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Angelica is a prevalent wild shrub that grows all over the North American continent.
It has been used for centuries by the native Americans and early pioneers.
Although there are some poisonous lookalikes, it is fairly easy to rule them out.
Angelica makes for a great survival food as its mildly sweet stalks and roots taste like celery but even better and is full of starches and antioxidants.
The plant also has many medicinal properties.
How to identify angelica plant
Angelica has a purplish colored stalk that is stout and hollow.
The leaves are oblong and are coarsely toothed; there are three leaves at the end of each stalk.
The blossoms of the plant are greenish white and globe shaped.
The entire plant has a lovely aroma of store bought celery.
Angelica is stout and can grow to 8 feet tall. It can have rough oily veins.
Poison Hemlock also has a purplish stalk and a whitish root. However, it’s fruits are oval with pale brown ribs.
The leaves of the Poison Hemlock are much smaller and toothier than Angelica leaves.
The easiest way to distinguish Poison Hemlock from Angelica is the smell of the root. Poison Hemlock has a slightly rotten smell to its root whereas Angelica has a wonderful celery smell to its roots and the entire plant.
Water Hemlock is another poisonous lookalike, Water Hemlock looks similar to Angelica and grows in the same areas.
The way to tell these apart are that Water Hemlock leaves are highly divided and featherlike. The root is whitish yellow and has no hairs. And again, Water Hemlock does not smell of celery at all.
If you are in doubt by any reasoning, leave the plant alone.
You can be assured that if the plant carries a beautiful aroma of fresh celery, even better than what you would smell in the store, you can reason that it is Angelica.
Where to forage for angelica
Angelica loves to grow by the ocean, streams and creeks. It can be found all over in North America.
This plant enjoys soil that is placed by water such as marshes, swamps, drainage areas, ditches, and moist mountain meadows.
Benefits and uses of angelica
The oil harvested from Angelica is a powerful remedy for treating colic and digestive gas.
This herb was used as one of the oldest poultices known for pain in North America.
Crushed roots can be spread over sores and wounds.
Mash the roots of the plant and mix with pounded leaves of northern sagebrush. Heat the pulp and apply it to the opposite side of the body experiencing pain. This poultice can also be used to treat mild swelling.
The root poultice can also be used to alleviate arthritis, chest discomfort, and treat pneumonia.
Tea from the roots of Angelica plant was sipped on by native Americans three times a day to gain strength after being ill.
This root tea was also used for clearing kidney issues, including trouble with urinating.
The tea could also be used for stomach problems such as ulcers and sour stomach.
Tea of Angelica can also be used to gargle with as a mouthwash to freshen breath.
I hope you have enjoyed this addition to my survival apothecary series!
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You may also be interested in my Amaranth Plant article.
Have a great day!