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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 36-50

Angelica archangelica Linn. is an angel on earth for the treatment of diseases

Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir, Hazaratbal, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India

Date of Submission04-Nov-2010
Date of Acceptance10-Dec-2010
Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2011

Correspondence Address:
Dinesh Kumar
Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir - 190 006, Jammu and Kashmir
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2231-0738.77531

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Angelica archangelica Linn. has traditionally been used in mountainous and tropical regions and appreciated for centuries; however, its biological properties are only beginning to be elucidated scientifically. In the Ayurvedic text, 'Chandaamshuka' is one of the agents found in mountains, which helps to control serious diseases. There is ample data to suggest the potent properties of this plant and its compounds, which have been used to explain most of its observed biological activities. However, emerging evidence suggests that Angelica archangelica Linn. can be useful a Ghost/Angel for the treatment of diseases. The traditional claims, phytochemical investigations, pharmacological evaluation, and some recipes provide the backbone to make this plant a Holy Ghost or Angel. We summarized the progress of our current research knowledge on Angelica archangelica Linn. and its observed biological activities. We hope that this review will stimulate further research for elucidating and appreciating the value of this wonder agent provided by nature.

Keywords: Angelica archangelica , apiaceae, archangelin, root of the holy ghost

How to cite this article:
Bhat Z A, Kumar D, Shah M Y. Angelica archangelica Linn. is an angel on earth for the treatment of diseases. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis 2011;1:36-50

How to cite this URL:
Bhat Z A, Kumar D, Shah M Y. Angelica archangelica Linn. is an angel on earth for the treatment of diseases. Int J Nutr Pharmacol Neurol Dis [serial online] 2011 [cited 2016 Oct 22];1:36-50. Available from:

   Introduction Top

During the past decade, the indigenous or traditional system of medicine has gained importance in the field of medicine. In most of the developing countries, a large number of populations depend on traditional practitioners, who in turn are dependent on medicinal plants, to meet their primary health care needs. Although modern medicines are available, herbal medicines have retained their image for historical and cultural reasons. As the usage of these herbal medicines has increased, issues and the motto regarding their quality, safety, and efficacy in industrialized and developing countries have cropped up. [1] Increasing interest has forced the researcher to scientifically screen various traditional claims. There is a need for screening the traditional claims because in this scientific era, everyone is interested in the scientific support before using traditional drugs. Therefore, at present, both common users and healthcare professionals seek updated, alterative information, toward the safety and efficacy of any recommended medicinal plant as a drug, prior to its use. It is difficult to imagine that the extinct and an important spice and flavor that has been served to world travelers, spending summer holidays on the beautiful mountains and tropical regions of north India, especially the Kashmir valley, upon their arrival at the hotel and houseboat, could one day end up on the laboratory tables of the Research Institutes around the world. The welcome food contains the important spice and flavor made from the powder, formulated from the fruits and other parts of the plant. Nowadays, the medicinal plant is extinct and is only used by the local people in the mountain areas for the treatment of various diseases and recipes of food. It is used to avoid constipation, promote digestion, prevent cancer, and avoid allergies.

Angelica archangelica
has been used widely and for long in folk medicine and is one of the most respected medicinal herbs in Nordic countries, where it has been cultivated during the middle ages and exported to other parts of Europe. [2] Canda consists of the dried root of Angelica archangelica Linn. (Fam. Apiaceae), a tall perennial herb with a thick hollow stem, bearing large bipinnate leaves, and umbels of greenish-white flowers; found wild in the inner valleys of the Himalayas, namely, Kashmir, Chamba, Kullu, Pangi, Lahaul, and Kinnaur, at altitudes between 3200 and 4200 m. (India).

Botanical: Angelica archangelica Linn.

Family: N.O. Umbelliferae (Apiaceae).

Garden Angelica, Archangelica officinalis0 Hoffm., Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica C.B. Clarke.

English names: Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica.

Ayurvedic names: Chandaa, canda, Chandaamshuka, Kathachoraa

Sanskrit: Laghu Coraka

Hindi: Choraka bheda, Dudhachoraa

Nature: Biennial and perennial herbal plant.


Archangelica comes from the Greek word 'arkhangelos' (=arch-angel), due to the myth that it was the angel Gabriel who told of its use as a medicine. In Finnish it is called vainonputki, in Kalaallisut kuanneq, in Sami fadnu, boska, and rassi, in English garden angelica, in German arznei-engelwurz, in Dutch grote-engelwortel, in Persian gol-par, in Swedish kvanne, in Norwegian kvann, in Danish kvan, in Icelandic hvonn, and in Faroese it has the name hvonn.

Other Angelicas

American Angelica: or Masterwort (A. atropurpurea, Linn.), also used in herbal medicine in North America, grows throughout the eastern United States. The root has a strong odor and a warm aromatic taste. The juice of the fresh root is acrid and said to be poisonous, but the acridity is dissipated by drying. The root, although lighter and less branched, is similar in appearance to that of A. Archangelica, with nearly allied constituents and properties, and the medicinal virtues of the whole plant are similar, hence, it has been employed as a substitute, but it is inferior to the European Angelica, being less aromatic. Wild Angelica: (A. sylvestris, Linn.), yields a yellow dye. The Angelica Tree of America (Xanthoxylum Americanum, Mill), the Prickly Ash, as it is more generally named, is not allied to the umbelliferous Angelicas. Its berries and bark are employed to prepare a tonic, which is used in the treatment of rheumatism and skin diseases.


According to some botanists, this species of Angelica is believed to be a native of Syria from where it has spread to many cool European climates, where it has become naturalized. It is occasionally found native in the cold and moist places in Scotland, but is more abundant in countries further north, such as, Lapland and Iceland. It is supposed to have come to this country from northern latitudes in about 1568; there are about thirty varieties of Angelica, but this one is the only one officially employed in medicine. Parkinson, in his Paradise in Sole, 1629, puts Angelica in the forefront of all medicinal plants, and it holds almost as high a place among village herbalists to-day, although it is not the native species of Angelica that is of such value medicinally and commercially, but an allied form, found wild in most places in the northern parts of Europe. This large variety, Angelica Archangelica (Linn.), also known as Archangelica officinalis, is grown abundantly near London in moist fields, for the use of its candied stems. It is largely cultivated for medicinal purposes in Thuringia, and the roots are also imported from Spain.


