Tree from the Lauraceae family that might reach
20 m high
(normally between 2-10 m).
Bark is dark grey, smooth, erect with green cylindrical branches that darken
throughout the years. The top is dense and somewhat irregular. Perennial tree;
entire, alternate leaves 10 cm
long x 5 cm
wide, petiolate with 1 cm
reddish petiole, coriaceous and shining with wavy margins, deep green on the
front and matte on the back of the leaf, elliptic-lanceolate with sharp apex.
The principal nerve is visible at the front and prominent at the back.
Dioecious tree with pale yellow flowers displayed in small groups over a short
common peduncle, distributed in the leave axils. Those in male plants are
gathered in groups of five between a couple of scarious bracts that get dark
and fall into anthesis. The calyx composed by four whitish-translucent sepals
holding within numerous stamens (8-15). Yellowish stamens with round anthers
and a greenish pistil of short style. Blooms in March and April. The fruit is
an oval-shaped sheath that turns violet and black when ripe. It holds within a
It is indigenous of the Mediterranean countries
and it prefers shadowy and humid places, avoiding extreme temperatures. It is
often found among ornamental plants in gardens and for cooking purposes. It
also grows in the wild around oak trees, chestnuts and at the foot of cliffs,
etc. In general, is distributed lengthwise the Mediterranean region.
fruits. The oil obtained from them by hydro-distillation (from 10 to 30 ml/Kg).
They are gathered during the year. For culinary
purposes the best leaves are harvested during winter, as their levels of cineol
provides a better scent.
> Lack of appetite,
hyposecretive dyspepsia and intestinal spasms. Leaves are used for cooking and
help digestion and nutrients absorption, as well.
> Dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea.
treatment for rheumatic disorders (arthritis, osteomuscular and deforming
rheumatism and muscle contractions) with hot compresses or rubbing with diluted
oil. Adding them to a hot bath helps to soothe sore muscles.
> Gargles to treat oral mucosa local disorders.