Angelica (also Called Master-wort)





The wild Angelica grows commonly throughout England in wet

places as an umbelliferous plant, with a tall hollow stem, out of

which boys like to make pipes. It is purple, furrowed, and downy,

bearing white flowers tinged with pink. But the herb is not useful

as a simple until cultivated in our gardens, the larger variety being

chosen for this purpose, and bearing the name Archangelica.



Angelica, the happy counterbane,

Sent down from heaven by some celestial scout,

As well its name and nature both avow't.



It came to this country from northern latitudes in 1568. The

aromatic stems are grown abundantly near London in moist fields

for the use of confectioners. These stems, when candied, are sold

as a favourite sweetmeat. They are grateful to the feeble stomach,

and will relieve flatulence promptly. The roots of the garden

Angelica contain plentifully a peculiar resin called angelicin,

which is stimulating to the lungs, and to the skin: they smell

pleasantly of musk, being an excellent tonic and carminative. An

infusion of the plant may be made by pouring a pint of boiling

water on an ounce of the bruised root, and two tablespoonfuls [24]

of this should be given three or four times in the day; or the

powdered root may be administered in doses of from ten to thirty

grains. The infusion will relieve flatulent stomach-ache, and will

promote menstruation if retarded. It is also of use as a stimulating

bronchial tonic in the catarrh of aged and feeble persons. Angelica,

taken in either medicinal form, is said to cause a disgust for

spirituous liquors. In high Dutch it is named the root of the Holy

Ghost. The fruit is employed for flavouring some cordials, notably

Chartreuse. If an incision is made in the bark of the stems, and the

crown of the root, at the commencement of spring, a resinous gum

exudes with a special aromatic flavour as of musk or benzoin, for

either of which it can be substituted. Gerard says: If you do but

take a piece of the root, and hold it in your mouth, or chew the

same between your teeth, it doth most certainly drive away

pestilent aire. Icelanders eat both the stem and the roots raw with

butter. These parts of the plant, if wounded, yield a yellow juice

which becomes, when dried, a valuable medicine beneficial in

chronic rheumatism and gout. Some have said the Archangelica

was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague; others

aver that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8th,

old style), and is therefore a preservative against evil spirits and

witchcraft.





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