Angelica (Angelica archangelica, Angelica sinensis)
Angelica is a tall, striking plant in the garden with large umbels of flowers in summer. It produces masses of seeds and will happily reseed itself every year. It is used medicinally, in confections and as a flavoring. Other names for this herb are Angelic herb and Root of the Holy Spirit. Growing to over 3 meters it takes its name from the star shaped leaves that look like angels' wings. This is a very powerful herb that is used throughout the world with good medicinal results.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Angelica can be used to fight colds, coughs, flatulence, colic, rheumatism, disorders of the urinary tract and for fever. It makes a good expectorant for pulmonary congestion. The juice from the stem can be dried and used to treat gout and rheumatism.
Angelica sinensis is used in Chinese medicine and is known as dong quai. This herb is a natural anticoagulant. Dong quai affects the uterine muscle and can regulate dysmenorrhea. It has effects on the cardiovascular system, and can lower blood pressure, correct atrial fibrillation, dilate the coronary vessels, increase coronary flow, and reduce the respiratory rate. Dong quai is a common treatment for menopause, relieving hot flashes, perspiration and chills.
Externally Not used externally.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
A mixture of dong quai and astragalus treats renal fibrosis. In Chinese medicine, dong quai is never prescribed alone, it is always a part of a mixture of herbs.
Roots, stems, seeds, leaves - The roots, leaves and seeds are used medicinally. The stems and leaves are used in confections and to flavor liqueurs. The dried leaves are used to make hop bitters because of their aromatic qualities.
Do not take angelica if you are pregnant. Tell your caregiver you are nursing before taking. This herb will make you photosensitive, so stay out of the sun as much as possible. If you are allergic to angelica, you will notice breathing problems or a tightness in the chest or throat, chest pain or hives, rash or swollen or itchy skin.
Don't take if you are taking anticoagulants, and it may be contraindicated if you are diabetic.
Preparation and Dosage
Follow the dosage set by your care giver. Be sure they know all other medications you are taking. If you are using an over the counter medication, follow the instructions on the bottle carefully.