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Angelica

Common Name: Angelica Angelica Flower
Genus:  Angelica
Species: archangelica
Family: Apiaceae
AKA:  Garden Angelica, Root of the Holy Ghost, Archangelica officinalis

Historical Uses:

Medical:

Used with better success for the stopping and hardness of the spleen than stinging nettles. By using the decoction of the herb in wine, and afterwards applying the herb hot unto the region of the spleen as a plaister, or the decoction with spurges.  Flowers of the white archangel are preserved or conserved to be used to stay the whites, and the flowers of the red to stay the reds in women.  The herb also bruised, and with some salt and vinegar and hog-grease, laid upon an hard tumour or swelling, or that vulgarly called king’s evil, do help to dissolve or discuss them.(1)

The roots of the garden angelica is a singularremedy against poison, and against the plague, and all infections taken by evill and corrupt aire, if you do take a peece of the root and hold it in your mouth, or chew the same between tour teeth, it doth most certainely drive away the pestilential aire, yea although that corrupt aire have possioned the hart, yet it driveth it out again by urine and sweat, as Rue and Treacle, and such like Antipharmaca do.It is reported that the root is availeable against witchcraft and inchantments, if a man carry the same about them as Fuchsius saith.(2)

Culinary:

Leaves flavor fish and jam and the stalks are candied as a confection.(3)

Household:

Used in perfumery and as a flavoring in liquor.(4)

Folklore/Astrology:

Herb of the Sun in the sign of Leo. Said to carry off the effects of intoxication and rendered witchcraft harmless.(5) Hot and dry in the third degree.(6)

Other:

Connected with the Feast of the Annunciation and the Archangel Michael.(7) Unknown in classical times it is said to have been revealed by an archangel as a cure for the plague.(8)

Contemporary Uses:(9)

Parts Used:

Leaves, roots, seeds, stem, oil

Medicinal:

For digestive problems, including gastric ulcers, anorexia, and migraine headaches, bronchitis, influenza, poor circulation, fatigue, menstrual and obstetric problems. Used externally for neuralgia, pleurisy and rheumatic pain.

Culinary:

Young leaves eaten as celery. Young stalks are candied and used as decorations for desserts. Can also be added to jams and marmalade.  Flower buds are eaten raw in salads or cooked.

Economic:

Oil from roots and seeds is used to flavor ice cream, candy, vermouth, vodka and liqueurs.

Cautions:

Not given to pregnant women or to persons with diabetes.

Plant Characteristics:

Area of Origin: Northern and Eastern Europe
Physical description: Thick hollow fluted stems, grows to 6 feet, long stalked leaves.
Plant type: 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.(10)
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Flower color: greenish-white flowers
Flowering period: late spring to early summer
Soil type/requirements: Rich moist soil
Hardiness zone: USDA 4 to 9
Sun requirements: sun or partial shade
Propagation: By seed in autumn or spring

Bibliography


1.    Culpepper, p. 10-11
2.    Gerard, p.999-1001
3.    Anderson, p. 29
4.    Ibid
5.    Ibid
6.    Gerard, p.999-1001
7.    Bown, p 122
8.    Anderson, p. 29
9.    Bown, p. 122
10.    Grieve, p. 36

Illustrations:

1.    Gerard’s Herbal    1633
2.    PSUMG        2005