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Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



LOVAGE
(Levisticum officinale)
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Also see: Black Lovage

PROPAGATION: Ripe, fresh seed sown in late summer to early fall. Press into soil. Also by division in spring. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun to part shade and moist, fertile, but well- draining soil.
HARVEST: Leaves, stems and seeds as desired. Stores well in freezer. Dry in a shady spot as light will yellow the plant material. Roots are dug in fall; wash, slice into 1/2 " pieces and dry.
FLOWERS: Greenish-yellow umbrels in late June to early July.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Diuretic.
Has been taken for flatulence.
Has also been used as an anti-depressant (taken as a tea: 1 tsp of fresh or dry root steeped in 1 C. water for 10 minutes.)

CULINARY:
Leaves, seeds and stems used where the taste of celery is desired.
Good in potato salad, with tomatoes, chicken and rice dishes.
Use stems as straws for Bloody Mary's.
A good salt substitute.
The oil is an ingredient in artificial maple essence and also in extracts of coffee, vanilla, malt and licorice.
LOVAGE UMBRELLA = Cut a section of stalk a few inches taller than glass you wish to use. Cut thin slits 1¼ inch long all around the top; dip in ice water. Top will curl to form an "umbrella". Makes a lovely garnish.

COSMETICL:
One of the better bath herbs being stimulating and fragrant. For the bath, either crushed dry leaves or grated fresh root in a bag is used OR a strong infusion is made and added to water. It is fresh and deodorizing on a hot day. A decoction can be used as a deodorizing wash.
For the bath pour 1 quart of boiling water over 1 C. lovage leaves, 1/2 C. lovage root, 1/2 C. mint and 1 Tbsp eucalyptus leaves; steep, strain and add to bath water.

CRAFT:
The flowers on the stalks are dried for arrangements and wreaths. Dig the root in fall and dry for inclusion in potpourri and sachets.



LOVAGE, BLACK
(Smyrnium olusatrum)
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PROPAGATION: Give fresh seed cold treatment for one week and then press into soil. Or sow in fall.
NEEDS: Part shade and moisture-retentive, but well-draining soil.
HARVEST: Stems, leaves, seeds and root (2nd year).

Black lovage has a strong coarse celery aroma and flavor. See Lovage above for uses.




©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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