Monograph, Angelica archangelica
Latin Name: Angelica archangelica (Kingdom: Plantae, Division:
Magnoliophyta, Class: Magnoliopsida, Order: Apiates, Family:
Apiaceae/Umbelliferae, Genus: Angelica, Species: A. archangelica)
Common Names: Garden Angelica, Root of the Holy Ghost, Wild Parsnip, Wild Celery, Masterwort, European Angelica, Norwegian Angelica, Dead Nettle, Red Archangel, Bee Nettle, Archangel
Habitat/Cultivation: For best medicinal potency, prefers shady area in deep, moist slightly acid loam near running water. However, will grow in a variety of conditions. Seeds should be sown directly outdoors immediately after removal from the plant or, if absolutely necessary, stored in plastic in the refrigerator. Plant in the coolest part of the garden and avoid soggy soil. After flowering, the plant will not return. If the flowering stem is cut back, the plant will probably last for four years at most.
Range: Spread throughout Northern Europe, but also grow in the Alps and Pyrenees. Cultivated in Germany for mass production drug use but known as Angelica sativa, differing from the native species. (There are many American species, which are widespread, and it should be noted that of these, the fresh roots of A. atropurpurea should not be eaten because they are poisonous)
Description: Plant grows 5-6 feet high and 2-3 feet wide. It has square,
hairy stalks, dented bright green opposite leaves at the bottom of the stalk, round, pointed, hairy leaves towards the tops, and a strong fragrant smell. Flowers grow in rounded clusters and are greenish-white to yellow-cream colored. Roots have a grayish brown exterior, yellow-white interior, are not too thick, grow 2-4” long just under the soil. The roots are aromatic, sweet, spicy, and bitter. The seeds are oval with an ash color. They are aromatic and taste pungent, sweet, and bitter.
Time: Flowering starts in early Spring and continues through Summer.
History/Folklore: Believed to be native to Syria. Praised in antiquity for protection against contagion, purifying blood, and curing all infectious maladies and poisons. A. archangelica was associated with a Pagan festival in Couriand, Livonia, Pomerania, and East Prussia. Post
Christianity, A. archangelica was associated with the Annunication,
Archangel Raphael, Michael the Archangel, was believed to be a guard
against witchcraft and evil spirits, and was used as a counter active to
Parts Used: fruit, leaf, stem, rhizome, root
Food Uses: Flavors food and many different liqueurs. The seeds are used in alcoholic distillates. Oil of Angelica (from seeds) has also been used to flavor wine. Chopped leaves are eaten in salads and other dishes, and are used to neutralize acidity in sour fruits. Stems are eaten plain when young (celery tasting), candied, or used in jams. The fresh root contains a honey like aromatic fluid.
Medicinal Uses: Used for a wide variety of ailments, as a carminative,
diuretic, diaphoretic, stimulant, tonic, emetic, stomachic, and expectorant. Regulates menstruation, mood elevator, eases swelling, joint pain, used to heal wounds and ulcers, good for bruises and burns, given for typhoid states, chills, gout, chronic rheumatism, bronchitis, coughs, colds, pleurisy, colic, feverish conditions, flatulence, spasms, cystitis, and is useful in treating anorexia nervosa. Protects liver from oxidative stress, used to treat skin disorders.
Focusing on A. archangelica to treat respiratory and digestive/stomach disorders.
Action: The root is used to treat stomach disorders, including anorexia
nervosa, easing the digestive tract by stimulating the secretion of gastric
juices. Used as an aromatic and bitter tonic to treat dyspepsia. Angelicin,
one of angelica’s active coumarin and furanocoumarin constituents,
relaxes gastrointestinal, tracheal, vascular, and respiratory smooth
muscles when taken internally.
Toxicity: Should be avoided by people with heart problems and diabetics because it increases sugar in the urine. Should not be used during pregnancy. When using angelica as medicine, avoid excessive sun
exposure (due to coumarins, phototoxic). Furocoumarins in Angelica can also give some allergic reactions in the form of skin rashes and nausea.
Fruit: 1-2g daily
Leaves: infusion, 1t 3x daily
dried infusion, 2-5g 3x daily
fluid extract, 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 1-5ml 3x daily
tincture, 1:5 in 45% alcohol, 2-5ml daily
Stems and Roots: yellow juice dried and used
Root/Rhizome: fluid extract, 0.5-2ml 3x daily
tincture, 0.5-2ml 3x daily
essential oil, 10-20 drops daily
decoction with honey to make a syrup, 2T dose 3-4x daily
infusion of bruised root, 2T 3-4x daily
dried infusion, 1-2g 3x daily
Note: Shelf life for the cut or sliced root is 18 months maximum and 24
hours for the powdered root (www.herbalgram.org sites DAB-DDR, 1983; Meyer-Buchtela, 1999).
Constituents: bitter principles, tannin, resin, valeric acid, angelic acid,
linoleic acid, archangelenone (flavonoid), palmitic acid, caffeic and
chlorogenic acids, sugars (fructose, glucose, sucrose, umbelliferose), coumarin
compounds, coumarins osthol (major constituent in rhizome/root),
umbelliferone, root contains furanocoumarins, volatile oils: 0.35-1.3% in
the root and fruit (80-90% are monoterpenes, including phellandrene, pinene, sabinene, thujene, limonene, linalool, borneol, and four macrocyclic lactones)
Standardization: “German pharmacopeial grade angelica root consists of the whole dried rhizome and roots of Angelica archangelica L., carefully dried at below 40 C. It must not contain less than 0.25% volatile oil with reference to the dried drug. It may contain no more than 5% stem and leaf fragments and no more than 5% discolored components. Botanical identity must be confirmed with thin-layer chromatography, macroscopic and microscopic examinations, and organoleptic evaluation. Additionally, a test for adulteration with Levisticum officianle is required. The Austrian Pharmacopeia requires no less than 0.3% volatile oil…the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia requires it to be harvested in Autumn and that it should not contain less than 30% water soluble extractive…the German Drug Codex also requires not less than 30% extractive.” (excerpt taken from http://www.herbalgram.org/youngliving/expanded commissione/he001.asp)
Culpeper, The Complete Herbal
Felter, M.D., Harvey Wickes and Lloyd, John Uri, Phr.M., Ph.D., King’s
Harmala P, Vuorela H, Tornquist K, Hiltunen R, “Choice of solvent in the extraction of Angelica archangelica roots with reference to calcium
Yeh ML, Liu, CF, Huang, CL, Huang TC, “Hepatoprotective effect of
Angelica archangelica in chronically ethanol treated mice”
Ojala T, Vuorela P, Kiviranta J, Vuorela H, Hiltunen R, “A bioassay using
Artemia salina for detecting phototoxicity of plant coumarins.”