Its name was derived from a monk's dream in which St. Michael, the Archangel, appeared telling the monk what herb to use to help victims of the bubonic plague that was decimating Europe in 1665, (Grieve 36). When it was discovered that this herb was helpful in protecting and healing those that had the plague, the country side was very nearly stripped of the plant by peasants and nobility alike. Old chronicles report that anyone who kept a piece of angelica root in their mouth all through the day would be preserved from the plague. This herb blooms about May 8, (old calendar), St. Michael's feast day, and is so named in his honor. Even though this herb is named in honor of a Christian angel many Angelica Festivals are held in Livonia, East Prussia, and Pomerania, and celebrated in a pagan manner, with dance and chanting of ancient ditties in languages no longer understood. European angelica has been viewed as a magical herb for more than a 1000 years. Peasants made angelica leaf necklaces to protect their children from illness and witchcraft. Witches were reported never to use angelica and if it was in a woman's garden or home it was her defense against witchcraft charges. There are more than 60 species of medicinal plants belonging to the genus Angelica world-wide and thirty odd species in the British Isles. Many have long been used in ancient traditional medicine systems, especially in the Far East. Chinese Angelica (Dong quai) has a history of more than 4000 years of use and is referred to as the 'female ginseng,' even though it is used for both genders and for all sorts of body ailments. Many herbal preparations are sold over-the-counter not only in far eastern countries, but also in countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. "When European colonists arrived in North America, they found many Indian tribes using American Angelica in the same way as their own healers used the European species; to treat respiratory ailments, in particular tuberculosis," (Castleman 46). Eventually the colonists realized that using larger doses would induce abortion. Angelica Archangelica is a biennial or perennial herb. "It is biennial only in the botanical sense of that term, that is to say, it is neither annual, nor is it naturally perennial. Its virtues are praised by old writers, and the name itself, as well as the folk-lore of all North European countries and nations, testify to the great antiquity of a belief in its merits as a protection against contagion, for purifying the blood, and for curing every conceivable malady: it was held a sovereign remedy for poisons, agues, and all infectious maladies. In Couriand, Livonia and the low lakelands of Pomerania and East Prussia, wild-growing Angelica abounds. There, in early summer-time, it has been the custom among the peasants to march into the towns carrying the Angelica flower-stems and to offer them for sale, chanting some ancient ditty in Lettish words, so antiquated as to be unintelligible even to the singers themselves. The chanted words and the tune are learnt in childhood, and may be attributed to a survival of some Pagan festival with which the plant was originally associated. After the introduction of Christianity, the plant became linked in the popular mind with some archangelic patronage, and was associated with the spring-time festival of the Annunciation. According to one legend, Angelica was revealed in a dream by an angel to cure the plague. Another explanation of the name of this plant is that it blooms on the day of Michael the Archangel (May 8, old style), and is on that account a preservative against evil spirits and witchcraft: all parts of the plant were believed to be efficacious against spells and enchantment. It was held in such esteem that it was called 'The Root of the Holy Ghost.' Angelica may be termed a perennial herbaceous plant. It is biennial only in the botanical sense of that term, that is to say, it is neither annual, nor naturally perennial: the seedlings make but little advance toward maturity within twelve months, while old plants die after seeding once, which event may be at a much more remote period than in the second year of growth. Only very advanced seedlings flower in their second year, and the third year of growth commonly complete the full period of life. There is another species, Angelica heterocarpa, a native of Spain, which is credited as truly perennial; it flowers a few weeks later than the biennial species, and is not so ornamental in its foliage. From the tenth century on, Angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant [3] and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia in the twelfth century and is still used today, especially in the Sami culture.


Cultivate in ordinary deep, moist loam, in a shady position, as the plant thrives best in a damp soil, and loves to grow near running water. Although the natural habitat is in damp soil and in open quarters, yet it can withstand adverse environment wonderfully well, and even endure severe winter frost, without any injury. Seedlings will even successfully develop and flower under trees, whose shelter creates an area of summer dryness in the surface soil, but of course, although such conditions may be allowable when Angelica is grown merely as an ornamental plant, it must be given the best treatment as regards suitable soil and situation, when grown for its use commercially. Insects and garden pests do not attack the plant with much avidity: its worst enemy is a small two-winged fly, of which the maggots are leaf miners, resembling those of the celery plant and the spinach leaf.

Not to be confused with the edible Pastinaca sativa or Wild Parsnip. Angelica archangelica grows wild in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Island, and Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It is cultivated in France, mainly in the Marais Poitevin, a marsh region close to Niort in the Dιpartment Deux-Sevres. It also grows in certain regions in Germany like the Harz Mountains. A. archangelica locally called as Rickhchoru in the Garhwal region and commonly known as European Angelica or Wild Parsnip, is an aromatic, stout, perennial herb, 60 - 200 cm in height. It is native to Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greenland, Hungary, Ice-land, Poland, and Central Russia. In India, it is found in the Western Himalayas, mainly in Kashmir (1000 - 3900 m), and the Gulmarg, Garhwal, and Kumaon regions, at altitudes of 2600 m - 3900 m; also reported in Sikkim, at 3000 - 3300 m. [4] The temperate region (2200 m) is suitable for cultivation of A. archangelica. Addition of manure (leaf litter in particular) and polyhouse cultivation further improved the yield. [5]

Demand and need of conservation strategy

Presently, the demand for the raw material of these species is very high, which is solely met through harvesting of their wild populations. Due to unsustainable harvesting, habitat loss, deforestation, grazing pressure, and other biotic pressures, their wild populations have become very rare and sparse. [6] The status of A. archangelica is very poor in Garhwal Himalayas, which has also been categorized as endangered for that region [7] . Besides having multiple uses, these species are of great size and restricted to a very few habitats (Authors' personal observations), and which, according to the extinction theory, are likely to be lost due to deforestation. [8] Initiation of large-scale cultivation of both the species in suitable climatic zones, by using suitable tools, has been suggested as a conservation strategy and crucial step to ensure a sustainable supply of raw materials to the pharmaceutical industries. [9],[10]

Market demand of these species for pharmaceuticals and ethno-medicinal utility, are met through harvesting from wild populations. Due to unsustainable harvesting, habitat loss, and grazing pressure, these species have been assigned as endangered in the Himalayan region. [11] Vashistha et al, reported the status of both Angelica spp. as endangered on the basis of a population survey from Garhwal Himalaya. [7] Both the species are propagated by the seed and vegetative parts. However, the existing report on seed germination is not reliable in view of their low germinability [9],[12],[13] and slow growth. [14] A. archangelica Linn. (Apiaceae) are high value medicinal and aromatic plant species of the Himalayas. Their ex-situ cultivation is recommended for conservation and regular supply of raw material for pharmaceuticals and ethnomedicinal uses. Vegetative propagation of these species was carried out at Pothivasa (2200 m asl): a part of Western Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India. Three treatments, namely, IBA, IAA, and GA3 with different concentrations (100, 200, and 500 ppm, each) were tried, to stimulate sprouting and rooting. IBA 100 ppm showed better results in both the species. These treatments may be used for mass multiplication of these species. [13]


