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Garden Angelica

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  • Botanical: Angelica archangelica
  • Family: Umbelliferae
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Garden Angelica

Botanical

Angelica archangelica

Family

Umbelliferae

Known as

Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, Norwegian Angelica, Arznei-Engelwurz, Echte Engelwurz

Old Use

medical, induatry

Parts Used

leaves, roots, seed

Medicinal

asthma, bronchitis, bronchitis, colds, colic, coughs, difficulty breathing, fever, kidney weakness

Infection & Inflammation

fever

Muscle & Joints

rheumatism

Respiratory System

asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, cough, difficulty breathing, lung weakness, respiratory

Properties

carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, tonic

Description

The roots of the Common Angelica are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy - large specimens weighing sometimes as much as three pounds - and are beset with many long, descending rootlets. The stems are stout fluted, 4 to 6 feet high and hollow. The foliage is bold and pleasing, the leaves are on long stout, hollow footstalks, often 3 feet in length, reddish purple at the much dilated, clasping bases; the blades, of a bright green colour, are much cut into, being composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels. They blossom in July and are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to a 1/4 inch in length when ripe, with membraneous edges, flattened on one side and convex on the other, which bears three prominent ribs. Both the odour and taste of the fruits are pleasantly aromatic.

Properties & Uses

The root stalks, leaves and fruit possess carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic and expectorant properties, which are strongest in the fruit, though the whole plant has the same virtues.

Angelica is a good remedy for colds, coughs, pleurisy, wind, colic, rheumatism and diseases of the urinary organs, though it should not be given to patients who have a tendency towards diabetes, as it causes an increase of sugar in the urine.

It is generally used as a stimulating expectorant, combined with other expectorants the action of which is facilitated, and to a large extent diffused, through the whole of the pulmonary region.

It is a useful agent for feverish conditions, acting as a diaphoretic.

 

Other use

Angelica is largely used in the grocery trade, as well as for medicine, and is a popular flavouring for confectionery and liqueurs. The appreciation of its unique flavour was established in ancient times when saccharin matter was extremely rare. The use of the sweetmeat may probably have originated from the belief that the plant possessed the power of averting or expelling pestilence. The preparation of Angelica is a small but important industry in the south of France, its cultivation being centralized in ClermontFerrand. Fairly large quantities are purchased by confectioners and high prices are easily obtainable. The flavour of Angelica suggests that of Juniper berries, and it is largely used in combination with Juniper berries, or in partial substitution for them by gin distillers. The stem is largely used in the preparation of preserved fruits and 'confitures' generally, and is also used as an aromatic garnish by confectioners. The seeds especially, which are aromatic and bitterish in taste, are employed also in alcoholic distillates, especially in the preparation of Vermouth and similar preparations, as well as in other liqueurs, notably Chartreuse. From ancient times, Angelica has been one of the chief flavouring ingredients of beverages and liqueurs, but it is not a matter of general knowledge that the Muscatel grape-like flavour of some wines, made on both sides of theRhine, is (or is suspected to be) due to the secret use of Angelica. An Oil of Angelica, which is very expensive, was prepared in Germany some years ago: it is obtained from the seeds by distillation with steam, the vapour being condensed and the oil separated by gravity. One hundred kilograms of Angelica seeds yield one kilolitre of oil, and the fresh leaves a little less, the roots yielding only 0.15 to 0.3 kilograms. Like the seeds themselves, the oil is used for flavouring.

Cautions

The linear furanocoumarins are well-known dermal photosensitizers, while the angular furanocoumarins are less toxic. 18 The presence of linear furanocoumarins in the root indicates that the plant parts should be used with caution if exposure to sunlight is expected. The coumarins are not important constituents of the oil, which, therefore, gives the oil a greater margin of safety in that respect.

Poisoning has been recorded with high doses of angelica oils.

Distribution

Angelica archangelica grows wild in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It is cultivated in France, mainly in the Marais Poitevin, a marsh region close to Niort in the départment Deux-Sèvres. It also grows in certain regions in Germany like the Harz mountains, and in certain regions of Romania, like the Rodna Mountains, and some South East Asian countries like Thailand.

Constituents

The volatile oil contains many monoterpenes; β-phellandrene is the principal component of var. angelica , while sabinene is the most abundant monoterpene of var. sativa . Sesquiterpenes also are numerous in the oil; α-copaene and other tricyclic sesquiterpenes are characteristic constituents. Supercritical fluid extraction has been studied as an alternative method of extracting angelica volatiles. The shelf life of the root is limited because of the loss of the volatile oil while in storage. The small organic acid, angelic acid, was the first compound purified from the root in 1842. 15-pentadecanolide ( Exaltolide ) is a fatty acid lactone constituent of the root with a musk-like odor, used as a fixative in perfumes. As with most of the many species of angelica, A. archangelica contains a wide variety of coumarins and their glycosides. The angular furanocoumarins, archangelicin and angelicin, and congenersare present in the roots, and many glycosides and esters of linear furanocoumarins also have been reported. A trisaccharide, umbelliferose, originally was isolated from angelica roots.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.