Herb of the Week: Angelica

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is now in full bloom, its beautiful white umbelliferae visible from distances afar.  This powerful herb loves to dwell in damp conditions, such as near creeks and rivers, and is not at all far from home.  Some of you may be surprised to learn that this splendid plant is used to flavor liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Benedictine, while also being an ingredient of gin and vermouth.  However, curiously enough, this herb has proven quite beneficial in the past for those desiring to quit alcohol or smoking habits.  As its arc angel name implies, its healing benefits are abounding in almost any system of the body.  It is a popular traditional remedy for chest and respiratory complaints, to stimulate digestion, as a urinary antiseptic, and to help ease inflammations throughout the body.  European phytotherapy uses this herb to calm both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic sides of the autonomic nervous system, while also stimulating circulation and fluid movement throughout the body.