Names: garden angelica, Archangel, Masterwort, Holy Ghost; Engelwurtz, Graten- Angelika, Echtes Engelworzkraut, Brustwurz (German); angelique, angelique cultivee, Saint- Esprit (French); angelica (Italian); angelica (Spanish); Arcydziegiel Lekarski, Litwor, Arcydziegiel litwor, Ziela Ducha Swietego (Polish); tuin-angelica, engelkruid (Dutch); ch’ien-tu (Chinese)
Properties: carminative, anti-spasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, aromatic, pectoral, stimulant, tonic
History: Language of Flowers meaning — inspiration; magic. Angelica’s sweet stems and seeds have been used for European candies and other confections since the Vikings brought the herb to central Europe in the 10th century. Preserved legal texts of the 12th century state that a tenant farmer who had an angelica garden must be allowed to take the plants when he moved. It is first mentioned medicinally by European herbalists in the 15th century. The name is reported to have been given it by a monk when the Archangel Raphael descended and announced it was a cure for the plague. Its reputation as a health-restorer has followed it through the centuries. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel and is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft. North American Indian singers used an angelica decoction made from the stems to gargle before long, sacred ceremonies.
Angelica is an old remedy for flatulence where the stalks were slowly chewed until the condition was relieved. This was 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 antiarrhythmic compounds, one of which is said to be as active as verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), a popular calcium channel blocker. This recipe comes from Jim Duke’s book: Anti-arrhythmic Angelade: put angelica roots, carrots, fennel, garlic and parsnips through the juicer. Add some water and spices to make it drinkable and it’s suggested to drink 1-2 8 oz classes daily.
Pharmacologically, angelica is usually listed among plants with volatile oils, but from the clinical point of view it is more appropriate to include it among the aromatic tonics, as its main uses are in this field. 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.