Herb: Angelica


Latin name: Angelica archangelica


Synonyms: Archangelica officinalis


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Angelica:

Angelica has a long folk-history of use as a medicinal herb, in particular for the treatment of digestive disorders and problems with blood circulation. The root is the most active medicinally, it should be harvested in the autumn of its first year of growth, sliced longitudinally if necessary and dried quickly. If well stored, the root retains its medicinal virtues for many years. The leaves and seeds can also be used. The leaves are harvested and dried in late spring before the plant comes into flower. The plant is antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic. An infusion is used to ease flatulence, indigestion, chronic bronchitis and typhus. It stimulates blood flow to the peripheral parts of the body and so is of value in treating poor circulation - it is considered a specific treatment for Buerger's disease, a condition that narrows the arteries of the hands and feet. Angelica is contra-indicated for people with a tendency towards diabetes since its use can increase sugar levels in the urine. This plant should not be prescribed for pregnant women, nor should the juice be allowed to come into contact with the eyes. An essential oil from the seeds is sometimes used as a rub to relieve rheumatic conditions.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
July to
August


Scent:
Scented
Biennial

Habitat of the herb:

Moist shady places in Britain.

Edible parts of Angelica:

Leaves - raw or cooked. A liquorice-like flavour, they can be used as a flavouring in mixed salads. They are also used to sweeten tart fruits. Stalks and young shoots - cooked or raw. The stalks should be peeled, they can be used like celery. They can also be used to sweeten tart fruits and to make jam. They are often crystallised in sugar and used as sweets and cake decorations. The stems are best harvested in the spring. An essential oil is obtained from the root and seeds, it is used as a food flavouring. Root - cooked. Seed - used as a flavouring in liqueurs such as Chartreuse. A tea can be made from the leaves, seed or roots.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil from the root and seeds is used in perfumery, medicinally and as a food flavouring. The oil from the seeds has a musk-like aroma and is often used to flavour liqueurs. The dried root contains 0.35% essential oil, the seed about 1.3%. Yields of the essential oil vary according to location, plants growing at higher altitudes have higher yields with a better aroma.

Propagation of Angelica:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist shady places in Britain.

Known hazards of Angelica archangelica:

All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.