily decoction, applied with compresses: these are very useful for a reinforcing action of the blood capillaries.
Property laurel: Curiosity and tradition
Laurel is used to decorate fences and gardens. The plant is often used for crowns symbolizing new graduates. In Greek-Roman myths and legends, laurel was considered a sacred plant and was a symbol of wisdom and glory: the laurel wreath was used to crown the winners of the Delphic games. Precisely for this reason it is identified as a symbol of victory. Moreover this plant was dear to the Greek god Apollo, since the nymph of whom the god fell in love was transformed from a maiden into a laurel plant. The Greek God then placed the aforementioned plant in the garden and promised to bring the leaves on its head, in the form of crowns.