Angelica - A Solar Herb
There is a small patch of blue in the sky this morning as I sit at my kitchen table thinking about the sun and the joy it brings to life. My husband has just left for Mexico for 3 weeks. I am staying behind because we have a very old dog, 100 years old in human lives and two 8 week old kittens. If we need to make a difficult decision about our old friend, then we felt it best one of us be here.
My husband has had a virus for a week. It never took him down like others I know. It has been fought off with rat root (Acorus calamus), sage (Salvia officinalis) and angelica (Angelica archangelic) and as much Vitamin C as he can tolerate, hot baths and rest. (He’s a busy guy and rest is not easy). I am predicting a day in the Mexican sun, and the virus will vanish! The healing power of the sun.
The ancients attributed their healing plants with the power of planets. Although the Sun is not a planet, it’s a star. The star of our solar system and approximately 99/98% of the mass of our little spinning spiral within the greater spirals of the universal. Who knows how immense the universe is?
It is interesting to me that I regularly gravitate towards plants carrying its warmth and vitality at this time of year, when the sun is furthest from the northern forests of our planet. Or the next couple of weeks, l hopes to explore a few of my favoured sun infused plants.
Angelica (Angelica archangelic).
Angelica, such a beauty in the garden, graceful with a regal presence. Angelica is not showy, like roses or peonies. But she draws all who enter the garden with her aura or generosity and warmth, like the sun.
It is the sun warmth that skin, hidden under layers of clothing seek during long Canadian winters. Angelica, being a plant favoured by the sun, infuses the core of our being with warmth, radiating it to our fingers and toes.
Angelica is medicine for the times in our lives when there has been a loss that cloaked our hopes with darkness. The loss may have been a death, a relationship, but mostly a loss that has left us with uncertainty about who we are and our direction in life.
Like the morning sun glowing bright uncovering on a river hidden in a thick cool mist, Angelica brings friendly warmth and light to the cool misty moments of lives when we are uncertain about our direction in life. Angelica returns the vitality of life.
During times of chronic illness, one must not forget to encourage the innate vitality we all have. The pain, fatigue and limitation imposed by chronic are thieves. They steal vitality from every cell, experience, hope and dream of our being. Chronic illness leaves us feeling lifeless. In this place Angelica shines with grace and remembering. Angelica helps up remember the times in our life of wellness. Angelica helps up recognize the light in our being, no matter how challenged our health is.
Angelica is not just medicine for the mind and spirit, the core of our being, she is also a remedy for illness caused by infection. This is how she got her name.
The story goes like this: The dream came during the plague years. I can only imagine what a dark time the plague years were in European history. Entire families were taken by fevers and oozing sores. Thieves, starving and weak - who was there to work the fields, bring in crops when the plague wiped out villages in a matter of days, man, woman and child - rooting through the pockets of the dead. Anyone who still had a shred of hope, prayed for a miracle.
This is when Angelica appeared. A Benedictine monk, I image after spending day and night in uninterrupted pray and meditation, dreamt of Archangel Michael offering him a root of Angelica and advising him on to help those suffering from the plaque.
Many dug Angelica’s roots from the wild places along river banks. People chewed on her roots, mixing the plant’s medicine with their salvia, releasing her anti-microbial volatile oils throughout the day, protecting them from the infecting bacteria of the plaque.
(An aside: When people ask me if herbal medicine really works? I contain my disdain and say, well, were still here!)
Angelica soon disappeared from the wild places, like many of our plants, goldenseal, echinacea, false unicorn root, and who knows that one’s that were not named, and her root became precious as sun rays during the winter solstice. Luckily, she loves to grow in gardens.
The other medicine Angelica carries the medicine of a carminative. Carminatives relax the muscles of our gut, bringing harmony to undulating movements of our digestive tract. A tense gut ferments, bloats and cramps. Very few nutrients are absorbed. Like basking in glowing sun rays on a gentle summer’s day, easing tension from body and minds while replenishing the essential life force of the solar system, Angelica warms and relaxes a tense gut while relieving it from the fermenting flora and stalled peristalsis. One of the primary laws of healing, efficient absorption of nutrients equals good health.
Here is a traditional recipe for angelic from Maude Grieves Modern Herbal ( a must-have book!).
Pour a quart of boiling water upon 6oz of Angelica root cut up into thin slices, 4 oz. of honey, the juice of 2 lemons and ½ gill of brandy. Infuse of half an hour.
Enjoy the sun today.