ANGELICA, Angelica archangelica

Angelica Herb

The history of our country is a very proud one, beginning with a people who wanted freedom, including freedom of religion. This freedom wasn’t won very easily. It wasn’t only freedom from kings and government, with their tyranny and taxation, but it was the right to rule themselves and worship as they pleased. But they brought some bigoted practices, such as witch-haunting.
If you were a little strange looking, or if you behaved a little strange, or if someone called you a witch, you were in big trouble. You might be locked in the stocks for awhile, or maybe they would put you in a dunking chair, and keep you under the water until they thought all the evil was out of you, or if they were sure you were a witch, and someone testified against you, they might even burn you at the stake.
However, there was a brighter side. There was a magic flower called angelica, they say it had power to ward off evil spirits. If angelica grew in your garden, you could not be evil and no one could call a witch. Many folks planted angelica around their door and under their windows so no evil spirit could enter the house. Some mother made garlands from flowers and leaves of angelica to protect their children from bad spirits.

For well over a thousand years this herb was used to help the digestion, the respiratory system and for arthritis. Now during this time, there were certain plagues that caused much sickness and death. Then around 1965, a monk from a monastery said an angel appeared to him one night. He said the angel told him in a vision that they should use a certain herb to help protect the people against the plague. As the legend goes the herb saved many lives, so they called the herb angelica after the angel. The genus was also named Angelica and the species was called archangelica after Michael the Archangel. Coincidentally, the plant blooms on the 8th day of May which is the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel. No wonder this plant was supposed to have such great powers.
Because of the plague, the King, who was also an herbalist, made a potion, or a tea, using the angelica herb, nutmeg, treacle and other herbs. So the college of Physicians in London called it “The King Majesty’s Excellent Recipe for the plague”. They used this formula for the rabies, colic, to produce urination, for pleurisy, coughs and other diseases of the lungs.

Angelica is a member of the celery family. It resembles celery and smells like celery. The leaves look like celery and when it is young and tender you can eat the stalks and leaves in soups and salad or steam the stalks and eat them like asparagus. The dried leaves have been used to make a cooling tea. In good moist ground, angelica will grow up to 8 feet high. It grows wild, but is an excellent plan to use against walls and fences. The greenish-white flowers grow in umbels and bloom in June.
The Indian used an angelica tea to loosen phlegm from the respiratory tract to cure consumption and tuberculosis. They used angelica and sagebrush leaves to make poultices, to relieve pain and for swellings and poisons. It is also used for nervous headaches, fevers, skin rash, rheumatism, and to regulate menstruation. It’s a tonic, an expectorant, used for colds, coughs and pleurisy. It is also good for problems of the urinary tract.
Now I’m not saying that angelica is going to cure a plague but it is good for the digestion. It’s licorice-flavored seeds make a relaxing tea. And if you are all stressed out when you go to bed make a dream pillow out of any group of your favorite flowers like angelica, hops, chamomile, lavender, rose petals or many others. It will help to give you a pleasant relaxing sleep.

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