Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), Angelica archangelica
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Angelica, Angelica archangelica L., is a herbaceous,
aromatic herb native to Eurasia and commercially cultivated in
Belgium, Germany, France, and several other countries. Also known
as archangel, European angelica, garden angelica, and wild parsnip,
the species has sometimes been classified as Angelica officinalis
Moench or Angelica officinalis (Moench) Hoffm. (Reaching
a height of 2 meters, the plant has compound leaves, a hollow
stem, a long, thick, fleshy root, and a compound umbel with greenish-white
The reported life zone of angelica is 5 to 19°C with an annual
precipitation of 0.5 to 1.3 meters and a soil pH of 4.5 to 7.3
(4.1-31). The hardy plant thrives best on rich, well drained loam
soils. Considered a biennial or short-lived perennial, the
plant dies after flowering. Cross-pollination is by bees.
Roots intended for flavoring agents are often harvested in fall
of the first year. Leaves and stalks are generally harvested in
the spring of the second year. Seeds are harvested when ripe.
Under cultivation, tops are usually pruned to prevent bloom and
thus allow root growth to continue.
The essential oils obtained from the seeds and roots by steam
distillation are known to contain d--phellandrene, -pinene,
osthenole, osthole, angelicin, -thujene, camphene, and numerous
other compounds (1.1-242, 1.2-112). The fruits of angelica
contain a higher percentage of oil and are rich in coumarins (1.2-113,
8 14.1-35). Root oil is considered superior to the oils obtained
from other parts of the plant.
As flavoring agents, roots and seeds of angelica are widely used
in alcoholic liqueurs such as benedictine and chartreuse, and
in gin and vermouth. The fruit is used in herbal teas. The leaves
are sometimes blanched, boiled, and eaten in salads or as a garnish
with vegetables and meats. Leaf stalks may be candied and used
in cakes and desserts. The essential oil of angelica is used in
perfumes, soaps, salves, oils, shampoos, and cigarettes.
As a medicinal plant, angelica was considered to have 'angelic'
healing powers. It was used as a carminative, expectorant, stimulant,
stomachic and tonic. The plant has been used as a remedy for nervous
headaches, fever, skin rashes, wounds, rheumatism, and toothaches.
Seeds have been used as a diaphoretic and diuretic. Angelica has
exhibited antimicrobial activity (8.2-80).
Several other Angelica species have traditional medicinal
uses The roots and rhizomes of Angelica pubescens
are employed in Chinese herbal preparations for arthritis, rheumatism,
headache, toothache, abscesses, and carminative activity (11.1-10).
Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels is used in treatment
of such acute abdominal conditions as appendicitis and against
psoriasis (7.7-6, 11.1-97). This plant has been shown
to induce uterine contractions and relaxation, act as a sedative,
and overcome symptoms induced by vitamin-E deficiency (11.1-96,
11.1-97). Toki, the root of Angelica acutiloba
(Siebold and Zucc.) Kitag, has been shown to be an effective analgesic
and to have anti-inflammatory effects (7.6-206). Lahnophyllum
lactone and osthol isolated from Angelica klusiana
have been shown to repel sea snails (1.8-115).
Wild angelica is the common name for Angelica sylvestris
L., a small plant native to Bulgaria. The angelica tree is Aralia
spinosa L., grown primarily for its ornamental value. The
Japanese angelica tree, Aralia eleta Miq. is native to
northwest Asia. The Chinese angelica tree, Aralia chinensis
L. (Aralia sinensis Hort.), is native to China.
The Angelica species are generally recognized as safe for
human consumption as natural seasonings/flavorings, and Angelica
archangelica L. is also safe as a natural extractive/essential
oil (21 CFR sections 182.10, 182.20 ).
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997