There are some herbs when tried for the first time gets an immediate positive response from me. And it’s a great revelation, of “Where has this herb been all my life?!” Then there are some herbs like angelica where I try it for the first time and it has to grow on me. Angelica otherwise known as Angelica Archangelia and known as Angelica Officinalis, is an herb where it took me a couple of times of trying for me to truly love it. It’s now incorporated into my daily morning routine. Before I get into my personal experience with angelica, lets get into the origins, properties and benefits of the herb I now call the herb of movement.
The History of Angelica
Angelica is reported to be initially native to Syria but naturalized to areas all through Europe as well as areas in Spain, Asia and America. There’s over 50 different species of this herb and it belongs to the Apiaceae/Umbelliferae family, the same family which also includes herbs like celery, carrot, parsley, fennel and dill. Angelica is a biennial plant, biennial meaning it takes two years for the plant to complete its biological cycle. The first year of growing, angelica only produces leaves but the second year it can grow up to 6 feet tall producing yellow/green small flowers, flowering in the month of July. It’s the reason why herbalist/astrologer Nicolas Culpeper claimed angelica to be, “An herb of the Sun in Leo.”
Ever since the 10th century it’s been used for food and medicinal purposes. In the 16th century angelica was reported to have been used for intestinal infections, pleurisy, asthma and even for sight and deafness. The Native Americans used angelica quite often. The Creed tribe used angelica root to chew on for stomach discomforts and the Iroquois used angelica in steam baths to treat headaches and frost bite (1).
The whole plant can be used for medicinal purposes however what’s most commonly used and what’s most potent are the roots, seeds and stems. Angelica’s qualities are bitter and warming with the actions of the herb being expectorant, nervine, circulatory stimulant, antimicrobial and carminative. The taste is bitter, aromatic and strong.
The Benefits of Angelica
Here are some of the benefits of using angelica:
- May improve digestion.
- May relieve constipation.
- Helps with anxiety.
- Can be beneficial for colds, especially coughs.
- Helps with gas and bloating.
- Can improve blood flow to increase better circulation.
- May aid in relieving urinary tract infections.
- Can help with menstrual irregularities.
My Experience with Angelica
I decided to incorporate angelica into my herbal routine for a few reasons, (1) being a student of herbology I need to try as many herbs as possible, (2) I need all the help with my digestive system I can get and (3) to help with my anxiety.
Smelling dried angelica root for my first time I was immediately intrigued by the aroma, it had a pungent, medicinal smell to it almost like a eucalyptus smell. Just from the smell alone I could see how if I had a cold this would be my go to herb. For some reason I thought once brewed it would taste similar to St. John’s Wort which I really like but boy was I wrong. For me angelica was very bitter. I very quickly finished my tea and started thinking of ways I could combine angelica with other herbs to make it more palatable.
Since I love licorice and know that licorice is warming just like angelica I felt it would make a nice combination to blend angelica with licorice due to the sweetness of licorice. It would make a nice counterbalance between the bitter and sweet. Licorice also has digestive properties which you can read here which matches angelica’s digestion properties. And this is the way I started drinking angelica each morning. I also started adding this herbal mixture into one of my favorite morning drinks, matcha, with the addition of a little coconut oil for healthy fats.
I’ve found great benefits in drinking my angelica matcha tea each morning. I feel energized but grounded at the same time, my tummy feels good and it also keeps my bowel movements regular each morning. Here’s how I make my angelica matcha tea just in case you want to try it.
You can see how I normally do my matcha latte drinks right here but instead of using my nondairy milk, I use all water.
- I take 212 degrees (according to my electric tea kettle) of boiling water to steep 1 heaping teaspoon of angelica & 1/2 teaspoon of licorice for 10 minutes. Then I strain a little bit of the tea mixture into my matcha and whisk till the matcha is blended, then strain the rest of the tea mixture into the cup, add about a 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil then whisk all together!
Angelica can normally be prepared using the leaves, roots and stems as infusions, tinctures and elixirs. The stems can also be candied or cooked and eaten.
Side Effects of Using Angelica
There are some important considerations concerning angelica. Due to the abortifacient nature of angelica it should not be consumed by pregnant women. It’s also not recommended for women breast feeding. And people dealing with diabetes should not consume angelica due to the sugar content.
As always when using herbs for medicinal applications consult an herbalist and/or holistic physician to make sure you’re taking the right herbs and quantity of herbs for your condition.
Angelica is such a magical herb that not only does it get the blood moving, gets the mind and body out of stagnation but it’s been said that the hollow stem of angelica can be used to make a flute-like instrument which sounds like a clarinet(2); Amazing right? What other herb can do this?? With this bit of information alone can you see why I consider Angelica the number one herb of movement. 😊
Herbal Medicine for Beginners by Katja Swift & Ryn Midura link here
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal, Nicholas Culpeper link here
Peace & Wellness!