Also known as Masterwort, Archangel and Garden Angelica.
Parts used: Leaves, stems, seeds, roots.
Leaves can be eaten raw or cooked. With a liquorice-like flavour,
they can be used as a flavouring in mixed salads. The stalks and
young shoots can also be eaten cooked or raw. The stalks should be
peeled and used rather like celery. They can also be used to sweeten
tart fruits and to make jam. Combined with rhubarb it sweetens
and reduces acidity. Ginger and Angelica makes a wonderful healthy,
delicious jam. They are often crystallised in sugar and used as sweets
and cake decorations. The stems are best harvested in the spring. An
essential oil is obtained from the root and seeds and is used as a food
flavouring. Roots should be cooked. Seeds and roots can be used as
a flavouring in liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Benedictine liqueurs
which are made by monks. A tea can be made from the leaves, seeds
or roots. The seeds can be used in biscuits.
Angelica has a long folk-history of use as a medicinal herb, in
particular for the treatment of digestive disorders and problems with
blood circulation. The root is the most active part medicinally. It
should be harvested in the autumn of its first year of growth, sliced
longitudinally if necessary and dried quickly. If well stored, the root
retains its medicinal virtues for many years. The leaves and seeds can
also be used. The leaves are harvested and dried in late spring before
the plant comes into flower.
The plant is antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic,
expectorant, stomachic, a stimulant and a tonic. An infusion is used
to ease flatulence, indigestion, chronic bronchitis and typhus. It
stimulates blood flow to the peripheral parts of the body and so
is of value in treating poor circulation – it is considered a specific
treatment for Buerger’s disease, a condition that narrows the arteries
of the hands and feet.
Angelica is contra-indicated for people with a tendency towards
diabetes since its use can increase sugar levels in the urine. This plant
should not be prescribed for pregnant women, nor should the juice
be allowed to come into contact with the eyes. An essential oil from
the seeds is sometimes used as a rub to relieve rheumatic conditions.
It is sweet, pungent, warm and generally drying. It is a blood tonic
for anaemia and after childbirth. It has antispasmodic properties for
indigestion, stimulates appetite, is a digestive tonic and aids the liver.
For arthritis and rheumatism it is anti-inflammatory and antirheumatic.
Angelica promotes sweating, helping chills and influenza.
A professional herbalist may give it as a uterine stimulant for retained
products after childbirth or during a prolonged labour. (It is strongly
contra-indicated during the first 7 months of pregnancy). A poultice
of the leaves can be used to relieve sunburn but use with caution. It
is most effective in epidemics and is used to strengthen the heart.
Angelica is good for a sluggish liver and spleen.
Angelica Infusion – Place 1 tablespoon of the cut roots of either
species of angelica in a pint of water and bring to a boil for two
minutes in a covered pot. Remove from heat and let stand, covered,
until the tea cools to room temperature. Drink the pint in 3 doses
during the day.
Various species of Angelica have been used to quiet pain by
American Indians throughout Northern America. The European
species (Angelica Archangelica) and the Chinese species (Angelica
Sinensis) have been used in the same way, in the folk medicine of
Europe and China respectively. The Chinese species is sometimes
sold in North America under the names Dang Gui or Dong Quai.
All species contain anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and anodyne
(pain-relieving) properties. It is a master healer.
Historical / Myths & Legends:
According to one legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream to a
monk by an angel to help cure the plague (hence the name Angelica
or Archangel). All parts of the plant were believed effective against
evil spirits and witchcraft. It was held in such esteem that it was
called ‘The Root of the Holy Ghost.’ In America it was used by the
Iroquois and other tribes as Witchcraft Medicine. An infusion of
smashed roots was used as a wash to remove ghosts from the home.
Holistic / Spiritual Properties:
It is the Master Herb of Protection and as such is associated with
Archangel Michael. It can be used in a purifying bath. According
to Culpepper “It resists poison by comforting the heart, blood and
It is connected to both Archangel Michael and Archangel Gabriel.
Energetically it anchors the Celestial Guardian, or Guardian Angel,
an angel for everyone in this incarnation and it helps open the heart
centre. It links the Root and Sacral chakras to the Throat centre,
helping us to speak our truth within interpersonal relationships with
the energy of love.
As a Master Protector, Angelica transforms negative energy. It may
be worn as an amulet or burned as incense. Leos have good luck
with Angelica. Use it when you wear white and invoke Venus, The
Goddess of Love to help with intimate relationships.