Angelica

Scientific names: Angelica archangelica, synonymous with Archangelica officinalis.

Common names: Angelica also is known as European angelica, and Echt engelwurz (German).

Efficacy-safety rating:

Ò...Little or no evidence of efficacy.

Safety rating:

...Little exposure or very minor concerns.

What is Angelica?

Angelica is a widely cultivated, aromatic biennial, northern European herb with fleshy, spindle-shaped roots, an erect stalk, and many greenish-yellow flowers arranged in an umbrella-like shape. The seeds are oblong and off-white. It is similar to and sometimes confused with the extremely toxic water hemlock, Cicuta maculata. There are several recognized varieties of A. archangelica, wild and cultivated. In the US, A. atropurpurea often is cultivated in place of the European species.

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What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

Angelica has been cultivated as a medicinal and flavoring plant in Scandinavian countries since the 12th century and in England since the 16th century. Angelica formerly was used as a sedative. The roots and seeds are used to distill a volatile oil used in perfumery and as a flavoring for gin and other alcoholic beverages. The candied leaves and stems are used to decorate cakes.

GI conditions/Anti-inflammatory

The oil has been used medicinally to stimulate gastric secretion, and to treat flatulence. Topically, it is used to treat rheumatic and skin disorders. Research reveals there are no clinical data for the use of angelica for any medical condition.

What is the recommended dosage?

Angelica root typically is given at doses of 3 to 6 g/day of the crude root.

How safe is it?

Contraindications

The leaf and seed of angelica are unapproved.

Pregnancy/nursing

Documented adverse effects. Emmenagogue (to stimulate menstrual flow) effects. Avoid use.

Interactions

Avoid using angelica root concurrently with warfarin.

Side Effects

Furanocoumarins in the plant may cause photodermatitis.

Toxicities

Poisoning has been reported with high doses of angelica oils.

References

  1. Angelica. Review of Natural Products. factsandcomparisons4.0 [online]. 2004. Available from Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. Accessed April 16, 2007.

Copyright © 2009 Wolters Kluwer Health

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