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Angelica archangelicaAngelica archangelica (Umbelliferae)

ANGELICA

 

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.

 

PARTS USED

Dried root and seeds, fresh leaves and stems.

 

ACTIVE INGREDIENTS

Volatile oils containing pinene and cymene; valerianic acid; coumarins; iridoids; resin; tannins.

 

ACTIONS

Reduces muscle tension and spasm; induces sweating; expectorant; bitter (digestive stimulant); relieves wind and colic; increases urine production.

 

MEDICINAL USE

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.

 

PREPARATIONS

Infusion, tincture.

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