Michigan State University
The fixed oil extracted from Laurus spp. fruit from Madeira Island, Portugal, is used in local traditional medicine for a wide variety of health complaints. Physical properties, density and refractive index, as well as the TAG FA composition, sterols, and waxes were determined. The oil was found to have an unusually high content of volatiles (ca. 10%), with frans-ocimene and germacrene D predominating. Oleic (30%) and linoleic (20%) acids were the main unsaturated FA, whereas lauric (18%) and palmitic (up to 22.5%) acids were the main saturated FA in the neutral lipid fraction. The oil had a sterol content on the same order as olive oil, with β-sitosterol (84%) predominating. Two sesquiterpene lactones, dehydrocostuslactone and costunolide, accounted for 5% of the overall composition. Madeira laurel oil is not currently used as an edible oil because of its very strong flavor. Its claimed medicinal properties have not yet been validated, and this is the first report on the characterization of the commercial product. Copyright © 2005 by AOCS Press.