Cherry Laurel

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Cherry Laurel

Botanical Name: Prunus laurocerasus (LINN,)
Family: N.O. Rosaceae
Part Used: The leaves.
Habitat: Asia Minor; cultivated in Europe.

Description: A small evergreen tree rising 15 to 20 feet, with long, spreading branches which, like the trunk, are covered with a smooth blackish bark. Leaves oval, oblong, petiolate, from 5 to 7 inches in length, acute, finely toothed, firm, coriaceous, smooth, beautifully green and shiny, with oblique nerves and yellowish glands at the base. Flowers small, white, strongly odorous, disposed in simple axillary racemes. Fruit an oval drupe, similar in shape and structure to a blackcherry, the odour of hydrocyanic acid may be detected in almost all parts of the tree and especially in the leaves when bruised.

Constituents: Prulaurasin (laurocerasin) is the chief constituent of the leaves. This has been obtained in long, slender, acicular, bitter crystals, closely resembling amygdalin, but not identical with it. The leaves yield an average of 0.1 per cent of hydrocyanic acid, young leaves yielding more than the

Medicinal Action and Uses: Sedative, narcotic. The leaves possess qualities similar to those of hydrocyanic acid, and the water distilled from them is used for the same purpose as that medicine. Of value in coughs, whooping-cough, asthma, and in dyspepsia and indigestion.

Dosage: Cherry Laurel Water, B.P., 1/2 to 2 fluid drachms.