March 19, 2018
In Iceland, Angelica was the flower we saw most consistently growing at the base of all the beautiful waterfalls.
Floored by its wild beauty, we collected this flower essence after soaking in a secret hot springs. In Iceland, Angelica is revered as a special plant, and many places are named after it, including Iceland’s highest peak called Hvannadalshnjúkur (‘Angelica valley peak’).
Angelica is a stunning white flower that looks like a white starburst exploding across the green hillsides. One of Iceland’s most cherished herbs, it is not only beautiful, but also appreciated as a nutritious food, a liqueur and an herbal remedy. The roots and stems can be boiled or pickled and are considered a delicacy in all of Scandinavia. The stems were used to make a musical flute, as well as flavor reindeer milk or be crystallized in sugar for desserts. Norwegians use the roots in cooking bread and Finns eat the stems cooked in hot ashes, while also drinking a tea infusion of them.
Angelica stems and seeds are used in liqueurs like vermouth and chartreuse, and the aromatic dried leaves are used in making hops bitters. The fruits are used for making absinthes and gins. The seeds are distilled to make a very earthy + musky essential oil for use in beverages and botanical perfumery.
In the art of herbalism, Angelica is known to be an excellent tonic, carminative (relieves gas), stomachic (soothes the stomach) and expectorant (brings mucus up out of the lungs). A blood-purifying remedy, it's most often used for respiratory issues like colds and coughs, joint pain, circulation problems, loss of appetite, runny nose, nervousness and trouble sleeping. Historically, it was even used for typhoid.
In peer-reviewed studies, the plant has also been shown to have anti-mitotic (anti-mutation), antiproliferative (inhibits cancer cells) and chemopreventive (protects against carcinogens) effects. It projects against development of ulcers, and is antimicrobial, antiviral and antitumor. In one parallel clinical study, it was even demonstrated (using randomized, double-blind + placebo tests) that the herb helped people with nocturia (who had to go frequently to the bathroom at night).
Angelica meansangelicand in the places where it grows, it has been revered as a special plant. In Scandanavia, it was used as a shamanic medicine by the indigenous Sami people. In Western European folklore, Angelica was considered to render spells and enchantment powerless. In the U.S., various varieties of Angelica were used in rituals and ceremonies by Native American tribes. In Europe, there is a belief that Archangel Michael first taught of the medicinal qualities of Angelica. Another story has it that a monk dreamt of an archangel who pointed out Angelica as a cure for the plague, leading it to be calledThe Angel’s Herb.
Caution: Be very careful if you wildcraft Angelica (pick it from the wild), as it resembles - and can be confused with - Hemlock, a deadly poisonous plant.
If you are attracted to Angelica, you may be interested in distilling a deeper meaning from everything in life. You may feel tired of things that feel flat or superficial, yearning for a deeper authentic connection to people and a truer intimacy in relationships.
Sometimes we feel safer staying on the surface level in our conversations and experiences. Other times we feel a sense of apathy, disengagement, or worry that there is no greater meaning to the occurrences in our lives. We may fight what happens to us, try to control it or feel hopeless vs. trusting in the wisdom of life.
Angelica magnifies our everyday experience of interconnectedness and deeper meaning woven throughout everything that happens in our lives. It enhances our awareness of benevolent unseen forces and angelic or protective support. It opens up a visceral sense of magic and synchronicity, and a feeling of being fortunate, lucky and grateful. Everything around us feels whimsical and rich with meaning.
We can relinquish control and allow ourselves to trust in the way life unfolds. We have a sense that we are connected to everything and that there is divine support in all our endeavors. We experience a knowingness that we are supported by divine or beneficial good forces and we can ask for assistance or have a relationship with them.
Magnifies: Divine support, wisdom + deeper meaning
Dissolves: Apathy, lack of connection, superficiality, surface level perspective
Love + flower petals,