Propagation should not be attempted otherwise than by the sowing of ripe, fresh seeds, although division of old roots is sometimes recommended, and also propagation by offshoots, which are thrown out by a two-year old plant, when cut down in June for the sake of the stems, and which transplanted at two feet or more apart, will provide a quick method of propagation, considered inferior, however, to that of raising by seed. As the germinating capacity of the seeds rapidly deteriorates, they should be sown as soon as ripe in August or early September. If kept till March, especially if stored in paper packets, their vitality is likely to be seriously impaired. In the autumn, the seeds may be sown where the plants are to remain, or preferably in a nursery bed, which as a rule will not need protection during the winter. A very slight covering of earth is best. Young seedlings, but not old plants, are amenable to transplantation. The seedlings must be transplanted when still small, for their first summer's growth, at a distance of about 18 inches apart. In the autumn they can be removed to permanent quarters, the plants being then set three feet apart.


The roots of the Common Angelica are long and spindle-shaped, thick and fleshy - large specimens sometimes weigh as much as three pounds - and are beset with many long, descending rootlets. The stems are stout fluted, four to six feet high and hollow. The foliage is bold and pleasing, the leaves are on long stout, hollow footstalks, often three feet in length, reddish purple at the much dilated, clasping bases; the blades, of a bright green color, are much cut into, being composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, small, and numerous, yellowish or greenish in color, are grouped into large, globular umbels. They blossom in July and are succeeded by pale yellow, oblong fruits, one-sixth to one-fourth of an inch in length when ripe, with membranous edges, flattened on one side and convex on the other, which bear three prominent ribs. Both the odor and taste of the fruits are pleasantly aromatic. Our native form, A. sylvestris (Linn.), is hairy in stalk and stem to a degree that makes a well-marked difference. Its flowers also differ, in being white and tinged with purple. The stem is purple and furrowed. This species is said to yield a good, yellow dye. Angelica is unique among the Umbelliferae for its pervading aromatic odor, a pleasant perfume, entirely differing from Fennel, Parsley, Anise, Caraway or Chervil. One old writer compares it to Musk, others liken it to Juniper. Even the roots are fragrant and form one of the principal aromatics of European growth - the other parts of the plant have the same flavor, but their active principles are considered more perishable. In several London squares and parks, Angelica has continued to grow, self-sown, for several generations, as a garden escape; in some cases it is appreciated as a useful foliage plant, in others, it is treated rather as an intruding weed. Before the building of the London Law Courts and the clearing of much slum property between Holy well Street and Seven Dials, the foreign population of that district fully appreciated its value, and were always anxious to get it from Lincoln's Inn Fields, where it abounded and where it still grows. Until very recent years, it was exceedingly common on the slopes bordering the Tower of London on the north and west sides; there also, the inhabitants held the plant in high repute, both for its culinary and medicinal use.

During its first year it only grows leaves, but during its second year its fluted stem can reach a height of two meters (or six feet). Its leaves are composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, which blossom in July, are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in color, are grouped into large, globular umbels, which bear pale yellow, oblong fruits. Angelica only grows in damp soil, preferably near rivers or deposits of water.

  1. Macroscopic Tap root thick, twisted, fleshy, highly aromatic with numerous rootlets, grayish in color; odor, musk-like; taste, sweet.
  2. Microscopic T.S. shows the periderm composed of five to nine layers of cork, followed by a layer of phellogen, and a few layers of phelloderm of rectangular cork cells; a cortex composed of thin-walled parenchymatous cells, irregular in shape with intercellular spaces, containing abundant starch grains; numerous oleo-resin cells filled with oil globules are present, which, in mature roots may degenerate and form irregular cavities. The vascular region and cortex are traversed by biseriate medullary rays, containing circular starch grains, usually measuring up to 24 ΅, but some up to 65 ΅ in length and 45 ΅ in breadth. The phloem is a wide zone composed of sieve tubes, companion cells, phloem parenchyma, and medullary rays. Schizogenous oleo-resin cells lined by epithelium containing yellowish brown substances are present in this zone. The cambium is very distinct, consisting of four to eight layers. The xylem consists of vessels and tracheids. Powder - Creamish yellow; shows under a microscope, drum-shaped vessels with reticulate thickenings, tracheids elongated with pointed ends having reticulate thickenings; fibers narrow and elongated with pointed ends; circular starch grains present.
  3. Powder: Creamish yellow; shows under a microscope, drum-shaped vessels with reticulate thickenings, tracheids elongated with pointed ends, having reticulate thickenings; elongated narrow fibers with pointed ends; and circular starch grains present.

   Identity, Purity, and Strength Top

Foreign matter: Not more than 2.0 percent.

Total Ash:Not more than 7 percent

Acid-insoluble ash: Not more than 1.2 percent

Alcohol-soluble extractive:Not less than 10 percent

Water-soluble extractive:Not less than 12 percent

Volatile oil:Not less than 0.3 percent

Thin layer chromatography profile of root

Thin layer chromatography (TLC) of the methanolic extract of the roots on precoated silica gel 'G' plates, using methanol : chloroform (2 : 98) as the mobile phase, on spraying with 2% vanillin in sulfuric acid reagent and heating the plate for five minutes at 110 o C, showed on orange brown spot at Rf.0.37 (comparable to the spot of selimone), and a grayish blue spot at Rf. 0.68 (comparable to the spot of archangelin).

Ayurvedic properties and action

Rasa: Katu

Guna: Laghu, Tiksna

Virya: Usna

Vipaka: Katu

Karma: Kaphahara, Mutrala, Vatahara, Visaghna, Svasahara, Varnaprasadaka, Svedaghna, Kandughna, Daurgandhahara. [15]

