Angelica health benefits: mainly for digestive disorders

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Angelica is easily mixed up with Hemlock

Angelica is easily mixed up with Hemlock

Originally published on Herbal Medicine from Your Garden

Angelica, Angelica archangelica (but may be labeled Archangelica officinalis), is also known as European angelica, garden angelica, angelique and archangel. There is another herb also sometimes called archangel, the white deadnettle.

It’s important to grow angelica using seed from a reputable source, and never collect from the wild, as it is easily mixed up with hemlock, which is deadly.

When I was a child, angelica stems were often candied and used to decorate cakes and confectionery. It’s much less commonly seen today, but you may still be able to buy candied angelica from supermarkets or suppliers of cake decorations. The raw uncandied stems are sometimes chopped and mixed with cream cheese to make an unusual tasting spread.

As a remedy, angelica is mainly used for disorders of the digestive system, such as flatulence (“wind” or “gas”), heartburn (acid reflux), indigestion, colic and intestinal cramps associated with diarrhea. It should not be taken in large doses, as it can have unwanted side effects on respiration and blood pressure. Given these effects, it may be better to use some other remedy internally, unless you don’t have another remedy to hand.

A standard infusion is made from 30g (1 ounce) of chopped leaves and stems to 250ml (1 US cup, 8 fl oz) of boiling water, left to stand for at least 10 minutes before straining for use. For internal use, the maximum dose is 75ml (one third of a US cup) up to 3 times a day.

The same infusion can be used after cooling as a gargle to help relieve the pain of sore throats and tonsillitis.

As with all herbs used for medicinal purposes, angelica should be grown organically to ensure that its active constituents are not diluted by foreign chemicals. To find out more about growing organic angelica visit the Gardenzone.


Angelica essential oil is not suitable for use during pregnancy or by anyone with sensitive skin. There are 2 different essential oils: angelica seed essential oil and angelica root essential oil. Angelica root oil is phototoxic; do not use if you suffer from skin cancer/melanoma.

As with all essential oils, angelica essential oil should never be taken internally, even though you may see this recommended elsewhere. Essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause permanent damage if used in this way, even if you think you have diluted them. Be safe and use them as intended, in massage blends and diffusers, and keep them out of the reach of children at all times.

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