Angelic has been known for centuries to help, medicinally, in many ways. The history of how Angelica came to be is very interesting. It is said that Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. According to history, this plant is believed to be “The Root of the Holy Ghost,” and has magical powers that are effective against evil spirits. Angelica roots were also used by Native Americans in ceremonies to ward off any evil spirits or unwanted ghosts. Towards the end of this article, I will provide different methods for making teas, cough syrups, and home made aromatherapy for your long hot bath.
- This plant has been used for ailments such as headaches, chest congestion, insomnia, fevers, skin rashes, flu, wounds, tooth aches, arthritis, flatulence, to produce menstrual flow, and to induce abortions.
- Chinese and Japanese angelica both have more than double the pain relieving effect of aspirin, making it widely used for pain, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.
- Angelica has been used for allergies against pollen, foods, dust, and animal dander.
- Internally, Angelica combats bronchitis, mucus, and influenza, as it soothes the bronchial smooth muscle.
NOTE: Angelica Root, when fresh is poisonous, but drying eliminates the poison making it safe for use and consumption. If you are harvesting Angelica from the wild, (which I do not suggest you do), please use EXTREME caution and know what you are doing before using it. Angelic and water hemlock look almost exactly the same. Water Hemlock is very poisonous and you will require medical attention immediately.
How Does Angelica Work
The leaves, stems, roots, seeds and oils are all used, so none of this herb will go to waste. You can make teas, cough syrups, aroma therapy for baths. In Chinese medicines it is used as a tonic and is primarily used for women’s cramps and menopausal symptoms (specifically hot flashes). It is also considered and anti- spasmodic herb. Externally, angelica can be used for arthritis, rheumatic pain, pleurisy and neuralgia.
Reactions to Look For
As always with herbs, it is not to be taken by pregnant women or those breast feeding without a Doctors consent. Equally, it should not be taken by those with heart problems or diabetes. Take caution if exposed to sunlight, you may develop a rash, so use sunscreen if possible. Studies have shown skin can become very sensitive to sunlight while taking angelica.
Angelica is a tall plant and can reach up to 8 feet in height, so take this into consideration when you are deciding where to plant your new found herb. It is a very aromatic herb that some would say is musky in scent, and others would say it smells more like wild celery. The roots are long and thick while the stalks are thick but hollow. The leaves are very thin (fine) and bright green, and the edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers range from white to yellow-bright green. They blossom in July and are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, 1/6 to a 1/4 inch in length when ripe.
Angelica is neither annual, nor naturally perennial. Weird right? Let me explain. It does not fit into the annual category, because it won’t flower, seed, and die until the second or third year (which would indicate biennial). The plant can survive for many years (suggestive of a perennial), if flowering is thwarted.
Angelica should typically be started from a seed. It does not propagate well by cutting the offshoots or by division. It grows in upward height of about 3-8 feet and will produce large umbels of yellow-green flowers. Angelica is not hard to germinate but to improve germination, stratification and indoor starting of seedlings is definitely recommended. That has had the most success in my experience.
It is best to start seeds in late summer or early fall, but if you miss those dates it can be started in early spring as well. This herb prefers partial shade to full sun and tends to grow closer to water or moist soil. Angelica can adapt fairly well to different lighting and soils but seems to grow its best around and under trees. It has even been known to withstand hard winter weather and not be harmed, truly a remarkable plant. Insects and normal plant enemies do not usually attack Angelica. About the only thing you would have to be worried about is a common fly. The laid maggots love to feast on the leaves.
Tamp seeds into top surface of soil (1/4″ or less deep) or cover lightly with a thin layer of soil.
Do not place outside if expecting a freeze. Instead, the seeds can be placed into a refrigerator overnights and removed in the mornings to simulate this temperature cycle. During this stratification period, make sure seeds receive adequate water, but not so much as to promote fungus. With heat and moisture, the seeds should germinate within ten days. Once your seeds reach 3-4 inches in height, you can transplant them out doors. Space them approx 12 inches apart and 36 inches between rows.
Harvesting Your Angelica
As I said earlier in the article, just about every part of this plant can be used for medicinal purposes and some for culinary or aroma therapy. You can collect leaves off the plant in the first year of growth, but be careful not to over harvest. You do not want to cause damage to the main root/stem. Roots can be harvested late in the second year or early in the third year.
Using your plant:
- Arthritis: Make Angelica tea and drink 1-2 cups a day. Add honey or sugar to taste.
- Digestion: Make a cup of Angelica tea and drink after dinner.
- Bronchial: Pour boiling water over 1 ounce of bruised or cut angelica root. Cover, and let sit for 30 minutes. After cooling, bottle and take 2 tablespoons 2-3 times a day.
- Cough syrup: Boil 2-3 angelica roots in a quart of water. Strain and add enough honey to make it cough syrup consistency. Take 2 tables spoons up to 3 times a day to relieve cough and congestion.
- Aroma Therapy: Cut some angelica leaves and stems and place in a cheese cloth or at the end of some old panty hose, tie and drop in a hot bath to relieve some stress.
How to make Angelica tea:
Things you will need:
A suitable cup to drink from
A pot to boil water and seep tea in
1 pint water
1 ounce bruised angelica root, or 1 ounce dried angelica root
Boil your water then remove from heat
Add your angelica root or dried angelica
Cover and let seep for about 15 minutes
Angelica seeds or leaves, (dried or fresh) can be blended with other herbal teas and and consumed as needed.
Warning: Caution: Do not use internally during pregnancy without discussing with your obstetrician, it has been known to induce abortion. As always, this article is not meant to replace your doctors’ directives. Always consult your doctor when thinking of trying an herbal remedy or changing your current medication. In no way am I suggesting you use herbal medicine without your doctor’s consent or to replace any medications prescribed by your doctor.
Keep it Spicy My Friends,