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Laurocerasus officinalis (L. M. Roem.

Family: Rosacea.

Place of origin: Species native of southwestern Asia and southeastern Europe.

Etymology: Prunus, Latin name of the wild plum. Laurocerasus of Laurus = = cerasus and laurel cherry, for its leaves and fruit reminiscent of those in these plants.

Description: evergreen shrub or seedling up to 8 m tall, with greyish bark lenticelas. Coriaceous leaves of various sizes and shapes, usually oblong, 7. 5 - 15 cm. in length and less than one third as much in width. Spread entire jagged or briefly; are acuminate, with a short tip. They are dark green, slightly yellowish in the beam and pale green on the underside. On the underside, near the insertion of limbo with the petiole always 2 - 3 glands. Aromatic white flowers, about 8 mm in diameter, grouped in clusters axillary or terminal erect measuring 6 - 12 cm. in length. The flowers usually appear in January or February, but do not open until April. Ovoideos fruits of about 12 mm in diameter, blackish purple color, containing one seed.

Cultivation and uses: It is multiplied by seeds and cuttings, grafted varieties. The seed has internal lethargy, so please go to the stratification before planting. Kind of like soil rich in organic matter and drain well. Thrives in the shade or sun, and it supports quite well the cut. Medicinal plant is poisonous in large quantities though. Some varieties are: 'angustifolia', 'Camelliifolia', 'Caucasica', 'Flesseriana', 'Japonica', 'latifolia', 'Magnoliifolia', 'parvifolia', 'Rotundifolia', 'Zabeliana', and so on.

Used Part.

The leaves.

Active Principles.

Carbohydrates, tannins, heterósidos cyanogenic: prunasósido, which splits in Benzoic aldehyde and hydrogen cyanide, prulaurasósido.

Drug Action.

Spasmolytic, soothing nervous, respiratory stimulant, béquico, flavoring. Externally is antipruritic (distilled water laurel cherry)


For its potential toxicity, it is only used water - laurel cherry (1 / 1. 000 of CNH) as flavoring and as a component of some secret antitusivas.


Pregnancy, infancy, young children (use)

Caution / Poisoning.

The whole plant is toxic, especially the immature fruit. Contains hydrocyanic acid: 120 to 180 mg%. The symptoms of intoxication (presented dose extraterapéuticas) are: burning of the oral mucosa, nausea, vomiting, palpitations, tachypnea and hyperthermia.

Accidental poisonings occur frequently for his confusion with laurel leaves, although their differentiation is easy: the cherry - laurel leaves are toothed and to crushing smell of bitter almonds.

Galenica forms / Dosage.

Internal use:

Distilled water (1 / 1. 000 of CNH) 20 - 40 drops per dose, 3 - 4 shots a day. Maximum dose: 2g / dosis and 8g / día.

Topical use:

Infusion of 2%. Apply in the form of compresses or lotion.


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Peris, JB; Stübing, G; Vanaclocha, B. Applied Fitoterapia. Valencia: M. I. Official College of Pharmacists, 1995, p. 329.

Rivera, D; Obon, C. The Guide INCAFE of useful and Poisonous Plants of the Iberian Peninsula and the Balearics. Madrid: INCAFE, 1991, pp. 82; 584 - 5.

Simon, R. Guide for Pharmaceutical and Medical Pharmacology. Madrid: A Madrid Vicente, 1993, p. 29.

Trease, GE, Evans, WCh. Pharmacognosy. Mexico City: Inter - MacGraw - Hill, 1991, pp. 584.

Van Hellemont, J. Compendium of Phytothérapie. Bruxelles: Association Pharmaceutique Belge, 1986, pp. 321 - 2.

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