Angelica is a member of the carrot family, indeed a big member as it can reach 12 feet in height. There are at least four species used medicinally, Chinese, Japanese, American, and European. All four have been used to increase resistance to infectious disease and improve general health. This is one of the earliest “tonics” identified by mankind and one that is still widely available. I have written a lot about it and if you would like to know more, read on!
Fact Sheet: Chinese Angelica
Fact Sheet: Japanese Angelica
Chapter from “Thirty Plants that Can Save Your Life”
Chapter from “Dictionary of Aphrodisiac Plants”
Fact Sheet: Chinese Angelica
Scientific name: Angelica sinensis
Parts Used: root
Remember This: female tonic
Reasonable Uses: general female health booster, poor gynecological health or function, irregular and painful periods, PMS, infertility, and menopause.
History and Traditional Uses
European angelica(A.archangelica), American angelica (A.atropurpureus) and Chinese angelica (A.sinensis) have all been tonic favorites for thousands of years. All have been used to boost vitality, Chinese angelica specifically used to increase the health of women and gynecological health. In recent days, Chinese Angelica has surfaced as the woman’s tonic of the year 2000. The Chinese say that regardless of what ails a woman, angelica will help!
Scientific Back Up
Angelica boosts general health due to its unique health stimulating compounds, which include essential oils and bitter-tasting principles. The bitters stimulate appetite, aid digestion, increase nutrient absorption, ease gas and relieve constipation. Its essential oils are thought to mimic female hormones. These oils are said to normalise hormone levels in the young and boost those in the old. The same oils increase circulation and kill infection causing microbes. Chinese angelica has been shown to stimulate the major body systems to enhanced function which would lead to increased vitality.
Herbalists Use It To…
Perk up the peaked
Life can takes its toll on our health and vitality, leaving us feeling run down and washed out. In moments such as these Angelica is used to increase energy levels through vitality boosting. When life is demanding, use Angelica to help your body meet the challenge.
Power up passion
Herbalists who use Chinese angelica suggest women build passion with tonic herbs like Chinese angelica. Stress and age undermine hormone levels and with low hormone levels comes low libido. Practitioners find that in both cases Chinese angelica can give a woman a new lease on that part of life.
The Chinese say there is no better an herb for the hot flashes, dry skin, memory loss, mood swings, and irritability than angelica. Indeed, they say Angelica will keep a woman young forever! (Perhaps an exaggeration)
In reality, it is being used by women who prefer to steer clear of HRT(Hormone Replacement Therapy). Whereas the jury is out on HRT, Chinese women have been using Chinese angelica for centuries with no reported problem!
Increasing numbers of woman trying to start a family are having a problem conceiving. This is especially true when they start later in life. The Chinese insist angelica is the fertility herb for woman and western practitioners are finding this to be the case. Healthy women have an easier time getting pregnant than not so well women. Chinese angelica’s general and specific tonic effect may be just what they need to get that family started.
Angelica tincture and tablets are available at most health food stores. Only buy products that indicate they are made out of the root of Angelica sinensis. Avoid products made of the leaves or seeds. Avoid products that contain other herbs.
Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun while taking angelica. It enhances sun sensitivity and could cause a rash. Avoid Angelica if you are pregnant. Do not use if you are undergoing treatment for breast cancer, cervical cancer, uterine cancer, or ovarian cancer.
Black Cohosh(Cimicifuga racemose) or Chasteberry(Vitex agnus-castus)
Fact Sheet: Japanese Angelica
Common name: Ashitaba
Scientific name: Angelica longeradiata ( Kitagawa)
Part used: Root
Principal Use: Poor digestion, infections, skin disease
Principal Action: Stomachic, aromatic bitter, antiseptic, antimicrobial, vulnerary
History and Traditional Uses of Ashitaba
Ashitaba is native to the Izu islands in the temperate Pacific Sea. In appearance, it is quite similar to its more commonly known relative, garden angelica (Angelica archangelica). It grows wild in the sandy beaches of these southerly Japanese Islands.
Ashitaba’s name, in Japanese, refers to an interesting botanical fact. If its leaves are picked in the morning, new leaves will be in place by the next morning. The plant is incredibly vigorous and its name reflects this! Indeed it thrives in roadsides and backyards without any care on the part of the gardener. The Izu islanders have used this wild plant as both food and medicine since the earliest times.
