Umbellularia californica (Hook. & Arn.) Nutt. - syn.Tetranthera californica Hook et Arn. - Lauraceae
California bay, California laurel, Oregon myrtle, Kalifornischer Lorbeer, Kalifornischer Berglorbeer
Evergreen aromatic tree, native to western North America; leaves simple, alternate, leathery; small flowers in dense umbels; fruit a red berry.
„The leaf has been used as a cure for headache, toothache, and earache - though the volatile oils in the leaves may also cause headaches. Poultices of Umbellularia leaves were used to treat rheumatism and neuralgias. A tea was made from the leaves to treat stomach aches, colds, sore throats, and to clear up mucus in the lungs. The leaves were steeped in hot water to make an infusion that was used to wash sores. The Pomo and Yuki tribes of Mendocino County treated headaches by placing a single leaf in the nostril or bathing the head with a laurel leaf infusion.“
Major components of the essential oil (steam distillation) of U.californica leaves were (GC-MS-IR): Umbellulone (39%), 1,8-cineole (19%), α-terpineol (7.6%), terpinen-4-ol (6.2%), sabinene (6%), α-pinene (4.7%), and methyl eugenol (5.4%). Odor treshold studies showed 1,8-cineole to be by far the main contributor to the odor of dilute water solutions of the oil.
[California bay oil. I. Constituents, odor properties., Buttery, R.G., Black, D.R., Guadagni, D.G., Ling, L.C., Connolly, G., Teranishi, R., Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Vol.22(5), 1974, 773-777]
Umbellulone is recognized as the offensive principle of the „headache tree“ Umbellularia californica. It stimulates the trigeminovascular system via TRPA1 activation.
[Umbelluone, the offensive principle of the headache tree (Umbellularia californica), stimulates the trigeminovascular system via TRPA1 activation., Benemei, S., Nassini, R., Materazzi, S., Vriens, J., Prenen, J., De Siena, G., Geppetti, P., Inflammation Research, Vol.60, 2011, 204-204]
Sargent, C.S., The Silva of North America, vol.7: t.306 (1898) [C.E. Faxon]