Angelica: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Angelica: Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The plant and its subspecies and varieties are endemic to all temperate zones of Asia and Europe, particularly the more northern regions. The root comes mainly from cultures in Holland, Poland and Thuringia. The root (Angelicae radix) is mainly used as a drug, but sometimes the whole plant (Angelicae herba), the fruits or the essential oil of the plant (Oleum angelicae) are also used.

Angelica: Characteristics

Angelica archangelica L. is between 1 and 2.5 meters high, a robust perennial plant that grows biennially and whose thick stalk is coloured crimson at the top. It has two to three pinnate leaves with an inflated leaf sheath. The small green flowers are in large double umbels without a cover. Angelica has only been known in Central Europe since the 14th century.


origin of the name

If the legend is to be believed, the plant’s name comes from the fact that it was shown to people by an angel (lat. Angelus = angel). At that time, angelica root was taken to treat plague and against “evil magic”.

Angelica is a medicine.

The root drug consists of cylindrical, thin root pieces that are grey, black or reddish-brown on the outside and have longitudinal furrows. The wooden body is yellow and radially striped.


The smell and taste of angelica

Angelica root smells very spicy. The taste of angelica root is initially aromatic and sweet, then bitter, pungent, and persistently burning.

Angelica – application

Angelica root is used for loss of appetite and digestive problems such as a feeling of fullness, flatulence and mild gastrointestinal cramps. Combined with other preparations, the root generally supports digestion and stimulates the appetite.

The dried roots and extracts of the roots are also contained in various alcoholic beverages, such as Benediktiner or Karthauser, and are also used in food technology.

Angelica root in folk medicine

In folk medicine, angelica root is used not only to treat digestive problems but also as a medicine to flush out water retention (diuretic), as a means to promote the onset of menstrual bleeding (emmenagogue) and for sleep disorders. However, there needs to be proof of effectiveness for this.

In addition to the root, the essential oil and Spiritus Angelicae composites are also used externally, for example, for rheumatic complaints, gout and nerve pain (neuralgia).

Angelica root is used in anthroposophic therapy.


Ingredients of Angelica

The essential oil from roots and fruits contains as main components α- and β-phellandrene and α-pinene. Angelica also has a high content of furanocoumarins such as xanthotoxin, angelicin, imperatorin (the main ingredient in the fruit) and archangelin. Other coumarins, such as osthol (the main ingredient in the roots) and ethanol, as well as fatty acids, tannins, and sucrose, are also found.

Engelwurz: Indication

The following indications can be treated with angelica:

  • loss of appetite
  • indigestion
  • indigestion
  • bloating
  • gas
  • stomach cramps
  • gout
  • rheumatism

Angelica – Dosage

In tea, angelica root is processed as a mono-preparation and in combination preparations, for example, in stomach and gastrointestinal teas. As a phytopharmaceutical, the drug is offered in various preparation forms, primarily as drops, powder, mixture, ointment or distillate in gastric and intestinal remedies.

The right dose

Unless otherwise directed, the median daily dose is 4.5 grams of the drug, 1.5 to 3 grams of the fluid extract, 1.5 grams of the tincture, or 10 to 20 drops of the essential oil.


Angelica in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The root of the Chinese angelica (Angelica polymorpha var. Sinensis, dang gui) is an essential medicinal product in traditional Chinese medicine, which is used, for example, to treat anaemia and constipation.

Angelica: Preparation as a tea

To prepare the tea, 1.5 grams of the finely chopped or powdered drug (a teaspoon corresponds to about 2.5 grams) are mixed with cold water and briefly boiled or poured over with boiling water. A cup of unsweetened tea should be drunk about half an hour before each meal.


Contraindications of angelica

Angelica root should not be used if you have stomach or duodenal ulcers or during pregnancy.

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Angelica – Synonym

German plant name: Engelwurz

German synonyms of the plant: Nipplewort, Angelica, Archangelica, Garden Angelica, Garden Angelica, Poisonwort, Forest Nippleroot, Holy Bitter

Latin plant name: Angelica archangelica L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Archangelica officinalis HOFFM., Angelica archangelica ssp. Archangelica, Archangelica, Archangelica sativa BESS.

German drug name: Angelikawurzel

German synonyms of the drug: Holy Root, Holy Spirit Root, Fortune Root, Spirit Root, Archangel Root, Tooth Root, Theriac Root

Latin drug name: Angelica root

Latin synonyms of the drug: Rad. Archangelica, Syrian root, Angelica sativa root

English name: Angelica root, Root of the Holy Ghost (Droge); Garden angelica, Archangel, European Angelica, Masterwort (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Apiaceae (früher: Umbelliferae)

Plant family German: Umbelliferae/ umbellifers


Angelica – effect

Only a few studies have been carried out on pharmacology, but it has been found that angelica root reduces the calcium concentration in the smooth muscles by blocking specific transporters.

Smooth muscle is present in the tissue of the entire gastrointestinal tract, among other things, and is responsible for the onward transport of food. The reduced calcium content in the muscle cells causes them to relax, which is perceived as an antispasmodic effect.

The plant also promotes the flow of digestive juices. In addition, the calming and pain-relieving effects of angelica root have also been described.

Angelica Side Effects

Angelica root contains furocoumarins, which make the skin sensitive to light. UV light exposure can lead to skin inflammation (photodermatosis) and allergic reactions, so you should avoid prolonged sunbathing while taking angelica root. Furanocoumarins can also have a carcinogenic effect in connection with UV-A rays.

There are currently no known interactions with other agents.


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