Angelica (Angelica archangelica)

Family: Apiacea

Parts commonly used: Root, leaf, and seed used medicinally; stalk used for confectionery.
Properties/energetics: Carminative, stimulant, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, expectorant, diuretic, and diaphoretic/Warm; bitter, spicy.

Systems predominantly affected:  Respiratory, circulatory, digestive, musculoskeletal, genitourinary

Uses: Expectorant for coughs, pleurisy, and most other lung conditions, especially when the condition is fluish or feverish or accompanying a cold. It induces sweating in fevers, cooling the skin. Angelica’s warming properties and high carminative bitter essential oil content act as an antispasmodic to help relieve stomach and intestinal cramps (colic) and nausea as well as flatulence. It aids digestion and promotes appetite, and it has an affinity for the urinary system as an antiseptic for bladder and urethra inflammations. As it improves circulation and warms the body when taken internally and applied as a poultice or liniment, it has been used to ease cold rheumatic inflammation and peripheral vascular deficiency. Due to these warming circulatory properties, it also acts as a menstrual stimulant to help promote and regulate menstrual flow and as an antispasmodic to relieve menstrual cramps.

Combinations: Angelica root is combined well with Coltsfoot for bronchial catarrh and with Chamomile for dyspepsia; with Cramp Bark for genitourinary cramping; Angelica leaf combines well with Chamomile for digestive weakness.

Affects on specific body types: Angelica is an excellent digestive remedy for the Seer constitution since is both warming and mildly bitter. The affects of the Seer sympathetic dominant nervous system are counteracted in the gastrointestinal tract due to the increase blood flow and increased secretions this herb brings about. The antispasmodic nature of this plant also balances the tendency to over contraction or spasm of the intestine. Angelica is also an effective tonic remedy for the Monarch constitution due to its warming nature. It helps remove excess mucus from the lungs and increases blood flow to the pelvis thus releasing congestion. This latter affect can also be helpful for Seer women who suffer from spasmodic uterine cramps. The circulatory stimulating properties of this herb also make it useful for musculoskeletal aches and pains in the Monarch. Due to its stimulating nature, this herb should generally be avoided in Warrior conditions when there is inflammation or irritation.

Precautions: Angelica tends to increase the blood sugar level, so diabetics should avoid using it. It is a strong emmenagogue and is best not used by pregnant women or during excessive menstrual flow. Due to Dong Quai’s ability to prevent blood clotting by inhibiting platelet aggregation and dilating arteries (thus thinning the blood), it should not be used by anyone exhibiting excessive bleeding or taking blood-thinning agents.

Preparations/dosage: Decoction: 1/2 cup three times a day. Infusion: 1/2 cup two to three times a day. Tincture: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon in a cup of warm water; poultice or liniment: Applied to chest or joints.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition