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Angelica (Angelica archangelica or Angelica sinensis)


Used in China for thousands of years as an important medicine, angelica exists in two varieties specific to Chinese and American regions. The American variety (Angelica archangelica) is regarded as safe by the FDA, and may be used for both external and internal purposes. It has become well known for its ability to soothe gastrointestinal upsets. Chinese angelica (Angelica sinensis) is also known as Dong Quai.


American angelica is known to be a carminative, an agent that relieves flatulence and gas, and to possess antispasmodic properties. It may also have moderate antibacterial and antifungal properties. Traditional uses of American angelica have not been investigated and appear unrelated to its known components.


Parts of the plant used: LEAF and ROOT.


dried leaf, 2-5 g three times daily
tea, 1 tsp dried leaf three times daily
fluid extract, 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 1-3 ml three times daily
tincture, 1:5 in 45% alcohol, 2-4 ml three times daily

Root (approved in Germany in the following forms):

drug, 4.5 g daily
fluid extract, 1.5 -3 g daily
tincture, 1.5 g daily
essential oil, 10-20 drops daily


Angelica may help in the management of :

  • Gastrointestinal disorders: upset stomach, stomach Ulcers, dyspepsia, gastrointestinal function
  • Rheumatism
  • Arthritis
  • Skin disorders
  • Anorexia


Angelica is regarded as safe by the FDA. However, folk medicine warns that large doses may be harmful to heart action and respiration, as well as blood pressure.

Angelica contains coumarins, which are predominantly phototoxic to human skin. It is currently being investigated whether coumarins are a health hazard and should be avoided entirely. Angelica can increase sensitivity of the skin to light.


Angelica may interfere with the antiarrhythmic agent, quinidine, glucose elevating agents. Use with antidiabetic drugs may require dose adjustments.

Avoid use with vasoconstrictors, such as ephedrine, methoxamine, and phenylephrine. Combined use may lead to severe Hypertension. Use with citrates may produce erratic and unpredictable results.

Angelica is also known to potentiate the action of antihypertensive, ganglionic, peripheral adrenergic blocking drugs, tubacurarine, and norepinephrine.


1. Blumenthal, M. (ED) The Complete German Commission E Monographs (English translation). American Botanical Council. 1998.
2. Chandhoke, N. & B. Ghatak. Pharmacological investigations of angelicin, a tranquillising sedative & anticonvulsant agent. Indian J. Of Med. Rsrch, 63, 833, 1975.
3. Hyde. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. Brit. Herb. Med. Assoc: England, 1983.
4. Ivie, G.W., Holt, D.L. & Ivey, M.C. Science, 213, 909-910, 1981.
5. Leung, Albert Y. 1980. Encyclopaedia of Common Natural Ingredient used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. John Wiley and Sons, New York. 409 pp.
6. Scientific Committee, British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, Brit. Herb. Med. Assoc, Lane House, Cowling, Na Keighley, West Yorks, Bd Bd220lx, l983.


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