What is Angelica?
Angelica is a widely cultivated, scented, northern European herb with fleshy, spindle-shaped roots, an erect stalk, and many greenish-yellow flowers arranged in an umbrella-like shape. The seeds are oblong and off-white. It is similar to and sometimes confused with the extremely toxic water hemlock, Cicuta maculata. There are several recognized varieties of A. arch angelica, wild and cultivated. In the US, Angelica atropurpurea often is cultivated in place of the European species. The oil has been used medicinally to stimulate gastric secretion and treat gas, and to topically treat rheumatic and skin disorders. The Ayurvedic medical system suggests angelica for CNS effects. Angelica root, root powder, essential oil, and liquid extracts made from the herb are prepared and used traditionally.
What is it used for?
Angelica has been cultivated as a medicinal and flavoring plant in Scandinavian countries since the 12th century and in England since the 16th century. Angelica formerly was used as a sedative. The roots and seeds are used to distill a volatile oil used in perfumery and for a licorice flavoring in liqueurs and other alcoholic beverages. The candied leaves and stems are used to decorate cakes.
Angelica is used for heartburn (dyspepsia), intestinal gas (flatulence), loss of appetite (anorexia), overnight urination (nocturnal), arthritis, stroke, dementia, circulation problems, “runny nose” (respiratory catarrh), nervousness and anxiety, fever, plague, and trouble sleeping (insomnia).
Some women use angelica to start their menstrual periods. Sometimes this is done to cause an abortion.
Angelica is also used to increase urine production, improve sex drive, stimulate the production and secretion of phlegm, and kill germs.
Some people apply angelica directly to the skin for nerve pain (neuralgia), joint pain (rheumatism), and skin disorders.In combination with other herbs, angelica is also applied to the skin for treating premature ejaculation.
Angelica is also used as a smell in aromatherapy to reduce symptoms associated with quitting tobacco (nicotine withdrawal).
Angelica is a genus of about 60 species of tall biennial and perennial herbs in the family Apiaceae, native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far north as Iceland, Lapland and Greenland.They grow to 1–3 m (3 ft 3 in–9 ft 10 in) tall, with large bipinnate leaves and large compound umbels of white or greenish-white flowers. Found mainly in China, its main use was for medicine. It shows variations in fruit anatomy, leaf morphology and subterranean structures. The genes are extremely polymorphic.
By some botanists, this species of Angelica is believed to be a native of Syria from whence it has spread to many cool European climates, where it has become naturalized. It is occasionally found native in cold and moist places in Scotland, but is more abundant in countries further north, as in Lapland and Iceland. It is supposed to have come to this country from northern latitudes about 1568, There are about thirty varieties of Angelica, but this one is the only one officially employed in medicine.
Parkinson, in his Paradise in Sole, 1629, puts Angelica in the forefront of all medicinal plants, and it holds almost as high a place among village herbalists to-day, though it is not the native species of Angelica that is of such value medicinally and commercially. but an allied form, found wild in most places in the northern parts of Europe. This large variety, Angelica Arch angelica (Linn.), also known as Arch angelica officinalis, is grown abundantly near London in moist fields, for the use of its candied stems. It is largely cultivated for medicinal purposes in Thuringia, and the roots are also imported from Spain.
Its virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as the folk-lore of all North European countries and nations, testify to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every conceivable malady: it was held a sovereign remedy for poisons argues and all infectious maladies. In Couriand, Livonia and the low lake lands of Pomerania and East Prussia, wild-growing Angelica abounds; there, in early summer-time, it has been the custom among the peasants to march into the towns carrying the Angelica flower-stems and to offer them for sale, chanting some ancient ditty in Lettish words, so antiquated as to be unintelligible even to the singers themselves. The chanted words and the tune are learnt in childhood, and may be attributed to a survival of some Pagan festival with which the plant was originally associated. After the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked in the popular mind with some arch-angelic patronage, and associated with the spring-time festival of the Annunciation. According to one legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style), and is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft: all parts of the plant were believed efficacious against spells and enchantment. It was held in such esteem that it was called ‘The Root of the Holy Ghost.’