Parts used

The parts used are the roots and leaves for medicinal purposes, as also the seeds and whole plant. The stems and seeds are used in confectionery and flavoring and in the preparation of liqueurs. The dried leaves, on account of their aromatic qualities, are used in the preparation of hop bitters. The whole plant is aromatic, but only the root is official in the Swiss, Austrian, and German Pharmacopoeias. Angelica roots should be dried rapidly and placed in air-tight receptacles. They will then retain their medicinal virtues for many years. The root should be dug up in the autumn of the first year, as it is then that it is least liable to become mouldy and worm-eaten: it is very apt to be attacked by insects. Where very thick, the roots should be sliced longitudinally to quicken the drying process. The fresh root has a yellowish-gray epidermis, and when bruised, yields a honey-colored juice, having all the aromatic properties of the plant. If an incision is made in the bark of the stems and the crown of the root at the commencement of spring, this resinous gum will exude. It has a special aromatic flavor of musk benzoin, for either of which it can be substituted. The dried root, as it appears in commerce, is grayish brown and much wrinkled externally, whitish and spongy within and breaks with a starchy fracture, exhibiting shining, resinous spots. The odor is strong and fragrant, and the taste at first is sweetish, and afterward warm, aromatic, bitterish, and somewhat musky. These properties are extracted by alcohol and less perfectly by water. If the plants are well grown, the leaves may be cut for use, in the summer after transplanting. Ordinarily, it is the third or fourth year that the plant develops its tall flowering stem, of which the gathering for culinary or confectionery use prolongs the lifetime of the plant for many seasons. Unless it is desired to collect seeds, the tops should be cut at or before flowering time. After producing seeds the plants generally die, but cutting down the tops when the flower-heads first appear, prevents the formation of seeds, and the plants may continue to live for several years longer. By cutting down the stems right at their base, the plants practically become perennial, by the development of side shoots around the stool head. The whole herb, if for medicinal use, should be collected in June and cut shortly above the root. If the stems are already too thick, the leaves may be stripped off separately and dried on wire or netting trays. The stem, which is in great demand when trimmed and candied, should be cut about June or early JuIf the seeds are required, they should be gathered when ripe and dried. The seed heads should be harvested on a fine day, after the sun has dried off the dew, and spread thinly on sail cloth in a warm spot or open shed, where the air circulates freely. In a few days the tops become dry enough to be beaten out with a light flail or rod, care being taken not to injure the seed. After threshing, the seeds (or fruits) should be sieved to remove portions of the stalks and allowed to remain for several more days, spread out in a very thin layer in the sun, or in a warm and sunny room, being turned every day to remove the last vestige of moisture. In a week to ten days they will be dry. Small quantities of fruits can be shaken out of the heads when they have been cut a few days and finish ripening, so that the fruits divide naturally into the half-fruits or mericarps, which shake off readily when quite ripe, especially if rubbed out of the heads between the palms of the hands. It is imperative that the seeds be dry before being put into storage packages or tins.

Traditional uses

Angelica is largely used in the grocery trade as well as for medicine and is a popular flavoring for confectionery and liqueurs. The appreciation of its unique flavor was established in ancient times, when saccharin matter was extremely rare. The use of the sweetmeat may probably have originated from the belief that the plant possessed the power of averting or expelling pestilence. The preparation of Angelica is a small, but important industry in the south of France, its cultivation being centralized in Clermont-Ferrand. Fairly large quantities are purchased by confectioners and high prices are easily obtainable. The flavor of Angelica suggests that of Juniper berries, and it is largely used in combination with Juniper berries or in partial substitution for them by gin distillers. The stem is largely used in the preparation of preserved fruits and 'confitures' generally, and is also used as an aromatic garnish by confectioners. The seeds especially, which are aromatic and bitterish in taste, are employed in alcoholic distillates, especially in the preparation of Vermouth and similar preparations, as well as in other liqueurs, notably Chartreuse. From ancient times, Angelica has been one of the chief flavoring ingredients of beverages and liqueurs, but it is not a matter of general knowledge that the Muscatel grape-like flavor of some wines, made on both sides of the Rhine, is (or is suspected to be) due to the secret use of Angelica. An Oil of Angelica, which is very expensive, was prepared in Germany some years ago: it is obtained from the seeds by distillation with steam, the vapor being condensed and the oil separated by gravity. One hundred kilograms of Angelica seeds yield one kilolitre of oil, and the fresh leaves a little less, the roots yielding only 0.15 to 0.3 kilograms. Similar to the seeds themselves, the oil is used for flavoring. Besides being employed as flavoring for beverages and medicines, Angelica seeds are also used, to a limited extent, in perfumery. Angelica seeds and angelica roots are sometimes used in making absinthe. Seeds of a Persian spice plant known as Golpar (Heracleum persicum) are often erroneously labeled as 'angelica seeds.' True angelica seeds are rarely available from spice dealers. Almost all parts of the plant emit a pleasing odor. The roots are dried and used for flavoring foodstuffs and beverages, which has been described by the Sahu.

Medicinal action and uses

The herb, including the fruits and roots, is used for flavoring, and is reported to possess carminative properties. The root is aromatic and is reported to possess diaphoretic and diuretic properties, and is used in flatulent colic. It is sometimes applied externally as a counter-irritant. Internally it is used in digestive complaints, flatulence or as a tonic for cold and the respiratory system. [16]

Roots and seeds of this species are used as carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, antiseptic, and antidepressant (on central nervous system) agents. Roots are also used in the treatment of leukoderma and for dental preparation. [16],[17] Dried roots are used for flavoring in confectionary items and wines. Oil extracted from the roots and fruits contain many furocoumarins employed in medicines and in cordial preparations. [18] Angelica archangelica is believed to possess angelic healing power. This plant has been used in traditional and folk medicine as a remedy for nervous headaches, fever, skin rashes, wounds, rheumatism, and toothaches. [19] The roots of this plant have been used internally for digestive problems, including gastric ulcers, anorexia, and migraine, bronchitis, chronic fatigue, and menstrual and obstetric complaints. It has been shown to stimulate gastric and pancreatic secretions. A. archangelica can be used as an antiseptic, expectorant, emmenagogue, and a diuretic. Previous phytochemical investigations on A. archangelica have revealed the presence of various types of secondary metabolites, predominantly furanocoumarins. [19],[20],[ 21] The roots, stalks, leaves, and fruits possess carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, stomachic, tonic, and expectorant properties, which are strongest in the fruit, although the whole plant has the same virtues. Angelica is a good remedy for colds, coughs, pleurisy, wind, colic, rheumatism, and diseases of the urinary organs, although it should not be given to patients who have a tendency toward diabetes, as it causes an increase of sugar in the urine. It is generally used as a stimulating expectorant, combined with other expectorants the action of which is facilitated and to a large extent diffused through the entire pulmonary region. It is a useful agent for feverish conditions, acting as a diaphoretic. An infusion may be made by pouring a pint of boiling water on an ounce of the bruised root, and two tablespoons of this should be given three or four times a day, or the powdered root administered in doses of 10 to 30 grains. The infusion will relieve flatulence, and is also used as a stimulating bronchial tonic, and as an emmenagogue. It is used to a great extent on the continent for indigestion, general debility, and chronic bronchitis. For external use, the fresh leaves of the plant are crushed and applied as poultices in lung and chest diseases. From the tenth century on, Angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant[3] and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia, in the twelfth century and is still used today, especially in the Sami culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem, probably as a toy for children. Linnaeus reported that Sami people used it in reinder milk, as it is often used as a flavoring agent. In 1602, Angelica was introduced in Niort, which had just been ravaged by the plague, and it has been popular there ever since. It is used to flavor liqueurs or aquavits (e.g., Chartreus, Benedictine, Vermouth, and Dubonnet), omelettes and trout, and as jam. The long bright green stems are also candied and used as decoration. Angelica is unique among the Umbelliferare for its pervading aromatic odor, a pleasant perfume entirely different from Fennel, Parsley, Anise, Caraway or Chervil. One old writer compares it to Musk, others liken it to Juniper. Even the roots are fragrant, and form one of the principal aromatics of European growth - the other parts of the plant have the same flavor, but their active principles are considered more perishable. Angelica contains a variety of chemicals, which have been shown to have medicinal properties. Chewing on angelica or drinking tea brewed from it will cause the effect of local anesthesia, but it will heighten the consumer's immune system. It has been shown to be effective against various bacteria, fungal infections, and even viral infection.

