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.
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 pregnant women or 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.