Cultivated mainly for its sweet-scented edible roots, the Angelica Archangelica should not be consumed unless it has been recognized correctly, as, in appearance, it is very similar to many other poisonous species. While it only grows leaves in the first year, the fluted stem can reach a height of 2.5 meters during the second year.
The leaves contain many leaflets, each of which is divided into three main groups. Each of the subdivisions is further divided into three lesser groups. The leaf has very fine serrated edges and the yellowish, or greenish flowers are grouped into a large bulbous umbel and blossom around July. It bears oblong fruits that are of a pale yellow colour. There are many varieties of Angelica, however, only the Angelica Archangelica is used for medicinal purposes.
While all the parts of the Angelica Archangelica can be used for culinary purposes, they are not usable throughout the year. Autumn of the first year is the best season for roots and the stem and leaves in the spring of its second year. In many cold places like Finland and Siberia, it is considered a vegetable and the stem that can be eaten raw.
In gardens, it is used on the edges to make the border of the garden look tall.
Botanical Name and Family
Botanical Name: Angelica Archangelica
Family: N. O. Umbelliferae
Geological Area where Garden Angelica grows
It is a native of North America, Europe, and Asia. It grows abundantly in cold places. Since it is a biennial plant, it will flower after two years and then die or just hang for another one or two years. It is heat sensitive and requires a shady spot or partially sunny place. It thrives indoors and requires moist soil that is fertile and organic rich. A slightly acidic soil is beneficial. The plant needs to be given adequate water and not allowed to dry out. It should always be watered from the base, and the stalk should be cut at the end of the first year.
Medicinal Uses of Angelica Archangelica
- The Angelica Archangelica has been known to be used as a cure for respiratory ailments.
- It is also used as an aid to digestion.
- It is used directly on the skin to counter neuralgia or nerve pain, joint pain, and various skin disorders.
- The expectorant properties make it an effective remedy for cold and cough.
- It is also a useful antidote for the feverish condition.
- In the olden days, it was used for patients suffering from typhoid.
- The famous herbalist and botanist John Gerard (1545–1612) who authored many books also claimed that the plant has properties that can cure the bite of “mad dogs and other venomous beasts.”
It is a very versatile plant whose roots, seeds, and fruits can be used for medicinal use. However, always refer to a physician to check suitability and dosage.
It is also commonly used in the grocery trade and a flavouring agent for confectionery goods. In ancient times, Angelica has been used as a flavouring ingredient for beverages and liqueurs when saccharin was not easily obtainable. In a limited manner, the extracts of this plant are also used by companies manufacturing perfumes.