Chinese system of medicines

The plant is commonly used in Chinese medicine for cerebral diseases. [22]

Traditional formulation / recipes

The following is extracted from an old family book of herbal remedies:

  • Boil gently for three hours a handful of Angelica rootd in a quart of water; then strain it off and add liquid Narbonne honey or best virgin honey, sufficient to make it into a balsam or syrup, and take two tablespoons every night and morning, as well as several times in the day. If there be hoarseness or sore throat, add a few nitre drops.

A somewhat similar drink, much in use on the Continent for the treatment of typhus fever, is thus prepared:

  • Pour a quart of boiling water on 6 oz. of Angelica root cut up in thin slices, 4 oz. of honey, the juice of two lemons, and 1/2 gill of brandy. Infuse for half an hour.

Formerly, a preparation of the roots was much used as a specific for typhoid. Angelica stems are also good for a feeble stomach, and will relieve flatulence promptly when chewed. Infusion of Angelica leaves is very healthy. It is a strengthening tonic and aromatic stimulant, the beneficial effect of which is felt after a few days' of use. The yellow juice yielded by the stem and root becomes, when dry, a valuable medicine in chronic rheumatism and gout. Taken in medicinal form, Angelica is said to cause disgust for spirituous liquors. It is a good vehicle for nauseous medicines and forms one of the ingredients in compound spirit of Aniseed. Gerard, among its many virtues that he extols, states, "it cureth the bitings of mad dogs and all other venomous beasts".


To Preserve Angelica, cut them in pieces four inches long. Steep for 12 hours in salt and water. Put a layer of cabbage or cauliflower leaves in a clean brass pan, then a layer of Angelica, then another layer of leaves and so on, finishing with a layer of leaves on the top. Cover with water and vinegar. Boil slowly till the Angelica becomes quite green, then strain and weigh the stems. Take a 1 lb. loaf of sugar to each pound of stems. Put the sugar in a clean pan with water to cover; boil for 10 minutes and pour this syrup over the Angelica. Stand for 12 hours. Pour off the syrup, boil it up for five minutes and pour it again over the Angelica. Repeat the process, and after the Angelica has stood in the syrup 12 hours, put everything on the fire in the brass pan and boil till tender. Then take out the pieces of Angelica, put them in a jar and pour the syrup over them, or dry them on a sieve and sprinkle them with sugar: they then form candy.

Another recipe (from Francatelli's Cook's Guide):

  • Cut the tubes or stalks of Angelica into six inch lengths; wash them, then put them into a copper preserving-pan with hot syrup; cover the surface with vine-leaves, and set the whole to stand in the larder till next day. The Angelica must then be drained on a sieve, the vine-leaves thrown away, half a pint of water added to the syrup, in which, after it has been boiled, skimmed, and strained into another pan, and the copper-pan has been scoured clean, both the Angelica and the boiling syrup are to be replaced and the surface covered with fresh vine-leaves, and again left to stand in this state till the next day - this process must be repeated three or four days running: at the end of which time the Angelica will be sufficiently green and done through, and should be put in jars without breaking the tubes. After the syrup has been boiled and skimmed, fill up the jars, and when they become cold, cover them with bladder and paper, and keep them in a very cool temperature.'

Another way of preserving Angelica:

  • Choose young stems, cut them into suitable lengths, and then boil until tender. When this stage is reached, remove from the water, and strip off the outer skin, then return them to the water and simmer slowly until the whole has become very green. Dry the stems and weigh them, allowing one pound of white sugar to every pound of Angelica. The boiled stalks should be laid in an earthenware pan and the sugar sprinkled over them, allowing the entire lot to stand for a couple of days - then boil all together. When well boiled, remove from the fire and turn into a colander to drain off the superfluous syrup. Take a little more sugar and boil to a syrup again, and then throw in the Angelica, and allow it to remain for a few minutes, and finally spread on plates in a cool oven to dry.

If a small quantity of the leaf-stalks of Angelica is cooked with 'sticks' of rhubarb, the flavor of the compound will be acceptable to many who do not relish plain rhubarb. The quantity of Angelica used may be according to circumstances, conditions, and individual taste. If the stems are young and juicy, they may be treated like rhubarb and cut up small, the quantity used being in any proportion between 5 and 25 percent. If the stalks are more or less fully developed, or even rather old and tough, they can be excellently used in economically small quantities for flavoring large quantities of stewed rhubarb, or in rhubarb jam, being added in long lengths before cooking and removed before sending to table. The confectioner's candied Angelica may be similarly utilized, but is expensive and not so good, while the home-garden growth of fresh Angelica, in spring-time, with thick, stout leaf-stalks, and of still stouter flowering stems, is very easy to use, and inexpensive. If this flowering stem be cut while very tender, early in May, later leafstalks will be available in plenty, for use with the latter part of the rhubarb crop. A well-known jam maker and confectioner, the late Mr. Robertson, of Chelsea, won considerable reputation by reason of his judicious blending of Angelica in jam-making and its combination in other confections, including temperance beverages. A pleasant form of Hop Bitters is made by taking 1 oz. of dried Angelica herb, combined with 1 oz. of Holy Thistle, and 1/2 oz. of hops, infused with 3 pints of boiling water, and strained off when cold. A wine glassful taken several times a day before meals forms a good appetiser. A delicious liqueur, which is also a digestive, preserving all the virtues of the plant, is made in the following manner: 1 oz. of freshly gathered stem of Angelica is chopped up and steeped in 2 pints of good brandy for five days, and 1 oz. of skinned bitter almonds reduced to a pulp are added. The liquid is then strained through fine muslin and a pint of liquid sugar added to it. Angelica is used in the preparation of Vermouth and Chartreuse. Although the tender leaflets of the blades of the leaves have sometimes been recommended as a substitute for spinach, they are too bitter for the general taste, but the blanched mid-ribs of the leaf, boiled and used as celery, are delicious, and Icelanders eat both the stem and the roots raw, with butter. The taste of the juicy raw stems is at first sweetish and slightly bitter in the mouth, and then gives a feeling of glowing warmth. In Lapland, the inhabitants regard the stalks of Angelica as a great delicacy. These are gathered before flowering, the leaves being stripped off and the peel removed, the remainder is eaten with much relish. The Finns eat the young stems baked in hot ashes, and an infusion of the dried herb is drunk either hot or cold: the flavor of the decoction is rather bitter, the color is a pale greenish gray, and the odor greatly resembles China Tea. It was formerly a practice in this country to put a portion of the fresh herb into the pot in which fish is boiled. The Norwegians make bread of the roots. Angelica is greatly used in the garden by cutting the hollow stalks into convenient lengths and placing them among shrubs as traps for earwigs. A drink much in use on the Continent for typhus fever is made as follows: Pour a quart of boiling water over 6 oz. of Angelica root sliced thin, infuse for half an hour, strain and add the juice of 2 lemons, 4 oz. of honey, and 1/2 gill of brandy.


