According to legend, the herb Angelica Archangelica, took its name from the Angel who revealed its virtues to a monk during the plague. Angelica is said to give protection from the infection.
Angelica Archangelica is native to northern Europe and Asia; it is a biennial, though it often lives for three years, growing from 4-8 foot in height, with divided pale-green leaves and green flowers that bloom in July and August, followed by flat oval seeds. The whole plant gives off a pleasant muscatel scent.
Sow from seed of Angelica Archangelica in July at the back of a border or in shallow drills 20 inches apart and support as the plant grows tall. Angelica requires a moist soil, containing some humus. Angelica will flourish in semi-shade.
An explanation of the name of this plant is that it flowers on the day of the Archangel Michael. Because of that it is seen as a preservative against most evil spirits and witchcraft! All parts of the Angelica Archangelica plant are said to be effective against witchcraft spells. It was once known as ‘The Root of the Holy Ghost.'
Angelica Archangelica is a carminative and aids the digestion
system, due to the angelicin it contains, it also has anti-inflammatory
properties. Angelica lowers fevers and acts as an expectorant. A poultice of the
leaves is said to help sooth sunburn, but should be used with caution.
An infusion may be made by pouring a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the bruised root, and two tablespoonful of this should be given three or four times a day. As such it is a good relief for flatulence!
When you think of angelica, you only think of the candied cake
decoration, but angelica has many other culinary uses. The young stems of
Angelica Archangelica are the part that is candied. Young angelica stems will
impart their unique Muscat flavour when added to tart fruits and berries, it
will reduce the acidity. Add angelica to jams it is exceptionally good. Try
adding ginger to angelica, even the seed can be used when making biscuits. Fresh
young leaves can be added to hops, to make stimulating “bitters”.
Only use young leaves of the Angelica Archangelica, as older leaves are more course and stringy.