Angelica is an ancient herb widely praised and used by the practitioners of both pagan and later Christian religions in northern Europe and England. It was thought to have magical or angelic powers to protect against evil and contagions of all kinds. During the Anglo-Saxon period in England, angelica was used in pagan rituals and worn for protection against evil spirits and spells cast by witches and wizards. Throughout northern Europe, it was praised in folklore as an herb that could strengthen and inspire–as well as cure. After the introduction of Christianity, angelica became linked with several of the archangels mentioned in the Bible and associated with various springtime festivals. For some, the connection was to the Archangel Gabriel, who was said to have appeared to the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation, an event traditionally celebrated at the end of March. Alternately, the name of the herb may be in reference to the Archangel Michael who, according to legend, appeared in a vision to relate the herb’s protective and curative powers. The traditional feast day of Michael the Archangel is in late May, when the plant is typically in bloom. Whatever the link, angelica was held in such high esteem that it was referred to as “the root of the Holy Ghost” and believed to cure every conceivable malady.
Usage: Angel herb was use to cure bronchitis, coughs, sore throats and other respiratory conditions. It was also use to stimulate appetite and relieve digestive issues. The herb was use to treat rheumatism, nausea, and menstrual cramps.
Traditional and Current Medicinal Uses
Since ancient times, angelica was thought to be a cure for all ills. The herb was described as a “marvelous medicine” by Paracelsus (1493-1541), the German-Swiss physician and alchemist who established the role of chemistry in medicine. Every part of the plant, including the seeds, was credited was health-giving properties. The roots in particular, but also the leaves, stems, and seeds, were made into preparations used to bring relief from bronchitis, coughs, sore throats, colds, and other respiratory conditions and to act a an expectorant. All parts of the plants were considered helpful in stimulating appetite and in relieving indigestion, gas, colic, and bowel complaints. Angelica has been credited with anti-inflammatory properties and employed to lower fevers. Often described as a warning, stimulating tonic, the herb has been said to be effective in treating rheumatism and gout, for alleviating nausea, for relieving menstrual cramps, and for disease of the urinary tract. Herbal medicine practitioners have also prescribed angelica in cases of poor circulation, because the herb is believed to stimulate blood flow to the peripheral parts of the body. Indeed, angelica is considered a specific treatment for Buerger’s disease, a condition characterized by inflammation and constriction of the arteries in the hands and feet.
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