Fluid extract, herb: dose, 1 drachm. Fluid extract, root: dose, 1/4 to 1 drachm.


The chief constituents of Angelica are about one percent volatile oil, valeric acid, angelic acid, sugar, a bitter principle, and a peculiar resin called Angelicin, which is stimulating to the lungs and to the skin. Generally it contains limonene, α-phellandrene, pinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, myrcene, fenchone, linalool, α-terpineol, cadinene, borneol, β-caryophyllene, bisabolol, angelica lactone, and other mono and sesquiterpenes. Other constituents include selimone, archangelin, and oxypeucedanin. [23] Glycoside (C 20 H 24 O 10 ), (C 17 H 16 O 9 ), (C 21 H 26 O 10 ) and (C 16 H 18 O 9 ) have been identified as (3'R)-hydroxymarmesin 4'-O-b -D-glucopyranoside, and have been isolated from Angelica archangelica Linn [Figure 1] . [24]
Figure: 1 (3'R)-hydroxymarmesin 4'-O-b -D-glucopyranoside isolated from Angelica archangelica Linn.

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However, the individual parts contain the following:

Leaves: Essential oil, Flavonoids

Essential oil

The most characteristic secondary metabolites of its fruits are essential oils and furanocoumarins. [25] The most abundant furanocoumarins in the tincture of the fruits are imperatorin and xanthotoxin, 0.90 mg/ml and 0.32 mg/ml, respectively. Other detectable furanocoumarins have been identified as isoimperator in (0.29 mg/ml), isopimpinellin (0.17 mg/ml), oxypeucedanin (0.14 mg/ml), and bergapten (0.13 mg/ ml). The dry weight of the tincture is 18.8 mg/ ml, so imperatorin accounts for almost 5% of its dry weight and the total furanocoumarin-content is estimated as 1.96 mg/ml, or 10 - 11% of the dry material of the tincture [2] , Psoralen, xanthotoxin, and bergapten. [26]

Seeds: The oil of the seeds also contains β-terebangelene, together with methylethylacetic acid and hydroxymyristic acid, Archangelicin,[27] Psoralen, xanthotoxin, and bergapten. [26] A total of six coumarins, bergapten (1), xanthotoxin (2), imperatorin (3), isoimperatorin (4), phellopterin (5), and archangelicin (6), have been isolated from an n-hexane extract of the seeds of Angelica archangelica, [Figure 2]. [27]
Figure 2: Six (1-6) coumarins isolated from an n-hexane extract of the seeds of Angelica archangelica

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Chemical composition of seed (fruit) essential oils

The oils were analyzed by GC and GC / MS. β-Phellandrene (33.6 - 63.4%) was the dominant constituent in all seed essential oils. α -Pinene (4.2 - 12.8%) was the second major compound. The third position among the main constituent of the essential oils was taken by germacrene D (3.0%), α-phellandrene (7.4%), and sabinene (3.3%). Monoterpene hydrocarbons (63.5 - 76.6%) made up the largest part in seed oils. Sixty-seven identified compounds made up 83.9 - 93.0% of the essential oils. [28]

Roots: The essential oil of the roots contains terebangelene and other terpenes; the oil of the 'seeds' contains in addition methyl-ethylacetic acid and hydroxymyristic acid. Angelica balsam is obtained by extracting the roots with alcohol, evaporating and extracting the residue with ether. It is of a dark brown color and contains Angelica oil, Angelica wax, and Angelicin. The essential oil of the roots of Angelica archangelica contains β-terebangelene, C10 H 16 , and other terpenes.

A water-soluble root extract of Angelica archangelica subsp. litoralis afforded, in addition to adenosine, coniferin and the two known dihydrofurocoumarin glycosides, apterin and 1′-O-β-D -glycopyranosyl-(S)-marmesin (marmesinin), and two new dihydrofuranocoumarin glycosides, 1′-O-β-D-glucopyranosyl-(2S, 3R)-3-hydroxymarmesin and 2′-β-D-glucopyranosyloxymarmesin. [29] 14-Methylpentadecano-15-lactone (muscolide) is a new macrocyclic lactone from the oil of Angelica archangelica L. [30]


Antiproliferative effect

The tincture from the fruits of Angelica archangelica and the active components were evaluated for an antiproliferative effect, by using the human pancreas cancer cell line, PANC-1, as a model. Significant dose-dependent antiproliferative activity was observed in the tincture with an EC 50 value of 28.6 μg/ml. Strong antiproliferative activity resulted from the two most abundant furanocoumarins in the tincture, imperatorin and xanthotoxin. The contribution of terpenes to this activity was insignificant. Imperatorin and xanthotoxin proved to be highly antiproliferative, with EC 50 values of 2.7 μg/ml and 3.7 μg/ml, equivalent to 10 and 17 μm, respectively. The results indicate that furanocoumarins account for most of the antiproliferative activity of the tincture. [2]

Anti-tumor Activity: The Angelica archangelica leaf extract showed anti-tumor activity. The leaf extract was mildly antiproliferative on the Crl cells with an EC 50 of 87.6 μg/ml. The anti-tumor activity of the extract was expressed in mice by a marked reduction in tumor growth. In the experimental animals, nine out of 11 mice developed none or very small tumors, whereas, the control animals, not receiving the extract, developed significantly larger tumors (P < 0.01), as estimated by the Mann-Whitney U-test. The anti-tumor activity of the leaf extract could not be explained by the antiproliferative activity of furanocoumarins present in the extract.

