By Talitha Johnson
Angelica archangelica can be found growing wild throughout the USA. It is native to the Apiaceae family, which includes: lovage, dill, carrot, fennel, parsnip, coriander, cumin, caraway, dong quai, parsley, hemlock, osha, etc. Angelica, also known by its common name: wild celery. It grows best near water, and in gardens prefers wet soil.
Constituents: flavonoids, coumarins, sterols, volatile oils, sugar, silica, terpenes
Herbal Actions: bitter, alterative, expectorant, sialagogue, aromatic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, carminative, astringent, emmenagogue, analgesic, mild nervine, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial
Parts Used: usually the roots are used for medicine, the stems are often used for added flavor to candies and the leaves are edible.
Getting to know Angelica:
Angelica has a wide range of medicinal use; and has an affinity for supporting a variety of systems in the body: immune, respiratory, digestive and reproductive. When using in respiratory formulas, the roots’ antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties are often used during the first stages of the flu, helping to support the immune system to fight off pathogens. Its diaphoretic qualities assists with moving fever symptoms to the periphery of the body allowing it to be released through the body’s extremities.
Angelica’s antimicrobial, antiseptic and expectorant herbal actions yields it to be useful in alleviating deep lung infections that have moved to the lower levels of the lungs.
Its bitter, aromatic and warming properties has made this herb a useful cholagogue, helping to alleviate colic, bloating, flatulence and/or indigestion.
Angelica’s antispasmodic properties yields itself to support the nervous system, helping to soothe anxiety. Its somewhat tingly taste boosts its alterative action, allowing it to mildly cleanse both the blood and lymphatic system.
In the reproductive system, angelica’s uterus stimulating properties makes it really useful for helping with the onset of a delayed menstruation; similarly, it is also used to help bring about labor. The herb is given during post-partum, allowing the complete release of the afterbirth. The root is said to help with excruciating menstrual pain resulting from endometriosis, especially when using the freshly dried herb.
On the contrary, angelica should be avoided by women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding and individuals looking to become pregnant due its strong uterine stimulating action.
In conclusion, angelica’s warming, aromatic, pungent taste helps to move the fluids throughout the body whether its blood circulation, stimulating bile, menstruation or phlegm in the respiratory tract.
Contraindication: Avoid during pregnancy or if trying to become pregnant. Women who experience heavy menstrual bleeding should also avoid during menstruation. It is said that with long term use angelica may cause photosensitivity for some. Avoid long-term sun exposure with long-term use, or vice-versa (simply avoid long-term use and enjoy the sun). Avoid using with any blood thinning drug like warfarin, salicylates and anticoagulants. Due to its warming qualities, avoid in people with hot constitutions. The fresh root is poisonous, use dried root only.
Talitha Johnson Combines both culture and health in the center of her herbal practice, as she studies Western Herbalism and incorporates Caribbean and indigenous techniques. An avid learner, she has studied with Wildflower Herbal School of Botanical Medicine, herbalists Jim McDonald and Sam Coffman. She has facilitated skill share workshops for youth, organized holistic health events like the Detroit Healing Tour, the Urban Apothecary and founded Amour All Naturals. While exploring the world through a continually blossoming herbal lense, she includes LOVE at the center of her work. With love, she empowers others to join her in exploring herbalism and connecting to one's immediate bio-region. She creates natural body care products via her company Amour All Naturals, and blogs about her herbal adventures, discoveries and learnings.