General Health Tonic
In traditional medicine, the plant is seen to be a strengthening tonic. The Izu Islands used to be a place of exile, criminals and social outcasts relegated to these desolate islands as a form of punishment. The exiles were forced to withstand poor diets and hard labor. They foraged for food gathering their sustenance from the rock and sand. Surprisingly, historic records indicate that despite harsh circumstances, the exiles were healthy and lived long lives. Tradition attributes this unlikely healthfulness to the continual consumption of Ashitaba.
In fact, one of the greatest Japanese medical men, Kaibara Ekiken, described it as a powerful tonic medicine over three hundred years ago. As if often true of tonic plants, islanders use it to increase milk flow in the mother and sex drive in the father!
Since the earliest day, it has been used to improve digestion. Medicinally speaking, like its brothers and sisters in the Angelica genus, Ashitaba has a bitter taste and contains bitter principles. Indeed, like its relatives, the bitters it contains increase appetite, improve digestion, speed elimination of waste and generally act as a digestive tonic.
Immune System Tonic
Ashitaba was also seen as a powerful medicine against infectious disease. Before vaccination was introduced, whenever smallpox raged, Ashitaba was brought to the mainland to cure those infected and prevent infection in those still well. This tradition of using Ashitaba to stop smallpox from spreading started with the Izu islanders, but was well accepted in mainland Japan long ago.
Skin Tonic -Wound Healing Agent
When you break the stems and roots of Ashitaba, a sticky yellow juice gushes out. In fact, this is one of the unusual characteristics of the plant. The juice which so readily flows from the plant is used topically to treat a host of skin conditions. The juice of the plant is applied to boils, cysts, and pustules to speed healing. It is used to clear athletes foot fungal infections. It is applied to repel insects and to speed healing and prevent infection in insect bites. Indeed, applying the juice of the plant is said to cure most skin conditions and to prevent infection in wounds. It is used both in chronic and acute skin complaints.
The Science of Ashitaba
Coumarins: psoralen, imperatorin,columbianagin ,isorhazelpitin, rhazelpiton, selinidin Chalcones: xanthoangerol 4-hydrodexydelisin glycosides: isoquercitrin. Ruteorin. Angelic acid. Bergapten. Vitamins: β-carotene, vitamin C, potassium, calcium, iron
As a consequence of its many and varied traditional uses, the plant has been the subject of scientific research. One of the first findings was that the yellow color of the juice is due to pigments known as chalcones-compounds almost unique to Ashitaba. Chalcones are rarely found anywhere in the natural world! Research has shown that the unique healing properties of Ashitaba are at least partly due to these unique compounds.
• Chalcones were revealed to be antibiotic and active against staphylococcus in vitro
• Chalcones were found to work on the mucus membrane in the stomach and suppress the excessive secretion of gastric juice which in turn prevents ulcers
• The chalcones were found to inhibit thromboxane 2 – they inhibit the inflammatory process
In the contemporary world a specially prepared Ashitaba powder is produced which preserves its active constituents. Its tonic attributes are thought to be of use to anyone in need of a blast of vitality.
Ashitaba is seen as a superb supplement for those who have weak digestion, or gastric or duodenal ulcers. Whether digestive inactivity or overactivity, Ashitaba can be used to regulate a badly behaving digestive tract.
Acute and Chronic Skin Conditions
When applied topically, its wound healing activity is phenomonal. It can be used in acute and chronic skin problems, from accidents to psoriasis. It should be applied regularly until the skin condition clears.
When infection comes to town or the office cubicle, this remedy can be used to prevent infection and or limit an infection once it has taken hold.
• Tooru Okuyama, Miraculous Ashitaba, Heart shuppan, 1994
• Kimie Baba, Healthy vegetable Ashitaba, Chikuma shuubansha, 1995
• Hida, Medicinal herb Ashitaba, Tsuchiya shyoten, 1991
• Kazuo Izawa, Color Encyclopedia of Medicinal Herbs, Shufunotomo-sha, p501, 1998
Chapter from “Thirty Plants That Can Save Your Life”
Common name: Chinese Angelica
Common name: European Angelica
Common name: American Angelica
Let’s start our meet and greet session of our ingredients with angelica, a plant thought to be so heavenly the ancients named it after the folk in the sky known to float down from time to time and help we human beings out.
