Laurel noble

Asia Minor and Transcaucasia are considered their homeland. Widely cultivated in the subtropical zone of both hemispheres.

Evergreen dioecious tall shrub or tree with a dense crown. The leaves are alternate, oblong-lanceolate with a slightly wavy edge, leathery, dark greenish, dull, fragrant, contain receptacles with essential oil. The flowers are small, white, in bunches in the axils of the leaves. The fruit is an oval black-brown or black-blue drupe with a thin fruit-bearing cell containing essential oil cells. The inner layer within the carpel is fragile and woody, consists of one row of sclereids fused with a thin seed coat. The seed nucleus is large, with two thick cotyledons, consisting of parenchymal cells filled with fatty oil, among which essential oil cells are scattered.

Fatty oil – Oleum Lauri, obtained by pressing, greenish in color, buttery consistency, fragrant. It contains triglycerides of lauric, palmitic and linoleic acids. The green color is due to the presence of chlorophyll, a peculiar smell – essential oil (2-3%).

Laurel oil is used in rubbing ointments for rheumatism and is part of the ointments for scabies mites. The leaves are used as a spice.

The plant contains dense (solid) fats.


Fats consist almost entirely of triglycerides of high molecular weight fatty acids. They are accompanied by pigments, sterols, vitamins and some other fat-soluble substances.

The fatty acids that make up triglycerides can be saturated or unsaturated. Most often, triglycerides contain the fatty acids listed in the table.

Fats are not individual substances – they are mixtures of triglycerides. In the formation of fats, the law of maximum heterogeneity prevails – more than 1300 currently known fats are formed by “multi-acid” triglycerides, and fatty acids of different composition (for example, stearinodiolein, palmitinooleinolinolein, etc.). Fats, consisting of “one-acid” triglycerides, are relatively rare in nature (olive oil is triolein, castor oil is triricinolein).

The properties of fats are determined mainly by the composition of fatty acids and their quantitative ratio. Saturated fatty acids form triglycerides of a dense consistency (at traditional temperature), and the density increases with the increase in the number of carbon atoms in the acid (see table). Unsaturated fatty acids form liquid triglycerides.


Liquid fats (oils), spread with a thin layer, can remain liquid (non-drying fatty oils) or, oxidized, gradually turn into a resinous film (drying – a dense film and semi-drying – a soft film). Fatty oils dominated by oleic acid triglycerides are non-drying. The more linoleic and linolenic acids in oils, the more they are prone to drying out, as can be judged by the iodine number (the number of grams of iodine that can join 100 g of fat at the place of double bonds of unsaturated acids). Approximate limits of iodine numbers: non-drying 80-100, semi-drying 100-140, drying oils 140-200.

Most vegetable fatty oils are obtained by pressing or extracting raw materials with volatile solvents. Freshly obtained (“raw”) fats are purified (refined).

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