Angelica may be termed a perennial herbaceous plant. It is biennial only in the botanical sense of that term, that is to say, it is neither annual, nor naturally perennial: the seedlings make but little advance towards maturity within twelve months, whilst old plants die off after seeding once, which event may be at a much more remote period than in the second year of growth. Only very advanced seedlings flower in their second year, and the third year of growth commonly completes the full period of life. There is another species, Angelica heterocarpa, a native of Spain, which is credited as truly perennial; it flowers a few weeks later than the biennial species, and is not so ornamental in its foliage.
The roots of the Common Angelica are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy – large specimens weighing sometimes as much as three pounds – and are beset with many long, descending rootlets. The stems are stout fluted, 4 to 6 feet high and hollow. The foliage is bold and pleasing, the leaves are on long stout, hollow footstalks, often 3 feet in length, reddish purple at the much dilated, clasping bases; the blades, of a bright green colour, are much cut into, being 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, small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels. They blossom in July and are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to a 1/4 inch in length when ripe, with membranous edges, flattened on one side and convex on the other, which bears three prominent ribs. Both the odour and taste of the fruits are pleasantly aromatic.
Our native form, A. sylvestris (Linn.), is hairy in stalk and stem to a degree which makes a well-marked difference. Its flowers differ, also, in being white, tinged with purple. The stem is purple and furrowed. This species is said to yield a good, yellow dye.
Angelica is unique amongst the Umbelliferae for its pervading aromatic odour, a pleasant perfume, entirely differing from Fennel, Parsley, Anise, Caraway or Chervil. One old writer compares it to Musk, others liken it to Juniper. Even the roots are fragrant, and form one of the principal aromatics of European growth- the other parts of the plant have the same flavour, but their active principles are considered more perishable.
In several London squares and parks, Angelica has continued to grow, self-sown, for several generations as a garden escape; in some cases it is appreciated as a useful foliage plant, in others, it is treated rather as an intruding weed. Before the building of the London Law Courts and the clearing of much slum property between Holy well Street and Seven Dials, the foreign population of that district fully appreciated its value, and were always anxious to get it from Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where it abounded and where it still grows. Until very recent years, it was exceedingly common on the slopes bordering the Tower of London on the north and west sides; there, also, the inhabitants held the plant in high repute, both for its culinary and medicinal use.
The root should be dug up in the autumn of the first year, as it is then least liable to become mouldy and worm-eaten: it is very apt to be attacked by insects. Where very thick, the roots should be sliced longitudinally to quicken the drying process.
The fresh root has a yellowish-grey epidermis, and yields when bruised a honeycombed juice, having all the aromatic properties of the plant. If an incision is made in the bark of the stems and the crown of the root at the commencement of spring, this resinous gum will exude. It has a special aromatic flavour of musk benzoin, for either of which it can be substituted.
The dried root, as it appears in commerce, is grayish brown and much wrinkled externally, whitish and spongy within and breaks with a starchy fracture, exhibiting shining, resinous spots. The odour is strong and fragrant, and the taste at first sweetish, afterwards warm, aromatic, bitterish and somewhat musky. These properties are extracted by alcohol and less perfectly by water.
If the plants are well grown, the leaves may be cut for use the summer after transplanting. Ordinarily, it is the third or fourth year that the plant develops its tall flowering stem, of which the gathering for culinary or confectionery use prolongs the lifetime of the plant for many seasons. Unless it is desired to collect seed, the tops should be cut at or before flowering time. After producing seed, the plants generally die, but by cutting down the tops when the flower-heads first appear and thus preventing the formation of seed, the plants may continue for several years longer, by cutting down the stems right at their base, the plants practically become perennial, by the development of side shoots around the stool head.
The whole herb, if for medicinal use, should be collected in June and cut shortly above the root.
If the stems are already too thick, the leaves may be stripped off separately and dried on wire or netting trays.
The stem, which is in great demand when trimmed and candied, should be cut about June or early July.
If the seeds are required, they should be gathered when ripe and dried. The seed heads should be harvested on a fine day, after the sun has dried off the dew, and spread thinly on sailcloth in a warm spot or open shed, where the air circulates freely. In a few days the tops will have become dry enough to be beaten out with a light flail or rod, care being taken not to injure the seed. After threshing, the seeds (or fruits) should be sieved to remove portions of the stalks and allowed to remain for several days longer spread out in a very thin layer in the sun, or in a warm and sunny room, being turned every day to remove the last vestige of moisture. In a week to ten days they will be dry. Small quantities of the fruits can be shaken out of the heads when they have been cut a few days and finished ripening, so that the fruits divide naturally into the half-fruits or mesmeric which shake off readily when quite ripe, especially if rubbed out of the heads between the palms of the hands. It is imperative that the seeds be dry before being put into storage packages or tins.
