Lovage: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Lovage: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The plant originally comes from western Asia but has been cultivated since ancient times in Europe and later also in North America, and some of it has gone wild. The plant material comes from cultures in Poland, some Balkan countries, Germany and Holland.

Lovage as a medicinal plant

In herbal medicine, the dried underground parts of the plant, i.e. the rhizome and roots (Levistici radix), are used. In rarer cases, the fruits and leaves are also used.


Characteristics of lovage

Lovage is a vigorous perennial plant that grows up to 2 m tall from a fleshy root. The leaves are doubly or triply pinnate and roughly toothed. The small, pale yellow flowers are arranged in double umbels.

Lovage roots as a medicine

The drug material contains yellow to reddish-brown, soft root and rhizome pieces, which are often split lengthwise. The yellow to reddish-brown bark and the excretion ducts can be seen in cross-section. The veins can be identified as delicate brown, often shiny dots in the bark.


smell and taste of lovage

Lovage spreads a characteristic, aromatic smell reminiscent of soup spices (hence the common name “Maggikraut”). The taste of lovage is initially spicy-sweet and then becomes slightly bitter.

Lovage – application

Lovage root is a diuretic that is used for flushing therapy. Significant areas of application for lovage are, therefore, inflammatory processes and infections of the urinary tract, including, for example, cystitis and inflammation of the ureter or urethra.

The plant is also used to prevent kidney gravel, i.e. accumulations of small kidney stones. Traditionally, lovage is generally suitable “to support the excretory function of the kidneys”.

Lovage in folk medicine

Lovage was used 1,000 years ago to aid digestion, relieve flatulence, and as a diuretic. Even today, it is used in folk medicine as a diuretic, menstrual stimulant, expectorant for inflammation of the mucous membranes of the airways and gastric remedy for heartburn, bloating and indigestion.

Lovage is also used in folk medicine to treat swelling in the feet caused by water retention in the tissue (oedema); however, according to the Commission E monograph, this is a contraindication.


Use as food

In addition to its medicinal uses, lovage is also used as a spice and in the spirits industry as a component of herbal liqueurs and bitter schnapps.

Application in homeopathy

In homoeopathy, the dried, subterranean parts are used in anthroposophic therapy.


Ingredients of lovage

Lovage root contains 0.4-1.7% essential oil, the main ingredient being the so-called alkyl phthalides with a 50-70% share. An important representative of this group, primarily responsible for the characteristic smell, is ibutilide.

The root also contains coumarin derivatives, furanocoumarins, phenolic carboxylic acids and various volatile acids.

Lovage: For which indication?

Indications for the use of lovage are:

  • Inflammation of the urinary tract
  • urinary tract infection
  • cystitis
  • kidney semolina

Lovage – dosage

Lovage can be taken in the form of homemade tea. Furthermore, the root powder and extracts of the plant are available in drop form in a few combination preparations, for example, the group of urologicals.

The right dose

The average daily dose of 4-8 g of the drug should not be exceeded.


Lovage: Preparation as a tea

To prepare a tea, pour boiling water over 1.5-3 g of lovage root (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 3 g) and, after allowing it to stand covered for 10-15 minutes, strain it through a tea strainer.

  • To develop the diuretic effect of the plant, one cup of tea should be drunk 2-3 times a day.
  • If the effect as a stomach remedy is to come into its own, it is advisable to drink a cup half an hour before meals.

When not to use lovage?

Contraindications for taking lovage root preparations are acute inflammatory diseases of the kidney tissue and impaired kidney function.

According to Commission E, flushing therapy should not be carried out in the case of oedema due to impaired heart or kidney function.


What should be considered when using it?

Care should be taken during flushing therapy with lovage to ensure adequate fluid intake (at least two l/day). The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Lovage – synonyms

German plant name: lovage

German synonyms of the plant: True lovage, mountain lovage, mountain lovage, lovage, Maggi herb, Maggi pepper, bath herb, cane herb, nerve herb, bear mother, womb herb, love tube, love stem, soup praise, water herb

Latin plant name: Levisticum officinale L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Levisticum officinale, Angelica Levisticum, Angelica paludapifolia, Hipposelinum Levisticum, Levisticum Levisticum, Levisticum paludapifolium, Levisticum vulgare, Ligusticum Levisticum L., Levisticum officinale WDJ Koch.

German drug name: lovage root

German synonyms of the drug: Goutroot, sauerkraut root, rennet root, liver root, uterine root

Latin drug name: Levistici radix

English name: Lovage root (Droge); Lovage, Garden lovage (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Apiaceae

Plant family German: Umbelliferae, Umbelliferae


Lovage – effect

Lovage is said to have antispasmodic, flatulence-relieving and diuretic effects, but there needs to be well-founded scientific studies. The antispasmodic effect can be attributed to ibutilide. Generally, phthalides are believed to stimulate the secretion of saliva and digestive juices, stimulating digestion.

Lovage: possible side effects

Furocoumarins can have phototoxic and carcinogenic effects. Due to the low water solubility of these substances, however, such effects are not to be expected when used therapeutically, which is why the drug can be classified as harmless. However, with long-term use of lovage root, intensive sunbathing and UV radiation should be avoided.

There are currently no known interactions with other agents.


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