There are about 60 species of angelica. The plant is a member of the Apiaceae / Umbelliferae family (Parsley family). Some say this species is a native of Syria and spread to Europe.
Also known as Dang Gui in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the name’s literal translation means “State of Return.”
Angelica has been famous since very early times in both Western and TCM herbalism as a cure-all, blood purifier, digestive, and supporter of female reproductive health
Here are 5 Unexpected Uses for Angelica:
- Raw, Cooked or Candy: A gentle but powerful tonic herb, it can also be eaten raw, cooked, or as a candy. Angelica roots are used medicinally and the stems can be used for flavoring candy and stews. The stems were also used to prevent and aid indigestion. The only herb considered stronger for aiding indigestion, is ginger. Due to their aromatic qualities, the dried leaves are used in preparing hop bitters and the plant is the main flavoring ingredient in gin. Its fresh leaves can also be used in poultices for lung and chest diseases.
- Protection Against Negative Energies: Since very early times, angelica has been viewed as a protector against witchcraft and plagues. All parts of the plant are believed to protect against harm, spells, and enchantments.
- Female Ginseng: The Chinese revere it as one of the fundamental herbs for aiding female disorders. It is the most highly regarded Blood Tonic in Asia and is used by both men and women. It is often called the “female ginseng” tonic herb. Angelica is a traditional birthing herb used to assist delayed labor and to help expel the placenta following childbirth. It also improves sex drive. Research has proven it tonifies the entire female hormonal system.
- Joint, Skin and Nerve Pain: Used externally for joint pain, nerve pain, and skin disorders. The resin angelicin is stimulating to the lungs and skin. The herb is also used internally to improve blood circulation, beautify the skin, and hasten the healing of cuts, sores, and wounds.
- Alcohol or Water: Angelica’s properties are best extracted in alcohol, though water can also be effectively used. Consumed raw or with alcohol, angelica can relax the uterus. Used with water, it is said to tonify the uterus and can stimulate contractions.
And remember to use gloves while pruning, as the plant can cause dermatitis and photosensitivity. And be sure about your plant identification! Do not confuse angelica with hemlock which is poisonous, has reddish or purple spots and streaks on its stems and whose leaves are fern-like and smell foul when crushed. Angelica’s leaves are much larger and are compound with dozens of leaflets and are not foul-smelling.