Conclusion: The results demonstrate the antiproliferative activity in vitro and anti-tumor activity in vivo of a leaf extract from A. archangelica.[31]

Cytotoxic effect

Two chemotypes of essential oils from the fruits of Angelica archangelica L. showed cytotoxic activity. Three samples of essential oils were prepared by steam distillation. Their composition was established with GC / MS. The effects of the oils were examined in PANC-1 human pancreas cancer cells and Crl mouse breast cancer cells in concentrations ranging from 10 - 400 microg/ml, measuring the reduction of the tetrazolium salt 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl) -5- (3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2- (4-sulfophenyl) -2H-tetrazolium (MTS) by mitochondrial enzymes. Two types of essential oils were found, differing mainly in the absence or presence of beta-phellandrene. The ED 50 of the oils ranged from 48.6 microg/ml to 108.3 microg/ml for PANC-1 and 48.0 microg/ml to 91.8 microg/ml for Crl cells. It was observed that the cytotoxic activity of the essential oils was independent of the quantity of their main components. [32]

Hepatoprotective effect

The hepatoprotective effect of Angelica archangelica in chronically ethanol-treated mice: A single dose of ethanol (70%, 0.1 ml, p.o.) was used to induce hepatotoxicity in these mice, which resulted in a significant elevation of the activities of serum GOT and GPT. Treatment of mice with AAA (10, 25, and 50 mg/kg p.o.), after two weeks, ameliorated the ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity effects. Hepatotoxicity was evidenced by a significant increase in hepatic lipid peroxidation, which manifested as the presence of malondialdehyde. It was found that AAA inhibited the malondialdehyde formation in mouse liver homogenates both in vitro and in vivo. AAA was a cytoprotective agent effective against chronic ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity, possibly through the inhibition of the production of oxygen free radicals that caused lipid peroxidation, and hence, indirectly protected the liver from oxidative stress. [33]

Anticonvulsant and acute neurotoxic effects

The anticonvulsant and acute adverse effects of imperatorin, osthole, and valproate were determined at 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after their systemic (i.p.) administration. The evaluation of the time-course and dose-response relationships for imperatorin, osthole, and valproate in the maximal electroshock seizure test revealed that the compounds produced a clear-cut anti-electroshock action in mice and the experimentally derived ED(50) values for imperatorin ranged between 167 and 290 mg/kg, those for osthole ranged from 253 to 639 mg/kg, whereas, the ED(50) values for valproate ranged from 189 to 255 mg/kg. The evaluation of acute neurotoxic effects in the chimney test revealed that the TD(50) values for imperatorin ranged from 329 to 443 mg/kg, the TD(50) values for osthole ranged from 531 to 648 mg/kg, while the TD(50) values for valproate ranged from 363 to 512 mg/kg. The protective index (as a ratio of TD(50) and ED(50) values) for imperatorin ranged from 1.13 to 2.60, for osthole it ranged from 0.83 to 2.44, and for valproate it ranged from 1.72 to 2.00. In conclusion, both natural coumarin derivatives deserved more attention from a preclinical point of view, as compounds possessing some potentially favorable activities, in terms of suppression of seizures, quite similar to those reported for valproate. [34]

Time-course and dose-response relationships of imperatorin in the mouse maximal electroshock seizure threshold model

Imperatorin (a furanocoumarin isolated from the fruits of Angelica archangelica) showed the anticonvulsant effects in the mouse maximal electroshock seizure threshold model. The threshold for electroconvulsions in mice was determined several times: 15, 30, 60, and 120 minutes after i.p. administration of imperatorin at increasing doses of 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 100 mg/ kg. The evaluation of the time-course relationship for imperatorin in the maximal electroshock seizure threshold test revealed that the agent produced its maximum anti-electroshock action 30 minutes after i.p. administration. In this case, imperatorin at doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg significantly raised the threshold for electroconvulsions in mice by 38 and 68% (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001), respectively. The anti-seizure effects produced by imperatorin, 15, 60 and 120 minutes after its systemic (i.p.) administration were less expressed than those observed for imperatorin injected 30 minutes before the maximal electroshock seizure threshold test. Imperatorin produced an anticonvulsant effect in the maximal electroshock seizure threshold test in a dose-dependent manner. [35]

Antifungal and mosquito deterrent activity

Angelica archangelica root oil was evaluated by GC and GC / MS. The main constituents that comprised A. archangelica oil were monoterpene hydrocarbons such as 24.5% alpha-pinene, 13.8% delta-3-carene, 10.1% beta-phellandrene, 8.8% p-cymene, 8.4% limonene, and 6.3% sabinene. Phthalides and monoterpene hydrocarbons were determined to be good systematic markers or chemical fingerprints for A. archangelica root oils. Chemical fingerprinting, by GC / MS, of A. sinensis also confirmed the misidentification of one A. archangelica sample sold in the Chinese market. [36]

Inhibition of acetylcholinesterase

Angelica archangelica showed the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase by its extracts and constituents. Ethanolic extracts of Angelica archangelica seeds proved effective, with IC50 values of 2.20 mg/ml. The activities of imperatorin and xanthotoxin from A. archangelica were measured. Xanthotoxin proved much more potent than imperatorin, with an IC50 value of 155 microg/ml (0.72 mM), but that for imperatorin was above 274 microg/ml (1.01 mM). However, furanocoumarins seemed to have a minor part in the total activity of this extract. [37]

Angelica archangelica: Crude alcohol extracts have displaced nicotine binding to nicotine receptors in a concentration-dependent manner and inhibited AChE activity in vitro. The plant is commonly used in Chinese medicine for cerebral diseases. [22]

Anti-ulcerogenic effect

Angelica archangelica showed anti-ulcerogenic activity against indomethacin-induced gastric ulcers of the rat, as well as in their anti-secretory and cytoprotective activities. It produced a dose-dependent anti-ulcerogenic activity associated with a reduced acid output and an increased mucin secretion, an increase in prostaglandin E2 release, and a decrease in leukotrienes. The effect on the pepsin content was rather variable and did not seem to bear a relationship with the anti-ulcerogenic activity. [38]

Anti-mutagenic properties

The anti-mutagenic activity of Angelica archangelica L. aqueous and alcohol extracts of thio-TEPA, against mutagenicity, was examined by the micronucleus test in murine bone marrow cells. The reduction of Thio-TEPA's mutagenic activity was more profound when the extracts were injected two hours before thio-TEPA treatment, as seen during the simultaneous treatment. The observed reduction of micronuclear frequencies was as high as 77%. [39] Angelica archangelica also showed anti-mutagenic properties by the micronucleus test. [40]

