Angelica archangelica, Archangelica officinalis
- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy :
Gastric discomfort (flatulence, feeling of fullness, mild spasms)
Loss of appetite
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Premature ejaculation - topically
Rheumatoid disorders - topically
Skin disorders - topically
To promote menstrual flow
- Risk of Drug Interactions: Moderate
- Adverse Effects: Not Frequents
Parts of the plant used: mostly roots and to a lesser degree, leaves and seeds.
Angelica, an aromatic plant in the same family as parsley, has a big stem and large, indented leaves. It is commonly used as a border plant to protect other plants from strong winds. According to legend, humans began to use this plant after an angel (thus its name) told them that it could cure the plague. Angelica contains several active principles: essential oils, lactones, coumarin derivatives and several others. The bitter principles and essential oils appear to stimulate gastric and pancreatic secretions, which could explain why it is used to stimulate appetite and to relieve gastric discomfort. The plant is also used as a flavoring ingredient in some herb liqueurs such as "Benedictine" or "Chartreuse".
Direction of use
- To stimulate appetite and relieve gastric discomfort:
Angelica is possibly effective to relieve stomachache and to promote gastric and pancreatic secretions.
Infusion - 1 to 2 grams of brute roots powder or 2 to 5 grams of leaves in 250 ml of boiling water 1 to 3 times daily.
Tincture (1:5) - 0.5 to 2 ml (roots) or 2 to 5 ml (leaves) 3 times daily.
Liquid extract (1:1) - 0.5 to 2 ml (roots) or 2 to 5 ml (leaves) 3 times daily.
There is insufficient reliable information to conclude that angelica is effective in any other indication.
- Side effects
Angelica is not associated with any serious toxicity. It is recognized as safe as a spice or flavoring. Avoid large doses. Angelica is a known photosensitizer: exposure to ultraviolet rays can cause skin inflammation. Prolonged exposure to the sun or tanning lamps should be avoided during its use.
Angelica may increase the effects of oral anticoagulants and antiplatelet agents. Before taking angelica, check with your pharmacist to make sure that there are no drug interaction with your regular medication.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
Because of its potential abortifacient properties, angelica is contraindicated in pregnant women. Since there is no data concerning its safety in breast-feeding, lactating women should not take angelica.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Blumethal M et al. The Complete German Commission E monographs, 1998
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Facts and Comparisons, The review of Natural Products, 2000
- Grainger Bisset, N. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals, 1994
- Passeportsanté.net. Angélique. www.passeportsante.net
- Barnes J. et Al. Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition, Pharmaceutical Press, 2002
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010
- Health Canada, Natural Products Database
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