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Angelica as an Herb

Angelica as an Herb Plant

Synonyms - Garden Angelica. Archangelica officinalis.

Angelica, an attractive plant with white buds, is unique for its pervading aromatic odor. One old writer compares it to Musk, others liken it to Juniper.

According to legend, this herb got its name from the archangel Raphael, who recommended it as a remedy for the Great Plague. Today, angelica grows in northern Europe and Asia. It is sometimes used for rheumatism, stomach ulcers, stomach cramps, premenstrual syndrome, headache, fatigue and respiratory discharge.

The angelica plant has an ancient history of use as a charm against contagion, spells, enchantments and as a cure all. Old pre-Christian beliefs about its magical power have been absorbed into the Christian context. This includes an association with some archangelic patronage, hence its species name.

Parts Used: The angelica root and leaves for medicinal purposes, also the seeds.

Angelica as an Herb for Medicinal Use

A. archangelica are approved by the German Commission E for digestive disturbances including flatulence and mild gastrointestinal spasms.

American Angelica was widely used medicinally by North American Indians.

Angelica is a good herbal tea to use for colic, gas, indigestion, hepatitis, and heartburn. It is useful to add in remedies for afflictions of the respiratory system. This includes colds as well as liver and digestive problems.

Angelica promotes circulation and energy in the body. This effect includes the stimulation of the circulation in the pelvic region and to suppress menstruation.

Medicinal Action and Uses

  • The root stalks, leaves and fruit possess carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic and expectorant properties, which are strongest in the fruit.
  • Angelica is a good remedy for colds, coughs, pleurisy, wind, colic, rheumatism and diseases of the urinary organs, though it should not be given to patients who have a tendency towards diabetes, as it causes an increase of sugar in the urine.
  • Angelica is generally used as a stimulating expectorant.
  • Angelica is a useful agent for feverish conditions, acting as a diaphoretic.

Infusion

An infusion may be made by pouring a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the bruised root, with two tablespoonsful of the infusion given three or four times a day. The infusion will relieve flatulence, and is also of use as a stimulating bronchial tonic. It is used for indigestion, and chronic bronchitis. For external use, the fresh leaves of the plant are crushed and applied as poultices in lung and chest diseases.

The following is extracted from an old book of herbal remedies:

Angelica Leaves

'Boil down gently for three hours a handful of Angelica root in a quart of water; then strain it off and add liquid Narbonne honey or best virgin honey sufficient to make it into a balsam or syrup and take two tablespoonsful every night and morning, as well as several times in the day. If there be hoarseness or sore throat, add a few nitre drops.'

Culinary Uses of Angelica

  • The stems and seeds are used in confectionery and flavoring in the preparation of liqueurs. Stems are normally crystallized.
  • The dried leaves, due to their aromatic qualities, are used in the preparation of hop bitters.
  • Leaves are added to cooked fruit dishes, soups, stews, fish or poultry.
  • The stalks are candied for confections and cake decorations.
  • The essential oil of the root and seeds is used as a vanilla like flavoring in commercial liqueurs, ice creams and candies.

Angelica is largely used in the grocery trade, as well as for medicine. The appreciation of its unique flavor was established in ancient times when saccharin matter was extremely rare. The use of the sweetmeat may probably have originated from the belief that the plant possessed the power of averting or expelling pestilence.

Fresh leaves taste good with vegetable salads, custards, tart fruit such as rhubarb and plums, court bouillon for poached seafood.

Folklore & Magickal

Use for protection from evil spirits and in exorcisms. Smoke the leaves for visions.

Angelica was considered for centuries to be a powerful protective herb against evil spirits, witchcraft and disease, including the plague.

Magickal Properties: Exorcism, healing, visions, protection. Angelica is a masculine plant associated with the Sun and the element of Fire. Wear angelica to protect yourself against evil spirits, but beware that it may also keep you from seeing opportunities. Brew a tea with it and sprinkle it in the corners of a house.

Cautions

Pregnant women or diabetics should not use Angelica.

Any of the angelicas may cause skin photosensitivity or dermatitis due to the presence of furanocoumarins. They must be identified carefully in the wild because of resemblance to other members of the family Apiaceae, which are poisonous, especially poison hemlock.

Avoid excessive use. Check with a doctor first if you have diabetes or kidney disease.

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