Essential Oil Contents and Chemical Composition of Turkish Laurel Leaves

Laurus nobilis L., an evergreen tree, is cultivated in many temperate and warm parts of the world, particularly in the countries bordering the Mediterranean. As such Turkey produces varied and valued kinds of plants such as rose and jasmine. The coastal states of Turkey which have an altitude of 700 meters also produce important quantities of laurel trees.

Since 1968 Turkey has been exporting dried laurel leaf (bay leaf) and laurel oil at a variable amount. A summary of the annual export figures for laurel leaves can be seen in Table 1.

As known, oil produced from laurel leaves and fruits is a valuable adjunct in the flavoring of all kinds of food products. The oil is also used for medical purposes in antirheumatic medicines as an analgesic, and in the composition of soaps having good-cleansing effect and the propetiies to clean and cure pimples and wounds.

During the last ten years, Laurus nobilis L. has been an interesting subject for many researchers from Albania to Japan and from Greece to Argentina. However little has been published on the oil of Turkish laurel leaves even though Turkey has a great exporting capacity in this area.

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