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55544Re: [Authentic_SCA] Berries on my Bay tree - what to do with them?

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  • Kathleen Keeler
    Mar 23, 2007
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      [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
      http://www.med.yale.edu/library/historical/culpeper/culpeper.htm as
      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,
      lohocks etc.

      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,
      > Does anyone know anything more about these berries? Has anyone seen
      > references to them in medieval recipes (food or cosmetic or other)?
      > Teffania

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