Calcium blocking activity

The calcium antagonistic effect of the extracts was shown by measuring the inhibition of depolarization-induced Ca 2 + uptake in rat pituitary GH4C1 cells. Chloroform was found to be the best solvent for the extraction of nonpolar, biologically active compounds from the roots of A. Archangelica. [41]

DPPH free-radical scavenging activity and total phenolic contents

The DPPH free-radical scavenging activity and total phenolic contents of the root oil (essential oils) of Angelica archangelica Linn. were evaluated and it was found that the DPPH free-radical scavenging activity = 17.33 ΁ 0.004 and Total Phenolic content (μg GAE/5 mg essential oil/mL EtOH) = 11.75 ΁ 0.419.[42]


Phenological attributes of Angelica glauca Edgew. and A. archangelica

Phenological attributes of Angelica glauca Edgew. and A. archangelica expressed at two different climatic zones in Western Himalaya, Uttarakhand, India: A. archangelica Linn. is a high value medicinal and aromatic plant foun in the Himalayas. Plants of both species were cultivated in Tungnath (TN), an alpine zone (3600 m asl) and in Pothivasa (PV), a temperate zone (2200 m asl). The results showed that the commencement and completion periods of the phenophases, namely, growth initiation, vegetative phase, flowering, fruiting, and senescence in both species varied greatly between the climatic zones. However, this variation was negligible between the species. It indicated that there was a need to develop a location-specific strategy for the cultivation and management of the selected species. Furthermore, the information would be highly helpful in determining the appropriate time of cultivation practices, namely, seed sowing to harvesting of these species. Based on the corresponding life cycle of these species, it was also concluded that both the species could be cultivated in similar climatic conditions. Overall, the study would help in understanding the adaptation features and planning strategies for the successful cultivation and effective conservation and management of these species. [43]

Biochemical and electrophoretic variability at population level in two Angelica species from Garhwal Himalaya

Biochemical and isoenzyme patterns, in the rhizomes of Angelica glauca Edgew. and Angelica archangelica Linn. were studied in different populations collected from Garhwal Himalaya. In general, both the species showed much variation in soluble protein, carbohydrate, and total free amino acid content. The isoenzyme pattern for different enzymes also varied greatly among different populations of both the Angelica species. The Angelica glauca populations such as VF, KN, RN, and GH showed dark intensity bands, while in Angelica archangelica, the RN and PK populations showed dark intensity bands in all the enzymes studied. [44]

Effects of auxins on the growth and scopoletin accumulation in cell suspension cultures of Angelica archangelica L

Plant tissue cultures represent a promising alternative source of valuable plant-derived substances. A number of physical and chemical factors influence cell growth and secondary metabolite biosynthesis in plant tissue cultures. The mechanism of their action is not completely understood. Besides other factors, plant growth regulators and light conditions play an important role. Effects of four auxins (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, 2,4-D, alpha-naphthaleneacetic acid, NAA, beta-indoleacetic acid, IAA or beta-indolebutyric acid, IBA) at four concentrations (0.2, 2, 10 or 20 mg/l) on the culture growth and accumulation of scopoletin in the medium, were tested in Angelica archangelica cell suspension cultures, cultured under continuous light or in the dark. The highest culture growth was achieved with 2 mg/l 2,4-D, and 10 mg/l IAA. The best scopoletin levels were obtained with 0.2 mg/l 2, 4-D, 2 mg/l 2,4-D, 10 mg/l NAA, and 20 mg/l IAA. The effects of the light conditions were less marked than those of the auxins, as also their concentrations in influencing both cell growth and scopoletin accumulation in Angelica archangelica cell suspension cultures. [45]

Effect of vanadium compounds on the growth and production of coumarins in the suspension culture of Angelica archangelica L

The production of coumarins was stimulated by sodium vanadate in a concentration of 0.2 and 1 microM, when cultivated in the light. The content of coumarins increased in comparison with the control culture, mainly in the medium, by 46 and by 25%, at vanadate concentrations of 0.2 and 1 microM, respectively. Vanadyl sulfate did not increase the production of coumarins. [46]

Prophylactic effect of Angelica archangelica against acute lead toxicity in albino rabbits

The adverse effects of lead on the blood and retina have been demonstrated after 15 days of oral lead administration. The electroretinogram (ERG) a-and b-wave were significantly reduced below the normal values. These retinal changes did not recover completely 15 days after stopping the lead intake, as the b-wave amplitude was still significantly low. The ERG alterations were correlated with the retinal histological changes. Administration of Angelica archangelica in combination with lead exerted an obvious prophylactic as well as therapeutical effect. The prophylactic effect of Angelica was more pronounced as the ERG parameters were reversed, close to the normal values and the retinal cytoarchitecture was very much ameliorated. Oral administration of lead caused an elevation of blood, bone, liver, and kidney lead levels, as compared to the control group. The biophysical parameters of blood (magnetic susceptibility, electrical conductivity, viscosity, and super oxide dismutase activity) were estimated. The results showed that the administration of lead induced significant alterations in these parameters. Upon administration of Angelica archangelica in combination with lead such alterations were recovered to levels close to those of the controls. The ability of Angelica to reduce lead toxicity might be related to its antioxidant and chelation action. [47]


It is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women.

   Discussion and Conclusion Top

In the present review we have made an attempt to explore and provide the maximum information on the botanical, pharmacognostical, with history and cultivation, ethnopharmacological, traditional formulation and recipes, phytochemical, nutritional, pharmacological, and toxicological information on Angelica archangelica Linn., a medicinal herb used in the Indian system of medicine, mainly Ayurveda. [48] Survey of literature revealed the presence of essential oil, coumarins, acids, sugar, a bitter principle, and a peculiar resin called Angelicin, triterpens, and flavonoids in different parts of this plant. Research on coumarins has gained special attention in recent times, as several of them have shown promising activities like anti-tumor, antifungal, neurotoxic, anticonvulsants, hepatoprotective, antiulcerogenic, and so on. The anti-tumor activity of Angelica archangelica is definite, but most of the compounds are too toxic to be clinically used. Investigating the new sources of natural products to isolate more potent and less toxic compounds and structurally modifying the known compounds to retain activity and lower toxicity are still the best possible ways to develop safe and effective anti-cancer drugs from this Angel. The ethnopharmacological approach is used in the search for new coumarin compounds from plants. This review will definitely help researchers as well as practitioners, dealing with this plant, to know its proper usage in nature. Finally it is not wrong to state that this plant is really an Angel, due to its wide scope in the treatment of serious and chronic diseases.

   Acknowledgments Top

Dinesh Kumar, ZA Bhat, and MY Shah would like to thank the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir, India, and UGC - Delhi for their interest and help with this manuscript.

   References Top

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  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]

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Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 2011; 59(17): 9186
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


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