Angelica

What is Angelica?

The herb angelica was named, according to folklore, after an angel appeared in plague-ridden Europe and showed a monk the angelica plant as a cure. Today, it's used to flavor alcoholic beverages such as gin and benedictine.

This type of angelica (Angelica archangelica) should not be confused with Chinese angelica, also called dong quai. Other names include Angelica archangelica, european angelica, and garden angelica.

Angelica is available in liquid or capsule form at some health food stores. The dried herb can also be purchased.

Uses for Angelica

In alternative medicine, angelica is used primarily for digestive complaints. Angelica's bitter taste is thought to improve digestion.

Angelica may contain substances that relax intestinal muscles, which can help relieve mild cramps, bloating, and gas, according to some alternative medicine proponents.

To make angelica tea, add one cup of boiling water to one teaspoon of dried angelica and steep covered for at least 10 minutes. Some alternative practitioners suggest drinking 1/3 cup of angelica tea 30 minutes before each meal.

Caveats

Pregnant women should not use angelica.

People taking angelica should avoid excess sun exposure, because angelica can increase the sensitivity of skin to light.

In animal studies, compounds in angelica called furocoumarins have been linked with cancer.

Keep in mind that supplements haven't been tested for safety and dietary supplements are largely unregulated. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the product may be contaminated with other substances such as metals. Also, the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established.

You can get further tips on using supplements here.

Using Angelica for Health

Due to the limited research, it's too soon to recommend angelica as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it for any health purpose, make sure to consult your physician first.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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