Angelica balsam is obtained by extracting the roots with alcohol, evaporating and extracting the residue with ether. It is of a dark brown colour and contains Angelica oil Angelica wax and Angelic-in.
Angelica is largely used in the grocery trade, as well as for medicine, and is a popular flavoring for confectionery and liqueurs. The appreciation of its unique flavour 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.
The preparation of Angelica is a small but important industry in the south of France, its cultivation being centralized in Thermonuclear. Fairly large quantities are purchased by confectioners and high prices are easily obtainable. The flavour of Angelica suggests that of Juniper berries, and it is largely used in combination with Juniper berries, or in partial substitution for them by gin distillers. The stem is largely used in the preparation of preserved fruits and ‘configures’ generally, and is also used as an aromatic garnish by confectioners. The seeds especially, which are aromatic and bitterish in taste, are employed also in alcoholic distillates, especially in the preparation of Vermouth and similar preparations, as well as in other liqueurs, notably Chartreuse. From ancient times, Angelica has been one of the chief flavoring ingredients of beverages and liqueurs, but it is not a matter of general knowledge that the Muscatel grape-like flavour of some wines, made on both sides of the-Rhine, is (or is suspected to be) due to the secret use of Angelica. An Oil of Angelica, which is very expensive, was prepared in Germany some years ago: it is obtained from the seeds by distillation with steam, the vapour being condensed and the oil separated by gravity. One hundred kilograms of Angelica seeds yield one kiloliter of oil, and the fresh leaves a little less, the roots yielding only 0.15 to 0.3 kilograms. Like the seeds themselves, the oil is used for flavoring. Besides being employed as a flavoring for beverages and medicinally, Angelica seeds are also used to a limited extent in perfumery.
What other names is Angelica known by?
American Angelica, Angélica, Angelica acutiloba, Angelica arch angelica, Angelica atropurpurea, Angelica curtisi, Angelica Dahurica, Angelica officinalis, Angelica sylvestris, Angelica Dahuricae, Angelica Dahuricae Radix, Angelicae Fructus, Angelicae Herba, Angelicae Radix, Angelica sylvestris, Angelicae, Appliqueing, Angelique Archangel, Angelique Cultivate, Angelique de Boh`me, Angelique Des Jar-dins, Angelique Medicinal, Angelique Officialese, Angelique Savage, Angelique Vraie, Arch angelica officinalis, Archangel, Bai Zhi, Dang Gui (Angelica root), Du Huo, Garden Angelica, European Angelica, Herb aux Ange’s, Herbe du Saint-Esprit, Japanese Angelica, Racine du Saint Esprit, Radix Angelicae, Radix Angelicae Dahuricae, Radix Angelicae Pubescent is, Root of the Holy Ghost, Wild Angelica, Wild Parsnip.
6 Uses of Angelica Herb
Discover how this herbal gem can help clear up coughs, tame menstrual cramps, ease stomach problems, including heartburn, gas, and bloating—and more.Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, DN-C, Rh-mar 1, 2019
Angelica root (Angelica arch angelica) is a perennial herb that has been cultivated since ancient times. In Northern Europe, the plant has been used as medicine and food since at least the 10th century.
The plant is part of the parsley family, with large leaves, umbels of white or greenish-white flowers the size of a grapefruit, and bright green stems that are sometimes tinged with purple. Angelica is unique among the parsley family for its aromatic odor, different from fennel, parsley, anise, or caraway. It has been compared to musk or juniper.
In the wild, the plant dwells in damp spots, especially along streams, rivers, and ocean beaches, where there is plenty of sunlight. The thick taproot is the useful part, although the stems are eaten, similar to celery.
6 Ways to Use Angelica Herb
- Digestive: Angelica is a warming, de congesting, aromatic, and bitter herb. It’s widely used as a digestive aid, appearing in traditional aperitif formulas. It helps stimulate appetite and ease indigestion, bloating, and gas. The herb is also used to combat a sluggish liver.
- Menstrual: The root helps stimulate circulation, so it relieves menstrual cramps by warming, relaxing, de congesting, and stimulating blood flow. It can also bring on delayed menses or benefit PMS. For this purpose, combine angelica with hibiscus flower and rose petal. The circulation benefits also lend it to migraine treatment.
