Angelica (Angelica archangelica) The name means “angelic archangel” and this is a good representation of this oil. It has a glorious scent that unites high and low. Angelica has a long tradition as a medicinal and flavor enhancer in indigenous cultures such as the Same-culture in northern Scandinavia.
The plant is large and tall with clusters of small white flowers and large roots. Angelica is biennial but always returns thanks to its strong self-sowing ability. The first year only the large, fern-like, serrated leaves grow. In the second year it grows to a height of 2 meters and flowers are produced. The stem is thick and hollow and can be made into a flute. It is native to Europe and Siberia but is now grown worldwide. The whole plant is aromatic but only the roots and seeds are steam-distilled for essential oil. Personally, I prefer the oil from the roots.
The stems and seeds are used in confectionery, flavoring and the preparation of liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. The whole herb is used medicinally.
The scent is green, herbaceous and slightly earthy with a peppery note. With time the scent deepens and take on a slightly musky character. Interestingly enough, the scent of Angelica is dual: light and heavy, spicy and musky. It is full-bodied and I believe the way we perceive the scent is depending on what we need from the oil at the moment. The duality of Angelica can also be seen in its properties; it is a stimulant in low doses and sedative in higher doses.
- Carminative for the digestive system.
- Dull and congested skin.
- Detoxifying; accumulation of toxins, arthritis, rheumatism and water retention.
- Strengthens the immune-system.
- Emotional: Anxiety, tension, stress, fatigue.
- Spiritually: Focus, creativity and inner vision. It connects the divine with the earth; spiritual with physical. In healing it can be used as a “door-opener” before actual treatment.
Safety precautions: Angelica is photosensitizing, meaning that it makes the skin more responsive to light. When using Angelica stay out of the sun and sunbeds for at least 8 hours after application to skin. If exposed to sunlight, photosensitizing oils can increase the risk for sunburn and discoloration. Do not use during pregnancy.
An experience: One day I had just gotten a new bottle of Angelica essential oil and I put a couple of drops on my necklace (see aromatic jewelery). Later in the day I had a long drive and after an hour I was getting increasingly light-headed and “visionary” which is not the ideal condition for driving. It became so strong that I had to stop and get out of the car. Once in the fresh air, my head cleared and I realized my state was because of inhaling the Angelica-oil.
I use the oil for visionary meditations where it is very useful for the clarity it brings, but I never again use it while driving or “handling heavy machinery”. Focus does not always mean sharp.