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Angelica Oil



Garden Angelica, European Angelica, Angel's herb, Root of the Holy Spirit.


It is supposed to be native to Syria from where it has spread into northern Europe. It is commonly found in the far north countries of Scandinavia, Iceland and Lapland. It grows naturally in some parts of Scotland. There are about 30 different varieties of Angelica but only Angelica Archangelica is used medicinally and commercially. It is widely cultivated in England for its candied stems. It has spread, self-sown, into the countryside and gardens, appreciated for its tall and decorative foliage, for its medicinal virtues or regarded as a invasive weed. It is also cultivated in France, Spain and Eastern Europe.


Angelica archangelica is a tall, spreading perennial herb that grows two metres high. The roots are spindle-shaped, long and fleshy with many long rootlets. The stems are long, stout and hollow. The leaves, divided in 3 parts, are held on long footstalks reddish at the base. Umbels of white to greenish flowers appear in July and are followed by pale oblong fruits.


The virtues of Anglica were praised by the old northern civilisations. The plant was believed to protect against all infections, contagions and to cure any diseases.

After the introduction of Christianity and following the old traditions passed on over the centuries, popular mind linked Angelica with some angelic patronage. According to the legend, the plant was revealed to a monk by an angel as an antidote to the bubonic plague. Angelica's very name thus associates it with healing, and with supposed angelic qualities that include protection from infections, epidemics and poisons.

It was a symbol of the Holy Spirit and holds a place within the Trinity, in that the stem grows out from between two cuticles that wrap around each other

Another explanation is that it blooms on the day of Michael The Archangel and as such is a protection against all evil spirits and witchcrafts.

As a herbal preparation, angelica root has been used for centuries to treat colds, coughs, dyspepsia, colic, oedema and arthritis.

Angelica root oil is used as a food flavouring ingredient, and is added to alcoholic bitters, liqueurs and vermouths at levels of below 0.01 per cent. It has also been used in perfumery as part of chypre and fern-like fragrances, at levels of up to 0.1 per cent.


The entire plant is highly aromatic. It carries a unique aroma, totally different to the other umbelliferaes such as fennel, caraway, anis. It is reminiscent of juniper berry, a fact that French gin distillers have long recognised. Angelica has since then been used as a substitute in their gin preparations.

Essential oils are secreted in the seeds, the leaves and the roots and rhizome, in secretory ducts. The root oil is produced mainly in Eastern Europe, France and India.

Angelica root oil is obtained from the steam distillation of the fresh or dried chopped roots. The yield of oil from the dried root averages 0.3-0.6 per cent, a fact that makes it relatively expensive. The oil possesses a sweet, fatty, earthy-rooty odour - one that includes musky, peppery and coniferous notes.

The essential oil is composed largely of monoterpenes and, like those of Pinus sylvestris and Cupressus sempervirens, is rich in the bicyclic compounds alpha-pinene and delta-3-carene.


Angelica root oil has been reported to exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties, and possesses an antispasmodic effect.

It has been used traditionally for its tonic and carminative properties in the relief of gastrointestinal symptoms such as epigastric distention and flatulence, particularly in cases of chronic gastritis and spasmodic colitis.

In terms of Oriental medicine, angelica root oil's warm, tonifying, earthy-rooty nature makes it suited in particular to weak, lethargic individuals. Its antispasmodic effect is best applied, therefore, in cases where there is Qi deficiency as well as Qi stagnation.

Psychologically, the oil is appropriate for clients who suffer with mental fatigue or nervous debility coupled with insomnia and anxiety.


Although non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing, angelica root essential oil is nevertheless strongly phototoxic due to the presence of bergapten. The oil should not be applied to the skin in excess of the recommended maximum dilution of 0.78 per cent; otherwise the skin should not be exposed to sunlight or sunbed rays for at least 12 hours.


For irritable bowel syndrome or associated symptoms:

In 50 ml of base oil, cream or gel, blend the following essential oils (at 2% dilution):

  • 8 drops Angelica archangelica (angelica root)
  • 8 drops Citrus sinensis (sweet orange)
  • 6 drops Chamaemelum nobile (Roman chamomile)
  • 4 drops Coriandrum sativum (coriander seed)
  • 4 drops Mentha piperita (peppermint)

For mental and physical exhaustion coupled with insomnia and/or anxiety:

In 50 ml of base oil, cream or gel, blend the following essential oils (at 2% dilution):

  • 10 drops Angelica archangelica (angelica root)
  • 6 drops Cedrus atlantica (Atlas cedar)
  • 6 drops Lavandula angustifolia (true lavender)
  • 4 drops Nardostachys jatamansi (spikenard)
  • 4 drops Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia (bergamot)

For a feeling of spiritual darkness and disorientation:

In 50 ml of base oil, cream or gel, blend the following essential oils (at 1.2% dilution):

  • 8 drops Angelica archangelica (angelica root)
  • 6 drops Boswellia carterii (frankincense)
  • 4 drops Salvia sclarea (clary sage)