Angelica is a genus of about 60 species of tall biennial and perennial herbs in the family Apiaceae, buy angelica plant native to temperate and subarctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere, reaching as far north as Iceland and Lapland.
Angelica has a long folk-history of
use as a medicinal herb, in particular for the treatment of digestive
disorders and problems with blood circulation. The root is the most
active medicinally, it should be harvested in the autumn of its first
year of growth, sliced longitudinally if necessary and dried quickly. If
well stored, the root retains its medicinal virtues for many years. The
leaves and seeds can also be used. The leaves are harvested and dried
in late spring before the plant comes into flower. The plant is
antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant,
stimulant, stomachic, tonic. An infusion is used to ease flatulence,
indigestion, chronic bronchitis and typhus. It stimulates blood flow to
the peripheral parts of the body and so is of value in treating poor
circulation - it is considered a specific treatment for Buerger's
disease, a condition that narrows the arteries of the hands and feet.
Angelica is contra-indicated for people with a tendency towards diabetes
since its use can increase sugar levels in the urine. This plant should
not be prescribed for pregnant women, nor should the juice be allowed
to come into contact with the eyes. An essential oil from the seeds is
sometimes used as a rub to relieve rheumatic conditions.