What is angelica? You may have seen the white strips of angelica for sale in jars at the herb sellers. The contents of these jars is the dried root of the angelica plant. There are over fifty varieties of angelica growing all over the globe, each type used by the local population to preserve health. The Asians use the local angelica chinensis, the Europeans use their native daughter, angelica archangelica. Each and every angelica has been recognized by its neighbors to have special powers in staying well.
In the larger picture angelica belongs to a family of plants that is one of the most magical on the planet, the umbelifera family. The name quite literally means the umbrella family, referring to the shape of the flower head of all members. The roster of famous umbrella blooming relations is so long a whole book could be written on this single family. Members of note include carrots, parsnips, parsley, coriander, dill, chervil, celery, skirret, sea holly, anise, cumin, and asafoetida to mention just a few. The family is noted worldwide for its medicinal touch, and angelica its most famous member. Every family has its over achievers, and angelica soars above its famous relations in the health department.
Angelica in fact looks like a carrot plant, with the small exception. A carrot plant rarely reaches twelve inches in height and angelica can easily reach 10 feet. We are talking about a mammoth carrot. If you were to see the two plants side by side, the carrot plant with its fluffy foliage coming to your ankle and the angelica plant soaring with great stems way over your head, believe me, you would know which plant was the most powerful. Medicinal plants do in a way show their powers on their shirt sleeves, they simply look special, different, even a bit odd. When you look at an angelica plant, you can see the power in the plant.
There is a notion among herbalists past and present, one that I know to be true. It goes like this, “for every disease God makes he also makes a plant that will cure it.” Looking at angelica’s track record it would seem that God was killing a few birds with one stone when he dreamed up this plant up.
As I mentioned, the world is populated with a variety of angelica plants, and rather than talking about all, we will do a “the best of angelica.” It comes as no surprise the plants we will be talking about are the ones that you are likely to find for sale at the usual herb stops. Before we move onto the specific plants it is interesting to note that all the angelicas, from continent to continent are used for the same purposes, regardless of in what country the plant is found growing. Lets move on!
In Chinese medicine nine angelica species are used in medicine, collectively known as dang guei in Asia , the angelica of choice being angelica chinensis. In Asia this plant is considered the supreme tonic for women, said to keep women if tip top health from puberty to menopause and beyond. If ginseng is the main herb used in China as a male tonic, angelica is the female counterpart. Angelica is one of the first recorded chinese drugs, appearing in a medical text dating to the year 400 b.c. Doing a little quick math tells us that this was 2400 year ago, roughly 12 times longer than the United States has been in existence, 400 years before the birth of Christ. The plant is still in daily use in 1992, many years after it was first mentioned in a Chinese medical text.
Before we go any further, ask yourself a question, do you think people would stick with a plant for roughly 7200 generations if it didn’t work? Of course they wouldn’t. We all know the consumer is a very difficult beast, and he or she doesn’t buy things that don’t work a second time. I toss this little bit in here at this point to put any doubts you might have to rest.
Women just being women are subject to a host of diseases and ills that men will never understand. Men never have to get pregnant, miscarry, die in childbirth or from any of the many infections and cancers that attack the female reproductive tract. Possessing a set of ovaries and a uterus is risky business, and was much more so in days gone by. The Chinese observed that women that took angelica on a daily basis, conceived easily, didn’t miscarry, delivered safely, and breezed through menopause with no problem. And most importantly, women on angelica didn’t suffer from the monthly visitor as badly as those not on angelica.
Though the plant is considered supreme in the women’s department, their use of the plant goes far beyond this point. Just for fun, let’s look at what the villagers across China use angelica to treat, ever bearing in mind they have used it for these purposes for 2400 years or 7200 years. (I am aware I am repeating myself, I did it to reinforce my point.) Notice the plant is used to beef up every major organ most humans possess:
arthritis: muscles and bones
general tonic: entire body system
lung tonic: lungs
nervous diseases: mind and central nervous system
stomach tonic: stomach
circulatory problems: heart
Well, that just about covers the whole body. The only part left out is the body wrapping known as the skin, which is also kept in good stead with a little angelica, taken internally or used as a skin lotion. It’s all well and fine that ma and pa villagers have used the plant to keep all these organs working smoothly in the Chinese outback, but let’s get real, have any of them checked out? Do any of them stand up to the scientific research process we all believe in so absolutely?
