Botanical description: A biennial plant, although if the flowers are removed it is possible to keep it going for several years. Hollow stems, may reach 320 cm. Umbels of greenish flowers. The leaves are large and bright green. Several related species are used. Wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris) is smaller with purple tinged stems and white or pink umbels of flowers and it’s use is similar to Garden Angelica but considered inferior. Angelica sinensis or dang gui (Chinese angelica is a perennial. Only Wild Angelica is native, although Garden angelica can be cultivated and sometimes occurs as a garden escapee. Part used: Leaves, seeds and roots. The stems are candied to use in confectionery
Habitat, cultivation and harvesting: Angelicas prefer damp places It is propagated from seed, but this needs to be fresh and can be difficult to germinate. If stored beyond January of year of production. Harvesting-leaves in summer (May-June), stems in summer (June/July), roots in autumn of first year (October), fruits cut umbels when fruit/seeds are plump and green.
History/folklore/taste/energetics: Either archangel Raphael or Michael was responsible for enlightening humans about its use. The essential oil is reputed to help us connect with the angelica realm. The root tincture and aromatic water seem to helps to connect the cardiac and HPA axes and get the energy moving right down through the legs and up through the torso and into the head and circulating out through the lungs and heart and into the arms, whilst protecting the psyche; it seems to have a really rooting, earthing effect and at the same time warms the heart. Matthew Wood describes it as toning the sphincter of the mind (I think this is probably the RAS part of the brain stem) The plant was used in the 4 thieves vinegar which was reputed to protect against the plague. It is widely used in confectionery and to flavour liqueurs such as Benedictine. A valuable aromatic bitter that is sweet, pungent, drying and warm (one of those unusual warming bitters).