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Angelica

Scientific Name(s): Angelica archangelica L., Archangelica officinalis Hoffm.
Common Name(s): Chorak, Echt engelwurz, European angelica, Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Norwegian angelica, Wild Celery

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 1, 2019.

Clinical Overview

Use

Angelica may have applications in treating epilepsy and anxiety; however, clinical trials are lacking to support therapeutic applications, and its use should be balanced against the possibility of increased formation of amyloid beta peptides. Antioxidant activity has also been reported.

Dosing

Angelica root typically is given at doses of 3 to 6 g/day of the crude root, but clinical trials are lacking regarding dosage recommendations.

Contraindications

Crude fruit extract is not recommended; safety and efficacy have not been established.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use. Adverse effects and emmenagogue effects have been documented.

Interactions

Angelica sinensis exhibits antiplatelet aggregating activity.

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical trials provide information on adverse effects. A small clinical trial found no increase in blood pressure or heart rate during 8 weeks of leaf extract use. Allergic dermatitis has been reported, and photosensitization is possible.

Toxicology

Poisoning has been reported with high doses of angelica oils. The constituent imperatorin has been shown to accelerate the formation of amyloid-beta peptide in vitro.

Scientific Family

  • Apiaceae (carrot)

Botany

Angelica is a widely cultivated, aromatic biennial herb grown in northern Europe. It has fleshy, spindle-shaped roots, an erect stalk, and greenish-yellow flowers arranged in an umbel. The seeds are oblong and off-white; angelica seed is more accurately the plant fruit. It is similar to, and sometimes confused with, water hemlock (Cicuta maculata), which is extremely toxic. There are several recognized varieties of A. archangelica, both wild and cultivated. In the United States, Angelica atropurpurea L. is often cultivated in place of the European species. A. archangelica should not be confused with related "Chinese angelica" or dong quai (A. sinensis).Khan 2009, USDA 2014

History

Angelica has been cultivated as medicine as well as for flavoring in Scandinavian countries since the 12th century, and in England since the 16th century. The roots and seeds are used to distill about 1% of a volatile oil used in perfumery and for licorice flavor in liqueurs and other alcoholic beverages. The candied leaves and stems have been used to decorate cakes. The oil has been used medicinally to stimulate gastric secretion and treat flatulence, and to topically treat rheumatic and skin disorders. The Ayurvedic medical system suggests angelica for CNS effects. Angelica root, root powder, essential oil, and tinctures are prepared and used traditionally.Blumenthal 2000, Duke 2003, Khan 2009, Knapp 2009, Pathak 2010

Chemistry

Dried rhizome and roots, which should not contain more than 5% stem or leaf content are used. Requirements for the volatile oil composition have been published, and leaf extracts and essential seed/fruit oil have also been examined for pharmacological effect. The dried root comprises 80% to 90% monoterpene hydrocarbons (including phellandrene, caryophyllene, pinene, and limonene), with 6% resin and 0.3% angelic acid. The remaining composition includes sterols, phenolic acids (including chlorogenic and caffeic), fatty acids, coumarins and furanocoumarins, and tannins.

Pharmacologically active compounds include furanocoumarins, umbelliferone, begapten, colubiandin and others. The shelf life of the root is limited due to the loss of the volatile oil while in storage, and geographical variation has been noted. Methods of extraction and analytical procedures have been described. Duke 2003, Khan 2009, Sarker 2004, Sigurdsson 2012, Waksmundzka-Hajnos 2004, Wszelaki 2011

Uses and Pharmacology

Although the constituents imperatorin and xanthotoxin have been shown to inhibit acetylcholinesterase, thereby increasing neuronal levels of acetylcholine and improving cognitive function, accelerated formation of amyloid-beta peptides has also been demonstrated.Budzynska 2012, Granica 2013, Sigurdsson 2007

Anxiety

Animal data

Competitive antagonism of 5-hydroxytryptophan receptors has been demonstrated in vitro.Budzynska 2012 Limited studies in rodents show imperatorin derived from fruit extracts to be effective in reducing laboratory-induced anxiety.Budzynska 2012, Kumar 2013, Kumar 2012

Clinical data

A small open-label study and a small crossover trial evaluated a combination preparation containing angelica in controlling behavioral symptoms of dementia. While decreased distress was shown in these studies, further clinical trials using angelica as a single agent are required before recommendations can be made.Kanaya 2010, Kimura 2011

Epilepsy

Animal data

Inhibition of the degradation of gamma-aminobutyric acid has been demonstrated in vitro.Budzynska 2012 Anticonvulsant effects of imperatorin have been shown in rat neurons, resulting in dampened excitatory activity.Wu 2013 Experiments in rats show increased seizure threshold and suppressant effects on tonic-clonic seizures by imperatorin and the essential root oil.Luszczki 2007, Luszczki 2009, Pathak 2010

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of angelica for epilepsy.

