The leaf essential oil of Laurus nobilis Linn., Lauraceae, which has been used as an antiepileptic remedy in Iranian traditional medicine, was evaluated for anticonvulsant activity against experimental seizures. The essential oil protected mice against tonic convulsions induced by maximal electroshock and especially by pentylenetetrazole. Components responsible for this effect may be methyleugenol, eugenol and pinene present in the essential oil. At anticonvulsant doses, the essential oil produced sedation and motor impairment. This effect seems to be related in part to cineol, eugenol and methyleugenol. Although the essential oil had an acceptable acute toxicity, further studies are required before any absolute conclusions can be drawn.