by Debra Wyatt
(last updated May 16, 2014)
Angelica (Angelica archangelica), once used for those who made their own gin, is still in use today as a household herb. John Parkinson, an herbalist of the eighteenth century, wrote: "The whole plant, both leafe, roote and seed is of an excellent comfortable scent, savour and taste."
Angelica, with its very formal and graceful lines, is a very beautiful plant that also has long winged leaves with the top of the plant producing beautiful white flowers. This plant can grow as tall as six feet high.
Whether this herb is in a garden or not it brings grace and form that combines a tropical luxuriance of musky aura from the Far East. Yet this herb can thrive in the cold climates of the North even as far as Iceland and Greenland.
Up in the land of midnight sun many uses are found for this versatile herb in areas of food, seasoning, medicine, and even in decorating.
In the kitchen, the stems and leaves of angelica add a wonderful flavor to puddings, custards, cremes, and souffles. The tender stems can be cooked and used like asparagus. The angelica stems can also be cooked in hot ashes. If boiling fish add angelica for a real treat. The musk quality brings a really pleasant perfume to the kitchen. This musk is more of forestry musk, which is different than the musk aroma from deer. The roots of this herb can also be made into flour. The angelica roots with honey can make candied stems. The candied stems can be found for sale in specialty shops and can also be used as a delightful decoration.
Health-wise, this herb finds its way into the medical field with many purposes. Germany exports the most Angelica to drug companies all around the world. Medically it is great to use as a gargle for sore throats. It is also good for a cup of tea to help aid in digestion or help comfort a cold. The oil of angelica can be found in drugstores.
Angelica has a taste that can and has been described as sweet when first used and then with a little time it has a bitter quality that gives a warming sensation in the mouth. This gives an impression of tasting like juniper berries. It is known to be used as an ingredient of gin along with juniper berries. It is also used as an important flavor in many fine liqueurs.
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