Angelica

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Angelica,… archangelica, atropurpurea, pachycarpa…. and others

 

History

From the Apiaceae family. Other members of this family are carrots, coriander, Chervil, and parsnip to name a few. This group of plants were named as “umbelliferae” and many publications still use this name. (Just think of ‘Umbrella ‘ which is the shape of their flowers to help you identify them)

Easy to grow, can reach a height of 2 metres.

Gets its name from the legend that the archangel Michael exhorted that it be used to combat bubonic plague.

A. pachycarpa – ornamental variety used for garnishing – not for eating.  Used in floral arrangements.  Grows to 1m high.  Glossy dark leaves.

A.  sinensis – Chinese angelica.  Dong quai.  Roots used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat fatigue, mild anemia, high blood pressure.  Lower growing, does not self seed easily.

Growing

Perennial varieties can be divided. Biennial varieties are raised by seed. Most will self seed readily once well established. Prefer light shade. Angelica likes moist humus rich soil.  Does best in part shade.  Flower heads attract beneficial insects as do all plants in this family.

Fun Facts

Monks use it in liquors – Chartreuse, Vermouth, Benedictine.

As an infusion – a bowl filled with fresh angelica steeped in boiling water for 15 minutes.  Strain into bath.  Said to ease tensions

Angelica tea known for calming nerves, reduce tension, alleviate respiratory or digestive problems.

Uses

Cooking:  Cook with apples or rhubarb to reduce/eliminate the need for sugar (leaves and stems)

A. archangelica is used crystallised and is a flavouring for gin and chartreuse.  Also known as Garden Angelica.