Angelica archangelica can be found in all regions of Europe and Asia, especially in the northern regions. Naturally healing weaker plain angelica (Angelica officinalis) is also known as archangelica which is a garden plant. Grown and exported mostly by Poland, the Netherlands and Germany and less by Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
The usage os this herb
Rhizome contains an essential oil, bitter, coumarin compounds and flavonoid arhangelenon. Angelica archangelica consists of all these ingredients.
It is often used for seasoning dishes, as well as an extract for liqueurs and other spirituous beverages. The Council of Europe classifies Angelica archangelica to a group of spices N3, which can be added to foods in the traditional manner, although it has no sufficient findings on the possible toxicity of this herb.
In US archangelica belongs to the group of GRAS, which is generally considered safe.
It is a bitter flavoring agent and as such contains bitter essential oils. By promoting the secretion of digestive juices in the stomach and pancreas such as antimicrobial as well as inhibit the formation of winds and facilitate their release it helps eliminate bloated feeling. People may suggest that archangelica may not be very healthy and useful herb, but many studies have proven that this herb really is as healthy as they claim it to be.
In folk medicine, the range of healing properties is much wider. Among other things it is used internally for the disinfection of respiratory problems and problems with urinating. Vascular disease and stalled menstruation with help of essential oils alleviate rheumatic pain and minor skin inflammations.
In Britain and America this plant used to be on forbidden list – considered a drug. In Phytomedicine the extracts are particular components of gastro-intestinal drugs, as well as tranquilizers and sleeping pills.
The dose for adults
Heaped teaspoon (one and a half gram) of this drug is poured in about 150 ml of cold water and boiled for a short time. You can also pour boiling water over drug infusion and let it stand for 10 minutes in a covered container before it is strained. Unless specified otherwise, you should drink a cup of hot beverage several times a day, or half an hour before meal.
According to studies on animals it destroy some bacteria and fungi and act as a mild anti-inflammatory drug. Its essential oil have healing effects too. The clinical findings in humans are not known. A. sinensis should improve protein metabolism in chronic inflammation of the liver and liver cirrhosis. Bergapten is used in treatment of psoriasis using UV rays.
Side effects and toxicity
Containing furanokumarini, especially Bergapten, can make the skin too sensitive when exposed to light because the UV rays cause skin inflammation and are also suspected to cause carcinogenicity. Many coumarins inhibit the activity of calcium, due to poor solubility in water but their effects are negligible when prepared properly.
Prohibitions and warnings
While taking angelica or the use of its products it is best to avoid prolonged sun and ultraviolet rays exposure as phototoxic reaction is likely to occur after contact with the outside plant.
The presence of Bergapten in grooming products is not appropriate, following the recommendation of the IFA, the International Fragrance Association and cosmetic products for sunbathing should not contain more than 0.78% of essential oil. This is the highest amount before irritation of the skin start to appear. Excessive doses of the drug may be due to the presence of coumarins interfere with treatment with anticoagulants and anti-blood clotting.
In gastric and intestinal ulcer this herb should not be used. Due to photosensitive ingredients and because by tradition means for abortion and affect the menstrual cycle, pregnant women and nursing mothers do not need excessive treatment with this herb. It should be stored in a dry and protected room, away from light.
Chemically-wise, angelica is well researched. Although closely related species tested in Chinese and oriental medicine may not agree, there is a paucity of pharmacological findings that would confirm the use of herbal archangelica.
Due to the presence of pharmacologically active ingredients, especially Bergapten would be a good idea to avoid the dose beyond regular use in the diet.
While it is helpful in gastro-intestinal problems with accompanying cramps and flatulence caused by insufficient secretion of digestive juices, this does not exceed the healing of other Umbelliferae, such as coriander.