55544Re: [Authentic_SCA] Berries on my Bay tree - what to do with them?
- Mar 23, 2007[MODERATOR'S NOTE - As a courtesy to our many members who receive their messages in digest form, we ask that you not top post. Thank you. Jehanne de Wodeford, Pacific Time Zone Moderator]
I found references to using the berries of your bay, Laurus nobilis, in
Culpeper (England, first edition before 1600, most of them after, online
at either of: http://www.bibliomania.com/2/1/66/113/frameset.html or
Bay-Tree), in Hildegard von Bingen's Physica (1200's Germany, in print,
not online as far as I know), Gerard's Herbal (unabridged1633 edition,
in print but not online as far as I know), and Dioscorides (Roman Empire
AD 64, quoted through much of the Middle Ages, out of print). I can
copy the info from them if you want me to. Culpeper will give you a feel
for the material: the fruits and seeds are "hot and dry" and used in a
variety of treatments. Culpeper has a section at the end where he
describes how to make the various preparations: decoctions, juleps,
My Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) for Herbal Medicines (2nd ed, 2000,
they're to the 4th) says "no health hazards or side effects are known in
conjunction with the proper administration of designated theraputic
doses." which their usual disclaimer when no bad effects are known. But
the modern uses seem to be mainly external. Obviously we eat bay
leaves, but in very small amounts. So I'd be cautious about consuming
fruits or seeds in any quantity.
Mrs. Grieve, A Modern Herbal, 1931, a wonderful source allowing for the
fact that it's 80 years old, points out that laurel berries were used to
induce abortions, something I hadn't previously caught in pulling refs
for you. Online at http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/comindx.html
The only alternative name that I found, besides bay and laurel, is
daphne, which is the chief name Dioscorides gives it.
The implication is that when the berries are ripe, they are black. e.g
Oxford Book of Food Plants "Laurel...gives rise to glossy black berries"
How neat to have the berries! Have fun!
> My bay tree (laurus nobilus) has berries on it,[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> Does anyone know anything more about these berries? Has anyone seen
> references to them in medieval recipes (food or cosmetic or other)?
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