- Family Umbelliferae
- Levisticum officinale syn. Ligusticum levisticum
- Lavose, Sea Parsley, Love parsley
- Do not take during pregnancy.
- Do not use if there is kidney disease present.
Indigenous to the Mediterranean region, lovage is a perennial related to parsley and celery. It is now found in southern Europe and southwestern Asia, growing to six feet in height and thriving in the wild on sunny slopes of mountains, particulary in the Balkans and northern Greece. It is also cultivated in many areas. Lovage has glossy toothed, compound leaves, greenish-yellow flowers, and tiny oval seeds. Its leaves resemble celery, and the greens have a celery-like flavour. The leaves are gathered in spring or early summer, the seeds in late summer, and the root in autumn.
The Irish herbalist, K’Eogh, described the herb in 1735, stating that it was good for the digestion and “provokes urination and menstruation, clears the sight, and removes spots, freckles and redness from the face”.
The leaves and seeds have long been used to flavour many types of dishes, while the dried root is still used as a condiment.
- digestive and respriatory tonic
- promotes menstruation
- volatile oil (about 70% phthalides)
- coumarins (including bergapten, psoralen, and umbelliferone)
- plant acids
- Root, seeds, leaves
- The phthalides are a sedative and anticoagulant.
It is a warming tonic herb for the digestive and respiratory systems. It treats poor appetite and colic, breaks up and expels gas, and soothes bronchitis.
Being a significant diuretic and antimicrobial, it is commonly taken for urinary tract infections.
It is taken to encourage menstruation and to relieve its pain.
It improves poor circulation.
Related species include: Scotch lovage (L. scotium), used chiefly regarded as food; the Chinese lovage called Chuan Xiong (L. chuanxiong), used mainly to bring on menstruation and to treat pain; and another Chinese variety also used for pain, Gao ben (L. sinense).