Other uses

A hepatoprotective effect seen in mice fed ethanol for 4 weeks was suggested to be due to antioxidant activity.Yeh 2003 The calcium-blocking activity of angelica root has been examined relative to solvent used in extraction, and furanocoumarins were identified as the likely active species.Härmälä 1992 Inhibitory action against Helicobacter pylori by the leaf extract has been demonstrated.Biglar 2014 Volatile oil extract of angelica fruit was cytotoxic against mouse mammary cancer cells,Sigurdsson 2005 while radioprotection was shown in rats, possibly due to antioxidant activity.Raafat 2013 An industry-sponsored trial reported a nonsignificant effect on nocturnal enuresis, with subgroup analysis suggesting some effect on voiding.Sigurdsson 2013

Dosing

Angelica root typically is given at doses of 3 to 6 g/day of the crude root, but clinical trials are lacking regarding dosage recommendations.Blumenthal 2000

Crude fruit extract is not recommended; safety and efficacy have not been established.Blumenthal 2000

Pregnancy / Lactation

Avoid use. Adverse effects and emmenagogue effects have been documented.Ernst 2002

Interactions

Angelica contains furanocoumarins, which, although often thought of as coumarin-like, are more accurately attributable to dicoumarol.Pengelly 2004, Sigurdsson 2013 Case reports of interactions with warfarin or other anticoagulant medicines are lackingUlbricht 2008; however, A. sinensis does exhibit antiplatelet aggregating activity.Mason 2010

Adverse Reactions

Limited clinical trials provide information on adverse effects. A small clinical trial found no increase in blood pressure or heart rate during 8 weeks of leaf extract use.Sigurdsson 2013 Allergic dermatitis has been reported.Knapp 2009

The presence of photosensitizing linear furanocoumarins in the root indicates that the plant parts should be used with caution during exposure to sunlight. Coumarins, found low in concentrations in the oil, are partially removed during some extraction processes.Khan 2009, Raquet 2014

Toxicology

A median lethal dose of 2,000 mg/kg for the essential oil in mice has been reported,Pathak 2010 while an oral dose of 5 to 10 mg/kg in rats has been suggested to be a safe and effective dose of imperatorin.Kumar 2013 The constituent imperatorin accelerates the formation of amyloid-beta peptide in vitro, the implications of which are as yet undetermined.Budzynska 2012 Poisoning has been recorded with high doses of angelica oils. Phototoxic and genotoxic effects on human cells have been demonstrated when furocoumarins are combined with ultraviolet irradiation.Raquet 2014

