''Assume the laurel, rest or sit on your laurel means - to be satisfied with what you have achieved and therefore stop trying to achieve anything new’’
Photo by Arvis Liepa, Cap Ferrat, South of France.
A little bit from the HISTORY books
Scientists believe that laurel predates the dinosaurs and all mammalian life on Earth:) At the same time scientists do not became to common opinion when dinosaurs were distinguish as species and why prehistoric drawings and show the people hunting the dinosaurs.
Laurus Nobilis or Bay Laurel or True Laurel, as it is often referred to, was hold in high esteem by ancient civilizations for it's mystical and medical properties that the wearing of a crown of it's leaves was reserved for the noblest of the noble.
History books tells us that millions of years ago, laurel forests were widespread around the Mediterranean Sea. The drying of the region since the period of Pliocene and cooling during the Ice Ages caused these rainforests to retreat. Some species survived the ice age and Mediterranean laurel forest relict such as true laurel (Laurus nobilis) is fairly widespread around the Mediterranean basin. The presence of Mediterranean laurel (Laurus nobilis) provides an indication of the previous existence of laurel forest in this region.
They love humidity and mild temperature all around year, mountains around the see helps to form cloud forest and provide water to the trees. Most of the last remaining laurel forests around the Mediterranean are believed to have disappeared approximately ten thousand years ago, however some species still persist in the mountains of southern Turkey, northern Syria, northern Morocco, Canary Islands, southern Spain, north-central Portugal, Madeira.
In modern Europe the laurel forest has been badly damaged by timber harvesting and by controlled fire (both accidental and deliberate to open fields for crops), by the introduction of exotic animal and plant species (like mimosas, and palm trees:) that have displaced the original cover, and by replacement with crop fields, exotic timber plantations, cattle pastures, and golf courses and tourist facilities. Most of the natural biotypes are in serious danger of extinction by never ending deforestation. The laurel forest flora is usually strong and vigorous, so the forest regenerates easily; its decline is due to external forces caused by human actions.
SYMBOLISM of Laurel
Photo credit to www.isango.com. MADEIRA LAUREL FOREST ECO TOUR
Laurel tree in Greek mythology tells us story about Apollo, one of the most powerful Greek Gods, and his loved and beautiful nymph Daphne. Apollo once ridiculed God of Love - Eros, for carrying a bow and arrow, saying that they should be carried only by those who worth them. In a state of anger, Eros shot Daphne, the nymph, with a lead arrow that provoked hatred and dislike, and shot Apollo with an gold arrow that triggered intense love within him. Apollo was filled with love for Daphne and it filled his heart forever. As Apollo followed her and almost caught up her, thanks to Eros, she pleaded to her father to help her that she could escape Apollo. Her father then turned her into a tree so that Apollo could no longer want to marry her. The heartbroken Apollo vowed to take care of her forever, and to keep her safe from all danger. Apollo proclaimed the laurel tree forever sacred, forever a plant of divine status. He also declared that her leaves would be used in crowns, and granted her eternal youth and immortality, which is why the laurel tree is an evergreen.The Greek name for the Laurus nobilis is Daphne.
Interesting that alchemists trough ages worked on chrysopoeia or transmutation of base metals such as lead into noble metals and particularly gold, they are obsessed with creation of an elixir of immortality; the creation of panaceas able to cure any disease; and the development of an alkahest, a universal solvent.
Apollo and Daphne (1625), Painter: Nicolas Poussin
Since then the laurel is used in ancient civilizations as symbol of victory, honor, protection, longevity – very strong symbol use almost everywhere around us even in modern world. There is no coincidence in symbolism. It is like silver line connecting everything in this world and tell as more about sacred knowledge hidden in plain site.
- Laurel wreaths were widely used on successful athletes and on emperors, the wreaths are so often depicted in representations of Roman rulers.
- The pagan Romans followed the Greek mythology also believed that laurel tree was sacred to the Sun god Apollo, which explains pagan tradition to give laurel wreaths to the most important citizens;
- The laurel acknowledges higher accomplishment of the soul or soul victory.
- The laurel could only be worn by those who used their higher knowledge and spirituality to serve the public in beneficial ways.
- The laurel means also responsibility - “with great power comes great responsibility”.
- Chinese myth associate laurel tree with the Moon, and so shares its symbol of femininity, intuitive power and immortality.
- In the Moon, according to Chinese myth, lives the Jade Rabbit - very clever herbalist and is always busy with mortar and pestle, grinding up sacred mixtures to supply the elixir of immortality to those who are worthy of it. Laurel is said to be one of the secret ingredients used by this ancient Jade Rabbit alchemist.
Today winners of the Grand Prix are awarded laurel wreaths and the most recognizable symbol with laurel wreath is UN logo around the flat Earth. Very often film, music festival, poet awards and other ceremonial awards event are associated with laurel wreath and is often used in events logo and award itself. Even words ‘laureate’ and ‘baccalaureate’ comes from laurel tree itself and means person is achieved something in his life and can sit on his laurel. Obviously it is very special plant with powerful properties if it is used to protect powerful people in any society for centuries.