In a nutshell, yes. It’s all true. Angelica has been proven to be or do the following:
cause uterine contractions
sedate the central nervous system
relaxes smooth muscles
As I mentioned earlier angelica is the main women’s tonic in China . It is used in every phase of reproductive health. Of course the central theme being menstruation as that one thing being done for a long time. As you just noticed, angelica has been proven to be anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, a relaxer of muscles, and a stopper of bleeding. Sounds like a description for a miracle, by prescription only drug? No, just angelica roots boiled in a little water. Don’t forget it is also a cancer preventative.
On a similar front, the Chinese believe that women that take angelica maintain their youth far beyond its term, and as such it is included in all the major beauty cremes. In the old imperial days, the emperor’s wives and courtesans kept angelica wrapped in their girdles to increase their beauty and protect them from evil spirits. This sounded like a wives tale to me. One day I was sitting at the Chinese herbalist buying some props for a show when an attractive woman walked in and started a conversation, bored in line I enjoyed the diversion. We were talking about Chinese herbs and their efficacy, when the stately women asked what I thought her age was. I said thirty-five, she answered seventy-two. She then pulled out pictures of her mother who could have passed for 55, real age, 91. What was she in the shop buying? Angelica.
Angelica has been used to treat on overwrought nervous system. More simply put, folks that edge on neurotic. Science has proven that angelica is a mild sedative, just what the doctor ordered. One symptom of many nervous types is a clenching stomach, also taken care of with a hot cup of angelica tea. Something in angelica reduces griping or the tensing of the body, relaxing a stomach put into a knot with a wave of nerves. In fact, angelica is used by the Chinese to chill out hyperactive children.
Allergies aren’t a really a problem, that is until you develop them and have run around feeling like hell for large chunks of the year. In Chinese folk medicine dong quai is used to treat allergies and all their annoying symptoms, hay fever, asthma, and skin rash included. In the lab immunoperessive activity was observed with both oral and infected root extracts. Put in English, angelica could relieve allergy symptoms. Scientists have been linking allergies and arthritis in recent days, and angelica is also used for creaky joints.
High blood pressure leads to heart disease, a fact commonly held as true. Every time I get out the salt shaker and do my meal justice people look at me and quickly inform me I am doing myself great damage. The Chinese use angelica to treat heart conditions and it has been proven to lower arterial pressure.
One of the most important claims from Joe Blow in the Chinese country side is that angelica, taken with regularity is healthy. In that it is proven to work on all the major body parts, this claim seems quite reasonable. But more than organ toning, angelica kills bacteria, fungus, and virus. These little bad boys are the microbes that bring on colds and infections, knocking them out every day would indeed prevent illness. It seems to be almost like a mild antibiotic that kills whatever needs to be killed, bugs in your system never having the opportunity to take hold. You really can’t loose with angelica.
To deal with our next angelica plant, the European angelica, archangelica, we have to slide around the globe. Let’s pretend it is the year 1580 somewhere in France , let’s say Paris . Imagine yourself living in Medieval Paris, over crowded, people living in the street and on any available roof, pigs, sheep, and cows sharing the road with the pedestrian, everyone making their toilet wherever the moment strikes, and no one cleaning up. Open sewage, flies, rats, smells, pestilence, you know, the good old days when God was number one and the king new best. Needless to say, in this open toilet known as the medieval city, disease was a big part of city living. About the time cities reached their filthy height a disease popped up, the plague, known as the black plague as that what it did to people, turned them black. When the disease swept into a neighborhood there weren’t enough men alive to bury the dead, and bodies were piled on the street corner. It was a black day in Europe , the disease spread by rats left people in terror for their lives. Enter stage left, angelica.
Angelica first appears in medical literature during the middle ages, smack dab in the middle of the outbreaks of the plague. The plant grew alongside the European garden for centuries unnoticed, and for whatever reason, the plant became noticed just at the time the dread disease was sweeping the map. European legend holds that God saw what was happening down on earth and sent angelica down to earth to help man survive the plague. The story goes that the Archangel Michael revealed this plant’s healing power to humanity to spare people death from the plague. Oddly, angelica blooms at the time Europeans celebrate the feast of St. Michael. Michael is by the way, the chief angel, and angelica is called angelica in all Christian countries.
Once the Europeans learned of the plant’s powers, they quickly started using it for all sorts of ills and weaknesses. The herbalists, the doctors of the day, had a lot to say on the plant once it took root in healing.
