All about the Angelica archangelica herb - history, uses and science

All about the Angelica archangelica herb - history, uses and science

Angelica is such a stunning herb. It’s beautiful, potent and delicious (once you get used to it).

It truly is the most important medicinal herb we use to make our products.

Angelica is one of Iceland's most cherished medicinal herbs. It was one of the few plants in Iceland that survived the last ice age and has been used as a herbal medicine from the country's settlement, more than 1100 years ago.

The monk who had a dream

Angelica hasn't only been used in Iceland; it was known for its good effects on health in medieval Europe and elsewhere. The story goes that a monk once dreamt of an archangel who pointed to the herb as a cure for the plague. This is why the plant is often called the "Angel's herb. And it’s also how it got its Latin name; Angelica archangelica.

Came in handy for ancient Icelanders

Angelica is written about in many ancient texts and there are countless places in Iceland that are named after the plant, like Iceland’s highest peak, Hvannadalshnjúkur (“Angelica valley peak”).

Why?

First of all, the angelica plant is nutrititious. Its root and stem are juicy and can boiled or pickled and people most likely appreciated this.  Angelica seeds could be dried and eaten as well, or used for infusions for medicinal purposes (or even tinctures if people knew how to make them).

Written on the calfskin

It's not clear where the knowledge of angelica's medicinal powers came from - it was passed down the generations like most knowledge in the past. But luckily Icelanders had a remarkable tradition of writing things down, and Angelica, remarkably is often mentioned in the literature.

An ancient lawbook, Grágás, even had a special law against stealing angelica, specifically.

Think about that for a moment. It was that valuable.

No wonder every farm in Iceland had a special angelica garden to grow the herb.

Angelica also plays a vital role in a memorable action scene from the of the world-famous Icelandic Sagas, where a gallant hero held on to the angelica plant, and onto his dear life, while dangling over a tall cliff.

So, we can see it was important to people in the past, who used it for food and for tinctures and infusions against stomach and respiratory problems. And we see that it’s important, still, for us today as we enjoy fancy angelica soups and sauces in 5 star restaurants and use products developed from it for many of the newly discovered medical traits angelica undeniably possesses.

So, what is the health potential?

Angelica’s medical importance

Angelica is bioactive in many ways and there are many peer-reviewed studies that show how its biochemistry can have important implications for health. This is partly what has driven us to research the plant.

Cancer:

  • Antimitotic – against mutations that may lead to the development of cancer.

  • Antiproliferative – inhibit growth or proliferation of cancer cells.

  • Chemopreventive – protect against carcinogenic, polycyclic hydrocarbons.

Stomach ailments:

  • Antiulcerogenic – protect against the development of stomach ulcers.

  • Antibacterial – antimicrobial activity.

Respiratory ailments – lungs and throat:

  • Antiviral activity

Infections:

  • Antibacterial activity

  • Antiviral activity

Antitumor activity:

  • Results were obtained on cancer cells in culture and in vivo in experimental animals

Clinical study on night-time urination

We couldn’t believe it either.

When we had our clinical study performed, it was the first time that a product from the angelica plant had been studied in a parallel, randomized, double-blind and placebo controlled clinical study.

The results helped us greatly in understanding how the herb helped people with nocturia (who had to go frequently to the bathroom at night).

Read about the study here.