This Venus herb is connected to the Empress card in the Tarot. Angelica seems to have two main functions: luck and protection of a particular kind.
The Iroquois used North American angelica as witchcraft medicine, making a wash from bruised roots to remove ghosts from the house. The Eskimo made the stems into a purifying incense for the inside and outside of the home, and the purification aspect apparently also came into play in Blackfoot medicine societies, where it was a tool for augmenting collective power and an implement in society initiations. The Pomo carried it or hung it in their home for protection. In Hoodoo, angelica root is protective of hearth and home and may be an ingredient in a mojo bag or together with salt, a powder for purifying the house. It is also combined with salt and sulfur to become a component in uncrossing powders. The Karok people purified themselves with the root after attending a funeral. In Mexico folk magic, for instance, if a girl has been frightened, she carries an angelica root for protection in a white bag. Likewise, in Hoodoo, a woman who has been the target of a violent man can carry an angelica root dressed with Fiery Wall of Protection oil. Top
I am struck by the strong Maiden aspect of some of angelica's protective uses, but it also has often been a lucky charm, thus showing another perspective of Venus and its typical connection to money. Ceremonialists and diviners of the Blackfoot tribe utilized the root to increase their power but also to bless other people with a long life and good luck. Angelica also functioned as a gambling charm amongst the Blackfoot, either being held in the hand or mouth or tied it to the bridle of a horse in racing. The Mendocino likewise carried it as a gambling charm. Kwakiutl Indians tied a bit on their fishing hook for fishing luck, and Lolahnkok Indian fellows rubbed some of the plant on the neck and hands of a young woman to get her to say yes. :) Top
In European herbal medicine, angelica is warming and gently stimulating. Historically, its seeds have been an ingredient in medieval medicinal liqueurs like Chartreuse and Benedictine. It relaxes smooth muscles and is anti-spasmodic. It's cleansing, being anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. It induces healthy sweating when a person has a cold. Its Venus medicinal properties are strictly of the Maiden aspect: it has historically been used to bring on menstruation but is recommended against in pregnancy. Since it raises blood sugar, angelica should not be used by folks with diabetes. Top
Culinary and Other Uses
This was a Viking vegetable and is still one of the few veggies available to people of the far north, like Laplanders, Eskimo, and folks of the Faroe Islands (WAY the heck up there--good thing it's warming!). Many northern folks also smoked the dried root or flavored fish with the leaves. Angelica stalks are sometimes combined with rhubarb in the proportions of 1 part angelica to 4 parts rhubarb to make pie fillings (the angelic helps counter the rhubarb's sourness). Angelica digestive bitters are decocted of 2 parts dried angelica leaves, 2 part dried holy thistle, 1 part hops. Check out the candied angelica recipe. The Delaware sometimes mixed the seeds of angelica with tobacco to sweeten the smoke. Angelica tastes like a combination of celery and licorice. Top
How to Grow Angelica
Angelica germinates in 30 days, but germination is increased by cold stratification. Transplant out in spring or fall or direct sow in full sun or partial shade. Angelica likes rich, moist soil in partial shade, such as it would find naturally in a dappled woodland. Plant gets 72-96"/1.8-2.4m tall--it's a big one! Space 12-24"/45-60cm apart. Perennial to zone 4 (-30F/-34C). Some people get a skin irritation from handling the sap of this plant. Bees and butterflies enjoy the flowers. Usually takes three years to flower. Breaking off the flower heads so it doesn't go to seed will make the plant live longer, but allowing the plant to reseed will mean you get plenty of baby angelicas the following year. Roots can be harvested in the late fall of the first year. Dehydrate on the lowest setting of your dehydrator. If the root is thick, cut it up so it doesn't mold. General growing info Top
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In April or May, prior to the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, a patron of this plant, cut large angelica stalks in their second year while they are still green rather than purple or white. Strip off the leaves and cut into pieces as long as your palm. Boil some water and put the stalks in to blanch for 2-6 minutes. Some add half a teaspoon of baking soda per gallon of water to maintain the green color and to soften the stems somewhat; others don't. Drain in cold water, rinse, and drain again, then peel off the long stringy bit, as you would do with celery when making celery soup. Make a simple syrup (1 part water and 1 part sugar, heat until it is clear) and soak the stalks in it for 24 hours; you can put a dish on top of the stalks to hold them below the surface of the syrup. Some put a layer of grape vine leaves on the top of the syrup to increase the crispiness of the stalks, just as in pickling. Fish the stalks out and boil the syrup until it start to thicken, then pour over the stalks and let sit for a day. Repeat this straining, boiling, and letting sit for three days. On the fourth day, boil the syrup to 245F and then put the angelica stalks in the pot. Bring back to a boil. Repeat until the stalks start to look translucent but before they get limp. Let cool and then drain the stalks and let them dry on a rack. When they are dry, dust with fine sugar and dry in a slow oven, around 170F. Keeps in jars for four months to two years. Top