What Is The Angelica Root?
Angelica is a plant, roots, seeds, and fruits of which are used to make medicine.
Angelica roots are referred to as the species Angelica Archangelica (A. Archangelica) and also Angelica Sinensis (A. Sinensis).
It has a unique, strong smell due to the aromatic compounds present in it. The scent is musky, earthy, and herbaceous(1).
Angelica root implies to its roots but the medicinal products would contain roots, seeds, and fruits as well. A. Sinensis products are typically made from its roots.
Uses of Angelica Root
Angelica root specifically A. Archangelica has culinary uses. It is used in the production of gin and other spirits. Leaves of angelica can be used for garnishing and decoration.
The primary use of angelica is that it is used as herbal medicine. It grows wildly in Europe and Russia and has a long history of being used as traditional medicine.
A.sinensis can prove to be an effective traditional medicine for women’s health purposes(2).
Benefits of Angelica Root
Both the species of angelica roots, A. Archangelica and A.sinensis has numerous benefits but lack scientific evidence.
1. A.sinensis Benefits
Most of the beneficial properties of A.sinensis are because of the compound ligustilide. It comprises of 1% of the plant and gives it a strong fragrance(1, 3, 4).
2. Anticancer Properties
Test tube studies on animal shows, A.sinensis extract can kill glioblastoma cells that can form aggressive brain cancer(5, 6).
More research has to be done on humans before it can be considered as a potential cancer treatment.
3. Wound Healing Properties
A.sinensis encourages angiogenesis and promotes wound healing(7, 8).
There is evidence that it can promote healing of the diabetic foot wound. The healing can be slower depending on the blood vessel and tissue damage caused due to high blood sugar levels(9).
4. Helps in Menstrual Hot Flushes
A.sinensis is used in the management of menopausal symptoms and other female hormonal issues(10).
Complementary therapies are popularly used for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
Angelica root maintains or increases the levels of serotonin in the body that are known to decrease during menopause. This reduces the severity and frequency of hot flashes(11).
5. Provides Relief From Arthritis
A.sinensis provides relief from wear and tear of the joints, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
It decreases inflammation, prevents joint damage, and promotes cartilage repair in osteoarthritis(12).
In rheumatoid arthritis, it helps reduce the inflammatory response, reduces pain, and improves the symptoms(13).
6. A.archangelica Benefits
A.archangelica also offers some benefits, but most of the studies of this herb, have been conducted in test-tube and animals. Further human studies are still needed.
7. Anticancer Properties
A.archangelica has anticancer and antitumor effects.
It has been found to kill breast cancer cells in the test tube and animal studies. Similar effects are seen in cervical cancer, larynx cancer, and rhabdomyosarcoma(14, 15).
The anti-cancer effect may be due to agelicin and imperatorin, two phytochemicals found in A. archangelica(14, 15).
Due to insufficient evidence of the anti-cancer effect of A. Archangelica in humans, more studies are needed.
8. Antimicrobial Effects
A.archangelic can kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
In a test-tube study, it was found to kill disease-causing Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli(16).
Some extracts in A. archangelica including imperatorin are known to exhibit antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus and coxsackievirus(17).
A.archangelica can prevent mold growth and can be used as a promising food-safe preservative(18).
9. Anti-Anxiety Effects
Animal studies show evidence of the role of A.archangelica in reducing anxiety.
In a rat study, it was found to induce relaxation and decrease anxious behavior(19, 20).
Side Effects Of Angelica Root
A.sinensis supplements have been suspected of causing heart problems. It may also increase blood pressure(21, 22).
It may interfere with blood thinners and can lead to fatal bleeding. Those taking blood thinners should not use A.sinensis.
Furanocoumarins, a compound present in the angelica genus, may interact with many drugs including cholesterol and anti-seizure medications(23).
There can be an abnormal skin response to ultraviolet rays and contact dermatitis while handling the angelica plant(24).
Also, there is no evidence regarding the safety of angelica roots during pregnancy and in breastfeeding females, hence should be avoided by them.
Angelica root is a popular herbal medicine in parts of Europe and East Asia. It has very little evidence supporting its benefits. If interested in taking angelica root, make sure to check the specie of angelica root you are seeking.