In 1578 an herbalist by the name of Turner had a few words to say about angelica, “It defends the heart against all poisons.” In those days poisons meant more than toxic chemicals including all things that you couldn’t see that made you ill. Another herbalist of the day had this to say of angelica, “that happy counterbane, sent down from heaven.” People do make a spiteful infusion in angelica, against contagions.” A counterbane was a plant that counteracted what ever was wrong with you, a cure all, an assassin of disease. The common thought in the 16th century was the angelica tea made a powerful, or spiteful infusion, against anything attacking your body.
Gerard, an herbal scientist living in the 17th century, has similar observations. Gerard is rather a controversial character from the past as it seems he stole a dead man’s research and passed it off as his own, some things never change in the scientific community. Whether the research in his book is his or lifted, his statements on angelica are quite insightful.
“The roots of garden angelica is a singular remedy against poison, and against the plague, and all infections taken by evil and corrupt air; if you do but take a piece of the root and hold in it your mouth, or chew the same between your teeth, it doth most certainly drive away the pestilential air, yeah, although that corrupt air have possessed the heart, yet it driveth it out again by urine and sweat.”
First of all, we think the ancients were all amuck when it comes to health, but here we see Gerard saying that disease is spread by bad air. Bacteria are, in fact, spread by little things we can’t see in the air. As in when you office mate with a cold does everyone a favor by coming in to work, and breaths on you, and before you know it every one has what the martyr had. Gerard tells us that angelica can prevent the pestilicential air from taking root in the body, and kick it out if it has already taken hold. I smell a disease preventer and illness ender. Was Gerard all washed up? Absolutely not. Like Chinese angelica, European angelica has been proven to kill bacteria and viruses.
When you think about it, medicine is magic in an odd sort of way, you find yourself sick, you take something, and you feel better. No one understands how medicine really works, but somehow, mysteriously it works with the body, and makes it better. In the ancient days in Europe , people observed that angelica had this magical power of health improvement, and decided that the plant itself was magical.
The magical powers over health were conveyed to all areas of life, angelica was worn as a charm against spells and charms of all sorts, considered an herb of protection. You name it, people thought angelica would do it for you, attract love, big game, provide children, stop the children from coming and more. People felt it protected the body from illnesses, and the spirit from evil. Taking a bath in water treated with the root was thought to give the body a magical body suit no harm could penetrate, a bright glowing aura the super heros would envy. The root thrown about a hunting ground was thought to attract animals for easy hunting. It was used in rituals of protection and rites of purification, an ancient practice was to sprinkle a little of the root in the four corners of a house to prevent entry of any negative spirits or demons.
Most of the strongly healing plants have magical associations as in days gone by people felt that any plant powerful enough to magically heal, had to have other magical powers. These magical associations from the past are part of the reason people deprecate the powers of herbs. We are inclined to say, “oh yeah, that’s the same plant that people think keep the evil spirits out of the house, and you tell me it has healing powers, well, I have some property in Florida for sale.”
The old belief was that angelica when taken in tea hearkened the Archangel down to your bedside to see your problems, and he would in turn heal you. In Du Bartes Silvestris, translated in 1641, we see this notion:
“angelica, the happy counterbane
sent down from heaven by some celestial scout
as well its name and nature doth avow’t”
I don’t know about you, all I have to see is, “sent down from heaven” and my eyeballs start a big roll of doubt. People take one look at a quote like this and quickly say, angels don’t exist. Angelica and its powers to heal must be a wives tale. Well, let’s just toss the kid out with the bath water. Mythical links between plants and gods were created to explaining something that wasn’t rational, something that doesn’t make sense, like healing. Whether angelica beckons angels is immaterial, the fact that people felt compelled to explain a power they couldn’t see is however of significance to us trying to find ways to stay well. A myth attached to a plant is a flag, a hint that there is something special about a plant. Rather than seeing mythical associations as discrediting, I see them as endorsements.
Though the plant came to the fore during the plague days, it lingered on and found a number of uses in maintaining health. Let’s take a look at what the Europeans use the plant for, notice that the uses are almost identical with the Chinese uses. Isn’t it odd that a continent away, all by their lonesomes, the Europeans were discovering the same things the Chinese were noticing thousands of miles away. My, what a coincidence. Angelica is used for:
tumors and sores that wont heal
lack of energy
Aside from curing the plague, the Europeans cottoned onto the idea that angelica was an over all health helper. There is a long held belief that the continued use of angelica leads to incredible longevity. One very old fountain of youth beverage, carmelite water, was made of angelica root, lemon balm, nutmeg, and lemon.
