Foraging: Angelica Root
Another easy-to-identify plant native to the pacific northwest, keep your eye out during late spring and early summer for her white lace-like flower pattern 🙂
Angelica Root (flower photo above) –
Closely related to Dong Quai, Angelica Root is one of the most respected female tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. Angelica is a traditional birthing herb used to help bring on a delayed labor and to help expel the placenta following childbirth. Angelica relieves painful and cramping menstruation, (Dysmenorrhea), and brings on delayed menstruation. Angelica is especially good when bloating or cramps are present. Angelica has a long history of use in colds , congestion, and fevers. Angelica root is warming and stimulating to the lungs, helping to ease chest congestion
Angelica contains compounds that act much like calcium channel blockers, which are often prescribed for high blood pressure and heart health. Angelica acts as a bitter digestive aid that can help calm a nervous stomach and tension-related digestive disorders. The fruit, leaf, and root of angelica stimulate digestion, help dispel gas, and calm a nervous stomach.
When to harvest & how to prepare:
Angelica should be harvested in early autumn. Harvested roots should be dried between 38-60 C (100-140 F). The seeds should be harvested before they fall, preferably when they’re slightly green. The roots are best from the time that the seeds are nearly mature to the time that the leaves retain some green but are otherwise nearly dead (usually October in Washington.) If you are drying the root, slice it lengthwise like you would make carrot sticks, chopping them up for tea only when you are going to make tea.In our experience, chopping up the root into smaller pieces results in rapid deterioration of the volatile constituents.
The entire plant is used, roots, stems, fruit and leaves, but the resinous root is the part used most often in herbal medicine. The fresh bruised, or dried roots can be taken as a decoction, are made into extracts, and are the source of the essential oil. A magnificent plant to grace your garden, the hollow stems can be candied as well. Angelica tea is warming to the soul and body bitter but not unpalatable.
The seeds, in any form, are primarily useful for acid indigestion with stomach pain or for the sensation of a full, uncomfortable belly. The seeds are also exceptionally effective for nausea and vomiting, not so much to suppress nausea, as from bad food, but to stop the dry heaves or extended nausea that can continue long after there is any food to eject. If a fever accompanies nausea, the seeds can be used to induce sweating. The roots main value is it’s strong, but not depressive, antispasmodic effects. I have seen it help asthma that is dry, spastic, and instigated by anger, fear, and frustration. It isn’t strong, so you need to take a number of servings over several hours, but has the advantage of producing no sedation.
Seeds: Dry Tincture, 1:5 65% Alcohol; for tea, a scant teaspoon steeped until warm, or a few added to other teas such as a peppermint or catnip, A stomach antispasmodic.
Root: Fresh Tincture, 1:2, 15 to 30 Drops; Dry Tincture, 1:5, 65% Alcohol, 30 to 60 Drops.
Seeds, about eighteen months, and lengthwise root slices to two years.