Common Name: Angelica Root
Scientific Name: Angelica archangelica
Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae
Origin: Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Hungary and Northern India
Synonyms: Angelica officinalis
Essential Oil Properties and Characteristics
Angelica Root essential oil is a pale-yellow to orange-brown-coloured liquid. Its viscosity varies according to the root material used for distillation and the age of the essential oil. Beneath the peppery top note is a rich, somewhat herbaceous-earthy, woody base note of unique tenacity and great diffusive power. The base note is slightly musky-animal-like with a spicy undertone.
Origin and History
Angelica is a stout biennial or perennial herb which grows up to 2 metres high with a large rhizome. It is cultivated in Belgium, Holland, France, Germany, Hungary and Northern India.
The virtues of angelica have been known for centuries. Folk lore testifies to its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood and for curing every conceivable malady. It was held a sovereign remedy for poisons and all infectious maladies.
Culpepper describes the properties of angelica root as:
"The stalks and roots are candied and eaten fasting are good preservatives in time of infection, and will warm and comfort a cold stomach...A water distilled from the root, as steeped in wine and distilled from two or three spoonfuls at a time easeth all pains and torments coming from cold and wind, and taken with some of the root in powder, helpeth the pleurisy, as also all other diseases of the lungs and breasts, as coughs, phthisic and shortness of breath."
Angelica was closely linked with Christianity beliefs. According to one legend, angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague.
Method of Extraction
Angelica Root essential oil is steam-distilled from the dried roots of Angelica archangelica.
Precautions During Use (Contraindications)
Angelica root essential oil is non-toxic and non-irritating. The furanocoumarins present in angelica root essential oil sensitise the skin to UV light. It is considered phototoxic.
Herbal preparations of angelica root are contraindicated in pregnancy as it is a uterine stimulant and an emmenagogue. Davis and Tisserand do not state that the oil is contra-indicated during pregnancy whereas Lawless says it should be avoided.
Angelica root essential oil has balancing and strengthening properties. It provides a boost for the immune system and is a very useful for joint flexibility.
Angelica root essential oil blends well with fennel, bergamot, tea tree, myrtle, conifer oils and grapefruit.
Source: Battaglia, S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, 2003, ISBN 0-6464-2896-9.