Legend has it that one night an angel visited a monk in his dreams to tell him about a special herb that contained the cure for pestilence. He named this herb Angelica to honour the divine messenger who blessed him with this knowledge. Angelica has a long reputation for gifting us with inner strength, perseverance and restoration after poor health and challenging situations.
Where is Angelica essential oil from?
We source our Angelica archangelica essential oil from Serbia. The plant is also commonly cultivated in the Northern Europe region including Germany, Belgium, Hungary, and France.
How is Angelica essential oil made?
Angelica essential oil is extracted from the dried root of the plant. The final aroma and chemical composition of the essential oil is in part due to the age of the plant. Younger plants produce a more ‘peppery’ scented oil. Other essential oils that come from the root of the plant include Ginger, Vetiver, and Spikenard. Essential oils from the root of the plant are often used to encourage a sense of grounding, relaxation, and stillness.
The roots of the plant are carefully harvested in Autumn when the plant is dormant and the weather is fairly dry. The roots are left to dehydrate and then placed in a vat. Steam is directed through the plant material causing the aromatic molecules to evaporate. The steam rises into a chamber where it is cooled. The cooled steam becomes liquid again, hydrosol and essential oil. The essential oil is collected and bottled. It takes approximately 1 kilo of plant material to produce around 4 to 8 mls of essential oil.
What does the Angelica plant look like?
The Angelica herb is a lovely vigorous plant that grows about two meters tall. The stems are hollow and fluted. The green leaves are deeply indented and they sit atop the stems creating a vibrant green canopy. The flowers are yellow/ green and are clustered in the shape of a ball. Angelica will flower in May and can take around two years for the first flowers to appear. Once the plant has flowered it tends to die, although if the plant is tipped it can last for up to four years.
What does Angelica essential oil smell like?
Angelica has a very distinctive fragrance. A top peppery note sits above an interesting earthy, herbal scent that tends to linger. The undertone is an almost musk-like fragrance that is reminiscent of the old herbal remedy, comfrey balm.
History of Angelica
Many old herbal remedies contained Angelica and it was a beloved herb throughout Europe and Asia. During the Middle Ages, Angelica was a prized remedy to ward off the plague. Most restoratives and tonics contained the precious herb because it was believed to impart great healing powers, such as strength and vitality. The herb was thought to provide protection from witchcraft, physical maladies and to cleanse the blood. Other traditional uses included the treatment of gout, lung infections, irregular periods, and digestive complaints.
Angelica is also used as flavoring in drinks such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. The essential oil is often found in cosmetics and beauty products.
Benefits & uses of Angelica essential oil:
1. Angelica is an expectorant and helps clear the lungs making it useful for those with chronic conditions such as asthma, sinus infections and stubborn colds or coughs.
2. With depurative properties, Angelica is recommended to support the body’s detoxification pathways. The essential oil could be added to a massage blend to assist with lymphatic drainage, and it may help reduce oedema and fluid retention.
3. Recommended for those with poor digestion due to digestive system weakness or stress. Angelica may help reduce abdominal wind, indigestion and mild cramping with its calming property and general toning action.
4. Historically, Angelica was used to treat a wide range of ailments which may be due to an immune stimulating action. It is noted to be strengthening and restoring for people who feel physically and mentally devitalized. There is some research suggesting that Angelica may be useful for people with chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.).
5. Angelica essential oil is said to benefit the spirit in many ways. It may help us to be more receptive to divine energy. Angelica is recommended for those who feel timid or lost. The earthy and warming properties of the essential oil promote inner strength and a sense of groundedness. Angelica is said to benefit both the third eye and root chakra.
How to use Angelica essential oil
- Diffuser: Add 6-8 drops of Angelica essential oil to a diffuser for a calm space and to help with decision making or overcoming fears.
- Quick fix: A few deep inhalations from the bottle can help when you are feeling stressed, anxious and need to be grounded.
- Shower: Add a few drops of Angelica to a face-washer and place in the corner of the shower. The heat from the water will cause the essential oil to evaporate creating a relaxing steam bath that is clearing to the lungs.
- Bath: Add 2-3 drops in a dispersant to the bath to create a heavenly atmosphere.
- Massage: Use a 2.5% dilution; 50 drops in 100ml carrier oil.
- Hand or foot bath: Add 2 drops of Angelica to a bowl of water. May aid in the treatment of lymph oedema and arthritis.
- Steam: Add 1 to 2 drops of Angelica essential oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Lean close to the bowl and breath deeply for several minutes, to help clear lung and sinus congestion.
Blends well with: Bergamot, Lemongrass, Pine, Geranium, Juniper Berry, Cedarwood, Sweet Orange.
Angelica essential oil safety
Angelica Root essential oil is phototoxic. Phototoxic essential oils make your skin more vulnerable to sunburn if you apply it to your skin and then get sun exposure for up to 12 hours afterwards.
Pregnancy: Julia Lawless, a respected Aromatherapist, reports that Angelica should not be used during pregnancy. Other authors state that it is the herbal preparation that should be avoided during pregnancy and the essential oil is safe. If concerned consult with your aromatherapist or avoid until after the pregnancy.
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Author: Alissa Geddes
Alissa is a fully qualified Aromatherapist with further qualifications in Remedial Massage & Myotherapy. She qualified as an Aromatherapist in 2005 and has worked in hospitals, day spas and in clinical practice. Alissa contributes her extensive knowledge to ECO. and helps with detailed education to our ECO. community. Alissa is passionate about assisting and teaching others how to restore and maintain their health and wellbeing.