Angelica archangelica (Umbelliferae)
The dried roots and seeds and fresh
leaves and stems of this European variety are used by herbalists -- and related
varieties by Eastern physicians -- for a range of conditions from flu to
indigestion. The name comes from its repute as a treatment for pestilence.
The crystallized stems of angelica are used in confectionery and the making of liqueurs
such as Chartreuse and vermouth. Its medicinal use was not popular until the 15th
century, when it was used mainly against the "plague and all epidemical diseases". It was
seen as a wonder plant and Culpeper recommended it for conditions ranging from
dog bites to gout. Native to northern Europe, it is biennial with a thick fleshy
root, hollow stems, toothed leaves, and clusters of greenish flowers in late summer.
Dried root and seeds, fresh leaves and stems.
Volatile oils containing pinene
and cymene; valerianic acid; coumarins; iridoids; resin; tannins.
Reduces muscle tension and spasm; induces sweating; expectorant; bitter (digestive stimulant);
relieves wind and colic; increases urine production.
Given for catarrh, bronchitis, flatulence and indigestion, and also used as a digestive and liver tonic.
Several related species are prescribed in Chinese medicine for colds, headaches, arthritis and rheumatism, and in Ayurvedic medicine for digestive
problems and circulatory conditions.