Some very famous European personages used this water dreamed up by some monks to say alive well beyond the natural expectancy. Bearing in mind angelica tones all the principal parts and kills off fungus, bacteria, and virus, its no wonder they lived so long.
Not unlike today, old Europe was filled with disease, new diseases arriving with the merchants traveling about bringing home goods and ills. The modern world is a similar place, as the world becomes a small place the diseases once left in far off lands now travel about in jet planes; we moderns are constantly subjected to diseases from far and wide. Buses, bee hive like office complexes with central air conditioners and shopping malls provide spreading grounds for all the imported diseases. To quote Gerard again, angelica is an enemy to poisons: it cureth pestilent disease if it be used in season: a dram weight of the powder hereof is given within wine.” Angelica may be just the plant we need to stand strong in the face of all the diseases floating about the world.
With the European angle covered, lets cruise on over to the Americas and get acquainted with another angelica, the purple angelica, angelica purpoutrea. There are two dimensions to the use of the American angelica, the first being the use of the plant by the
Native Americans, and the second the use of the plant by the colonials that came and booted the Native out.
The Native Americans used the root of the purple angelica, called such due to its purple stems, along with the leaves and seeds as a general tonic, a treatment par excellence for the stomach, and as a single treatment for a body that seems to be falling apart due to some chronic disease or the onset of age. The plant was thought to make you strong and filled with vigor, as such it was indicated in chronic illnesses, such as cancer or a cold that just won’t go away. It seems years ago you got a cold, and in a week it passed, not to resurface for another year. Today, we have these colds that can last months, and this is exactly the kind of situation the Native Americans used angelica to end.
Once upon a time, long before defense spending bankrupted our nation and there was still money for social programs, there existed a very interesting bureau in Washington . The Bureau of American Ethnicity was a governmental organization that spent its days cataloging what ethnological information, specifically the ways and means of the Native Americans. It seems they knew the natives were being done in and they wanted to capture their knowledge before they went the way of the buffalo. In an article put out by the Bureau on the ethnobotany of the Tewa Indians much was said about native plants, angelica included. The article was written in 1916, and it would seem that the Tewas were still using the plant at that rather late date. The following quote comes from Wilfred Robbins and John Harrington who spent some time with the Tewas.
“The root is highly called as a remedy for diarrhea and almost all stomach disorders. A very small dose is recommended. Some boil the root and drink the decoction; others chew the root dry. A small piece ground fine and swallowed with a cupful of water cures stomach ache and vomiting. It is an article of trade in the Tewa villages; it is brought from the mountains by the Mexican peddlers. The same root is used as stomach tonic by the Yavapai and other tribes of southern Arizona .”
Even earlier than this moment, Mr. Clayton in the year 1687 noted the “Virginia Indians” using angelica in the southern part of the United States . His notes are even more interesting than the later report coming out of the Bureau.
“It stops the flux and cures it to a wonder, again it often loosen and purges the body’s of those that are bound and have the gripes, especially if it proceed from cold, and prevents many unhappy distempers. I have reason to speak well of it, for it is to it, under God, that I attribute the saving of my own life, I take it to be the most sovereign remedy the world ever know in the driving of the guts and admitable against the vapours, it is sudorific and very aromatick, and will not be concealed for wherever it is mices it will have the predominant scent, it’s mostly called by those known it in Virginia by the name angelica.
Testify Brother Clayton! It seems that this colonist was a rather big fan of angelica for treating stomach problems, a serious problem in the days of colonialism. As the Europeans arrived to the wild Americas they came in contact with a number of stomach bugs that if untreated could lead to death in short order. The European intestinal tract wasn’t accustomed to the local bacterias and virus and had a hard time adjusting, and angelica, a plant shown to them by the Native Americans saved more than our informant’s life.
The Shakers, Americas first natural health movement, came from England and quickly got acquainted with angelica. A certain James Parker in the mid 18th century was in contact with a local Indian spirit healer and got the goods on the native angelica and turned the rest of the community onto the plant’s powers for overall health, and specifically treating weakness in the stomach. A recipe book dated July 12, 1866, has been recovered listing recipes given by the good spirit doctor, known as Powaton, to Mr. Parker. Like all the other angelicas, the American angelica contains bacteria killing compounds that explain its use in colonial stomach upset. The white people in on American shores found that like their own European variety, the new angelica, at least new to them, was a health giver.