They sleep on their laurel and fell untouchable.
COOKING with Laurel leaves
Tips and Tricks
Fresh or dried bay leaves are used in cooking for their distinctive flavor and fragrance. They are very strong as spice and my mom always said you should remove laurel leave from food when cooking is finished. I realized I even never questioned her why, just kept this tradition in my kitchen? When I met Arvis, I learn more about laurel leaves, he always burns a little bit of its edge and then smell becomes even stronger than before. The heat releases the flavor and adds to the dish, but there are more ways to harness the power and benefits of bay leaves.
The laurel leaves are often used to flavor soups, stews, braises and pâtés in Mediterranean cuisine (aromatic leaves are added whole to Italian pasta sauces) and they have found as good combination with beans also in Brazilian cuisine. The fresh leaves are very mild and do not develop their full flavor until several weeks after picking and drying. Dried leaves also could be grounded by grinder and added to salads or other meals like a salt and pepper in small quality.
If eaten whole, bay leaves (Laurus nobilis) are pungent and have a sharp, bitter taste. It also can damage your digestive system with the thick central stem of bay leaves which even after cooked could stay quite rigid, so there is potential for scratching the intestinal lining. Powdered laurel leaves could be used safely and they are not toxic. If it is too much it simple does not taste good, it happens when you overpowering your meal.
Photo by George Konstantinou from www.biodiversitycyprus.blogspot.fr
Burned laurel leaves are also used for air purification. Smudging is tradition in many ancient cultures to use the smoke of sacred herbs to purify a room especially in winter season or somebody is sick at home or got flu. Active compounds in laurel leaves has properties which can help to fight against bacterial infections, detoxify our bodies, improve cardiac and respiratory health, and even slow down the effects of aging. Laurel leaves are used as sedative, analgesic, anticonvulsant and anti-inflammatory and herb has very strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Laurel also lowers blood pressure and heart rate. It’s often used to help treat insomnia, chronic stress and to alter state conditions.
Once you burn the aromatic herb (which contain essential oil) you release the active compounds that are found within the leaves in the air.
In herbal medicine, water extracts of bay laurel have been used as an astringent and salve for open wounds. Skin rashes caused by poisonous plants are traditionally healed with boiled bay leaves water.
Bay berry oil is used for cold joints to heat them up and relieve the pain of arthritis and also helps to heal skin and flesh after bruises or falls.
CHEMISTRY of Laurel
The fruit contains up to 30% fatty oils and about 1% essential oils (terpenes, sesquiterpenes, alcohols, and ketones) The fruit is pressed and water-extracted to obtain these products. The most abundant component found in laurel essential oil eucalyptol.
The laurel leaves contain about 1.3% essential oils, consisting of 45% eucalyptol, 12% other terpenes, 8-12% terpinyl acetate, 3–4% sesquiterpenes, 3% methyleugenol, and other α- and β-pinenes, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol, and terpineol. It also contains lauric acid.
Laurel berries and leaves are rich source of vitamins A and C (77.5%), as well as zinc, three nutrients of great importance for a strong, healthy immune system.
ALLEPO SOAP and other cosmetic use
Photo credit goes to Sara from www.sentirteguapa.com
Laurel oil is a main ingredient, and the distinguishing characteristic of traditional Aleppo soap from Syria, Aleppo soap is ancestor of European Castile soap. Allepo soap worth to have it own story, maybe one day:)
Original and traditionally made Aleppo soap are pale marrow from outside and laurel green inside. Fresh made Aleppo soaps has very typical nice green color.
Herb is commonly used as a fragrance ingredient in creams, lotions, perfumes, soaps, and detergents. It is added to hair products like shampoos and for hair loss treatment.
After shaving COLOGNE called BAY RUM was also used as a tonic to treat muscle problems after physical workout.
Interesting that Laurel berries oil was used in 19th century for felt hat conditioning. Laurel is typically used also as insect repeller in vaporizers, sprays, and other insecticides.
Laurel berries infusion in olive oil. Photo by author.
Pregnant women and children should avoid to use Laurel Essential Oil.
LAUREL HEALTH BENEFITS
Joint and muscle pain relief
Skin rashes, wound healing
Strong and unique antioxidant
Respiration, Coughs, Colds relief
Diabetic patients can use it to help reduce blood glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels
Stimulates Digestion and prevent food deterioration
Reduce acne and other skin problems
Improves your sleep – it has calming effect on the mind and have mild sedative properties, that help to induce the sleep.
Laurel Berries Wort Energized Plasma Water was made by Arvis Liepa following his experience with other plant based materials and based on Proposal for Wort Plasma Waters Extraction and Energizing and finished with electrolysis.
Four Cornerstones of the Process
After filtration, electrolysis, and centrifugation, we can get very oily precipitates in beige white color it could be considered as lauric acid - well known fatty acid, water part with lot of typical Laurel flavor still in it and top layer of also oily but much more lighter compounds. Each of these fractions could be used in different applications and would be interesting to study further.
These very nice oily pearls was still visible in water part of wort plasma water under optical microscope in 600x magnification.
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