Angelica (Angelica archangelica)


.Botanic Name:Angelica archangelica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Angelica
Species: A. archangelica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms:  Archangelica officinalis Hoffm., and Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica C.B.Clarke.

Common Names: Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica
Habitat:  Angelica  is native to Europe. Naturalized in Britain. It  grows wild in Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It grows best in shady places. Not to be confused with the toxic Pastinaca sativa, or Wild Parsnip.
Archangelica comes from the Greek word “arkhangelos” (=arch-angel), due to the myth that it was the angel Gabriel who told of its use as medicine.

In Finnish it is called  vainonputki, in Kalaallisut kuanneq, in Northern Sami fadnu, boska and rassi, in English garden angelica, in German arznei-engelwurz, in Dutch grote engelwortel, in Swedish kvanne, in Norwegian kvann and in Icelandic it has the name hvönn.

Description :   Angelica archangelica is a biennial  plant.    This large variety is also known as Archangelica officianalis. The roots are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy and have many long, descending rootlets. The stems grow 4 to 6 feet high and are hollow. The leaves are bright green and the edges are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in color, are grouped into large, globular
umbels. After blooming, they are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to 1/4 inch in length when ripe. Both the odor and taste of the fruits are similar to honey.
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During its first year it only grows leaves, but during its second year its fluted stem can reach a height of two metres. Its leaves are composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, which blossom in July, are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels, which bear pale yellow, oblong fruits.

Cultivation: Although angelica is naturally biennial, the plants are perennial if they are prevented from setting seed. It will flower in its second year and then die off.
Seeds should be sown as soon as possible after removing them from the plant. Directly sow the seeds outdoors or start seeds indoors. If they must be stored, seal them in a plastic container, and store the container in the refrigerator.
Plant angelica in the coolest part of the garden. The soil should be deep, rich, moist and slightly acid. Soggy soil will cause the plants to die. Transplant seedlings when they have four to six leaves. They have long taproots, so don’t delay transplanting too long. Mulch and water well if the weather gets hot and dry. Fertilize in spring and midsummer.

Edible Uses :
Edible Parts: Leaves; Root; Seed; Stem.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

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.

From the 10th century on, angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant, and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia in the 12th century and is still used today, especially in Sami culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem, probably as a toy for children. Linnaeus reported that Sami peoples used it in reindeer milk. Other usages include spices.

In 1602, angelica was introduced in Niort, which had just been ravaged by the plague, and it has been popular there ever since. It is used to flavour liqueurs or aquavits (e.g. Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet), omelettes and trout, and as jam. The long bright green stems are also candied and used as decoration.

Angelica contains a variety of chemicals which have been shown to have medicinal properties. Chewing on angelica or drinking tea brewed from it will cause local anesthesia, but it will heighten the consumer’s immune system. It has been shown to be effective against various bacteria, fungal infections and even viral infections.
The essential oil of the roots of ‘Angelica archangelica contains β-terebangelene, C10H16, and other terpenes; the oil of the seeds also contains β-terebangelene, together with methylethylacetic acid and hydroxymyristic acid.

Angelica seeds and angelica roots are sometimes used in making absinthe.

Medicinal Properties:
Appetizer, carminative, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic. The seeds are also said to be diaphoretic and diuretic.
Main Medicinal Uses: Angelica has recently become a very popular herb in the United States, and is often recommended by herbalists as a treatment for flatulence and stomach pains, and as a stimulant to invigorate circulation and warm the body. The most common use of angelica is as an emmenagogue to promote menstrual flow and help regulate irregular menstrual cycles.
Angelica has also been used for bronchitis, coughs, colds, lungs and chest, heartburn, gas, rheumatic complaints (especially the legs), sluggish liver and spleen, pleurisy, and strengthening the heart.
Take angelica tea or tincture to stimulate appetite, to relieve flatulence and muscle spasms, and to stimulate kidney action. It is useful for all sorts of stomach and intestinal difficulties, including ulcers and vomiting with stomach cramps. It can also by used for intermittent fever, nervous headache, colic, and general weakness. Externally, angelica salve can be used as a beneficial skin lotion and also to help relieve rheumatic pains. As a bath additive, angelica is said to be good for the nerves. A decoction of the root can be applied to the skin for scabies or itching and also to wounds. As a compress it can by used for gout.

An old remedy for flatulence directed that the stalks e slowly chewed until the condition was relieved which may have been good advice, as it has been found that one of angelica’s constituents is pectin, an enzyme which acts on digesting food.  This herb is a useful expectorant for coughs, bronchitis and pleurisy, especially when they are accompanied by fever, colds or influenza.  The leaf can be used as a compress in inflammations of the chest.  Its content of carminative essential oil explains its use in easing intestinal colic and flatulence.  As a digestive agent it stimulates appetite and may be used in anorexia nervosa.  It has been shown to help ease rheumatic inflammations.  In cystitis it acts as a urinary antiseptic.  Angelica has proved itself to relieve muscle spasms of asthma and it’s been used to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle, especially after extended use of birth control pills or an intrauterine device.   Combine with coltsfoot and white horehound for bronchial problems and with chamomile for indigestion, flatulence and loss of appetite.  The leaves are used in the bath to stimulate the skin. Angelica salve is helpful in cases of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis because it dissolves mucus and warms. Apply it twice daily to the area of the paranasal sinuses, forehead, root of the nose, nose, cheeks and angle of the jaw.  Angelica contains at least 14 anti-arrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker.  Because of its aromatic bitter properties, this plant is much used in bitters and liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse.  The volatile oil has carminative properties, counteracting flatulence, so that the action of this plant comes close to that of wormwood in this respect, a plant mainly used to treat gallbladder disease.

Other Uses:  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.

Known Hazards:      All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight. May cause contact dermatitis.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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