Now you have the story of angelica, a rather wild tale, but that tells us one thing, angelica is definitely a plant that needs to be included in our own patent medicine. Around the globe angelica is seen as boosting to the body, and in modern lingo might be called an immunity plant. Though many of the claims have been substantiated, they are many more that have not been researched. All facts indicate there is something special contained in this plant, something that may not ever be tacked down by science, but who cares, it if works, use it.
In terms of getting some angelica for use in our tonic, the American can be gathered from the wild, the Chinese can be had at the Chinese pharmacy, and the European can be had at most nature food stores.
Like with all produce, fresh is better, and you might want to think about putting in a row of angelica in the garden for a constant and ready supply. The European plants are available for sale from most mail order herb companies, the other two don’t seem to be so readily available in the live state. I say the plants are available as the seeds don’t remain viable for very long, they have to be planted immediately after ripening, and modern shipping makes it tough for the seedsmen to get the seeds out to buyers while they are still alive. As such, one year old plants are shipped through the mail and will take root immediately in the garden.
Angelica is a perennial plant, sort of. It is actually a biennial, which means that it is mean to live for two years and then die. You can trick angelica into being a perennial, a plant that lives forever by not allowing to go to seed. Once angelica goes to seed the plant keels over and dies, so every summer you have to make haste in cutting the flower head off before it goes too far. By doing this the plant will spread and what was once a single plant will become a clump and then a thicket of angelica.
The root is harvested on an as needed basis, but it along with the stems and leaves can be collected and dried in the shade for use at a later date. In making a tonic we have to have all the ingredients together at the same time, fortunately the root stays good in the ground forever, so harvesting with this ingredient can be done at the moment you want to make your tonic.
Excerpt from “Dictionary of Aphrodisiac Plants”
Angelica archangelica and Angelica chinensis
Part used: root
Chemical contents: angelicin, bergapten, xanthotoxin, umbrelliprenin, phenols, beta-phellandrene, alpha-pinene, borneol, osthenole, osthole, angelicin, methyl ethyl acetic acid, diacetyl, methanol, ethanol, furfural, hydroxypentadecanoic acid, archangelenone, phellandrane derivatives. Seed oil contains: imperatorin, bergaptene, xanthotoxol, umbelliprenin, and phenols, phelandrene, methyl ethyl acetic acid, hydroxypsoralen.
Safety rating: this is one of the safest aphrodisiacs on the market. It’s known to improve fertility, a dangerous side effect to some.
Available: nature food stores and Chinese pharmacies
Angelica is one of our in training aphrodisiacs, its continued use will lead to a healthy body, and renewed vigor, and hardy sexual prowess. The Chinese use this plant for people that have a tremendous amount of stress in their lives, stress robs people of sexual desire. This plant is an energy plant, and its inclusion into daily life is said to get the energy flowing out in all areas of our life.
Firstly, the plant got its name in English, angelica, as it was said that the plant was revealed in an angel’s dream to cure the plague. The angel then sent it down to earth to save people from the pestilence ripping through Europe . As early as 1629, in Parkinson’s Paradise in Sole, the plant was written up as the leading health giving plant. The plant has been recorded in Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Like some of our other aphrodisiacs, angelica is included in some commercially prepared liqueurs, namely Vermouth and Chartreuse. Angelica is something of a relaxant and is a famous stomach tranquilizer. For this reason, angelica flavored liqueurs were served after dinner to aid in digestion and chill the dining crowd out. It also primed everybody for a little late night love making.
Though this plant is great for the body of either sex, the Chinese say it is really a great root for the women out there. The plant is called dong quai, and is used to treat sterility and all female disorders, including frigidity and menopause. If ginseng is the main herb for the male population, angelica is the main plant for the female population. Any female problem that comes up is treated with angelica roots.
Disclaimer: The author makes no guarantees as to the the curative effect of any herb or tonic on this website, and no visitor should attempt to use any of the information herein provided as treatment for any illness, weakness, or disease without first consulting a physician or health care provider. Pregnant women should always consult first with a health care professional before taking any treatment.