References

A. angelica. USDA, NRCS. 2014. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 28 April 2014). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
Biglar M, Sufi H, Bagherzadeh K, Amanlou M, Mojab F. Screening of 20 commonly used Iranian traditional medicinal plants against urease. Iran J Pharm Res. 2014;13(suppl):195-198.24711846
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
Budzynska B, Kruk-Slomka M, Skalicka-Wozniak K, Biala G, Glowniak K. The effects of imperatorin on anxiety and memory-related behavior in male Swiss mice. Exp Clin Psychopharmacol. 2012;20(4):325-332.22686497
Duke JA. Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2003.
Ernst E. Herbal medicinal products during pregnancy: are they safe? BJOG. 2002;109(3):227-235.11950176
Granica S, Kiss AK, Jarónczyk M, Maurin JK, Mazurek AP, Czarnocki Z. Synthesis of imperatorin analogs and their evaluation as acetylcholinesterase and butyrylcholinesterase inhibitors. Arch Pharm (Weinheim). 2013;346(11):775-782.24123207
Härmälä P, Vuorela H, Törnquist K, Hiltunen R. Choice of solvent in the extraction of Angelica archangelica roots with reference to calcium blocking activity. Planta Med. 1992;58(2):176-183.1529031
Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(13):1221-1227.10902065
Kanaya K. Effects of ferulic acid and Angelica archangelica extract (Feruguard) in patients with Alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer Dement. 2010;6(4)(suppl):S548.
Khan IA, Abourashed EA. Leung's Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 3rd ed. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley; 2009.
Kimura T, Hayashida H, Murata M, Takamatsu J. Effect of ferulic acid and Angelica archangelica extract on behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia in frontotemporal lobar degeneration and dementia with Lewy bodies. Geriatr Gerontol Int. 2011;11(3):309-314.21272180
Knapp CF 3rd, Elston DM. Botanical briefs: garden Angelica (Angelica archangelica). Cutis. 2009;84(4):189-190.19911672
Kumar D, Bhat ZA, Kumar V, Shah MY. Coumarins from Angelica archangelica Linn. and their effects on anxiety-like behavior. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2013;40:180-186.
Kumar D, Bhat ZA, Shah MY. Anti-anxiety activity of successive extracts of Angelica archangelica Linn. on the elevated T-maze and forced swimming tests in rats. J Tradit Chin Med. 2012;32(3):423-429.23297567
Luszczki JJ, Glowniak K, Czuczwar SJ. Time-course and dose-response relationships of imperatorin in the mouse maximal electroshock seizure threshold model. Neurosci Res. 2007;59(1):18-22.17602770
Luszczki JJ, Wojda E, Andres-Mach M, et al. Anticonvulsant and acute neurotoxic effects of imperatorin, osthole and valproate in the maximal electroshock seizure and chimney tests in mice: a comparative study. Epilepsy Res. 2009;85(2-3):293-299.19406619
Mason P. Important drug-nutrient interactions. Proc Nutr Soc. 2010;69(4):551-557.20509982
Pathak S, Wanjari MM, Jain SK, Tripathi M. Evaluation of Antiseizure Activity of Essential Oil from Roots of Angelica archangelica Linn. in Mice. Indian J Pharm Sci. 2010;72(3):371-375.21188050
Pengelly A. Constituents of Medicinal Plants: An Introduction to the Chemistry and Therapeutics of Herbal Medicine. 2nd ed. Wallingford, Oxon, OX: CABI Pub; 2004.
Raafat BM, Saleh A, Shafaa MW, Khedr M, Ghafaar AA. Ginkgo biloba and Angelica archangelica bring back an impartial hepatic apoptotic to anti-apoptotic protein ratio after exposure to technetium 99mTc. Toxicol Ind Health. 2013;29(1):14-22.22294442
Raquet N, Schrenk D. Application of the equivalency factor concept to the phototoxicity and –genotoxicity of furocoumarin mixtures. Food Chem Toxicol. 2014;68:257-266.24680798
Sarker SD, Nahar L. Natural medicine: the genus Angelica. Curr Med Chem. 2004;11(11):1479-1500.15180579
Sigurdsson S, Geirsson G, Gudmundsdottir H, Egilsdottir PB, Gudbjarnason S. A parallel, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to investigate the effect of SagaPro on nocturia in men. Scand J Urol. 2013;47(1):26-32.23323790
Sigurdsson S, Gudbjarnason S. Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by extracts and constituents from Angelica archangelica and Geranium sylvaticum. Z Naturforsch C. 2007;62(9-10):689-693.18069242
Sigurdsson S, Jonsdottir S, Gudbjarnason S. Geographical variation of the furanocoumarin composition of the fruits of Icelandic Angelica archangelica. Z Naturforsch C. 2012;67(1-2):1-7.22486035
Sigurdsson S, Ogmundsdottir HM, Gudbjarnason S. The cytotoxic effect of two chemotypes of essential oils from the fruits of Angelica archangelica L. Anticancer Res. 2005;25(3B):1877-1880.16158920
Ulbricht C, Chao W, Costa D, Rusie-Seamon E, Weissner W, Woods J. Clinical evidence of herb-drug interactions: a systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration. Curr Drug Metab. 2008;9(10):1063-1120.19075623
Waksmundzka-Hajnos M, Petruczynik A, Dragan A, Wianowska D, Dawidowicz AL. Effect of extraction method on the yield of furanocoumarins from fruits of Archangelica officinalis Hoffm. Phytochem Anal. 2004;15(5):313-319.15508836
Wszelaki N, Paradowska K, Jamróz MK, Granica S, Kiss AK. Bioactivity-guided fractionation for the butyrylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of furanocoumarins from Angelica archangelica L. roots and fruits. J Agric Food Chem. 2011;59(17):9186-9193.21786787
Wu KC, Chen YH, Cheng KS, et al. Suppression of voltage-gated Na(+) channels and neuronal excitability by imperatorin. Eur J Pharmacol. 2013;721(1-3):49-55.24113522
Yeh ML, Liu CF, Huang CL, Huang TC. Hepatoprotective effect of Angelica archangelica in chronically ethanol-treated mice. Pharmacology. 2003;68(2):70-73.12711833

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This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

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