- Respiratory: Angelica has an expectorant effect on the lungs and can help soothe and heal asthma, cough, bronchitis, and cold or flu symptoms. Historically, it’s also used to treat bladder infections and rheumatic conditions. As a hot diaphragmatic tea, it will bring down fevers.
- Gastrointestinal: In German pediatric medicine, angelica root is often used to treat gastrointestinal disorders. German doctors rely on a stomach tea made with 20 percent angelica root, 40 percent gentian root (Gentians lutea), and 40 percent caraway seed (Carum carvi). Angelica root is listed in the German Drug Codex, a supplement resource for pharmacists.
- Antiviral: A paper in Food and Chemical Toxicology reported that angelica has antiviral constituents that can help fight Herpes simplex 1 and Coxsackievirus B3.
- Anxiety: A recent Chinese study found that angelica has an anti anxiety effect comparable to Valium.
What is the Difference between European Angelica and Chinese Angelica
Don’t confuse European angelica with Chinese angelica (dong quai, or Angelica sinensis). The Ayurvedic species, Angelica glauca, has similar properties to European angelica. The herb often finds its way into Ayurvedic formulas for emotional balance. It is sometimes combined with arjuna bark, rose petal, and white sandalwood to balance emotions and restore bliss and inner strength. Nutmeg and gotu kola may be added to balance the connection between the heart and the mind. It’s common to add one quarter teaspoon of angelica powder to a basic female aging formula. ADVERTISEMENT
A typical Western herbal ism dose is 4 grams per day as a tea or in capsules. The standard tincture dose (1:5) is 0.5–2 ml, three times daily. Angelica is considered safe, but prudence dictates abstaining during pregnancy. People taking angelica should avoid excess sun exposure because the herb can increase the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight. However, the dose that produces this effect is extremely high in most cases, so just use caution.
Angelica Herb: How To Grow Angelica Angelica By: Bonnie L. Grant, Certified Urban Agriculturist Printer Friendly Version Image by Phil Sellens Next time you have a martini, savor the flavor and remind yourself it comes from the Angelica root. Angelica herb is a European plant that has been a flavoring agent in many popular types of liquor including, gin and vermouth. The Angelica plant has a long history of use as a seasoning, medicinal and tea. Although not commonly cultivated, growing Angelica will increase the variety and interest of flavors in your herb garden. Angelica Herb Angelica plant (Angelica arch angelica) is closely related to carrots and a member of the parsley family. The leaves of the plant are simple and uninteresting but may be dried and used in teas or as a seasoning. The umbrella-like flowers are particularly showy but only occur every two years and after bloom the plant often dies. The umbels are white and each spoke of the flower bears a dangling seed after the blooms are spent. Angelica herb has a pungent musky scent and sweet flavor that is recognizable in some of your favorite spirits. The root, leaves and seeds are all useful. Angelica is a simple rosette in its first year with a small stalk that may grow 1 to 3 feet tall. In the second year the plant abandons the rosette form and grows larger three sectioned leaves and a 4- to 6-foot stalk. The often used root is a thick fleshy piece of vegetation that reminds one of a huge pale carrot. Provide Angelica with plenty of room in the garden as it can spread 2 to 4 feet wide. Angelica is easy to propagate by seeds or division. Top articles 1/5 Seed Starting Times: When To Start Seeds For Your Garden How to Plant Angelica You should plant Angelica annually to ensure a continued supply of the herb. Angelica plant is considered a short-lived perennial or biennial. It flowers after two years and then either dies or may hang on for another year or two. Growing Angelica indoors is optimum in cooler climates. Set the plants out before they get taller than 4 inches, as they grow a long taproot and transplant is difficult if they get larger. Angelica herb can also be started from division of the roots in spring. Growing Angelica The herb prefers cool climates and a semi-shady to sunny location. If planted in a zone with hot summers, a dappled shade location will provide protection for the heat sensitive plant. Angelica herb thrives in moist fertile soils rich in organic matter. For best results, plant Angelica in slightly acidic soil. The plant is not drought tolerant and should not be allowed to dry out. Angelica herb is easy to care for as long as it is in well drained soil with proper light exposure. Keep weeds away from the plant and maintain moderately moist soil. Water the plant from the base to prevent fungal diseases. Cut the stalk at the end of the first year to promote flowering in the second.