Latin Name: Angelica archangelica
Herb Class/Action: Bitter, Alterative, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Healthy Inflammatory Response Support, Astringent
Parts Used: Roots
Flavors: Bitter, acrid, aromatic, pungent
Traditional Benefits: Immune support, respiratory suppose, digestive support, reproductive support
One of our favorite herbs for “dampness,”Angelica is the tough-love friend we need to kick us in the butt every once in a while. She’s a bold and spicy digestive tonic that ignites our fire, specifically supporting “cold and sluggish” digestion. This same fire helps to disperse sluggishness of the spirit, with her warmth that stimulates the gut-mind, helping to reawaken our appetite for life.*
Once considered one of the most powerful herbs in traditional western herbalism, Angelica archangelica (rather than the Asian variety, sinensis) originated in Europe and North America. Harvested for its roots, this member of the parsley family is found in swampy, marshy areas, giving us a clue about its affinity for damp environments, including “dampness” within the balance of the gut microbiome. Its leaves and stalks can be consumed as well, but its roots are what you’ll find in targeted remedies.
So, what is Angelica Root used for? Its most notable benefits include supporting the immune, respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. It is very specifically indicated for ‘cold’ digestion where the digestive fire is not burning hot enough to properly break down and disperse the food we eat (as warmth moves our digestive Qi). When digestive fire is low and the stomach is ‘cold,’ “dampness” can accumulate in the gut, which is where Angelica’s microbial-balance-supporting properties come in.
When consumed as a tonic, tea, or encapsulated supplement, Angelica Root helps warm the body, break up stagnation, and get things moving. This could be anything from its spicy, stimulating flavors that support sluggish digestion to supporting phlegm and mucus balance in the lungs, to engaging the appetite and encouraging the healthy production of bile for digestion. Above all, Angelica is a warming mover and shaker that gets things going in both the mind and the body when you’re feeling stuck.
Oh, and that warmth and optimism mentioned above that helps to disperse ‘sluggishness of the spirit’? Well, Angelica isn’t just consumed for physical ailments; this herb is known to have mental, emotional, and spiritual properties as well according to traditional uses. It’s known to calm the nervous system, supporting a healthy switch into the parasympathetic state when relaxation is needed—helping to ease tension and support nervous system balance. Angelica Root extract has been used to help lift the spirit after difficult events, improve mental clarity, support a healthy mood, and even stimulate imagination when ‘dampness’ invades the might and our access to creativity begins feeling a bit swampy or tuck. Angelica Root is said to have spiritually-deepening properties as well: connecting us to nature, spirit guides, and our ancestors as it helps to clear the channel of the heart-mind where we receive our innermost guidance.*
Bears are known to consume Angelica’s roots in the spring to help awaken their bodies and appetites after months of hibernation. Similarly, Angelica has been used to support a healthy appetite in us humans who need a little spice to awaken the digestive fire.*