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Levisticum officinale (L) Koch                       Lovage


Levisticum : smooth.
officinale : kept at druggists, used medicinally:

Lovage used as a love philtre.

PREVIOUS NAMES : Ligusticium levisticium (L).

OTHER NAMES : sea parsley, old English lovage, Italian lovage Cornish lovage. Sirenas, (Shet).
Liveche, (France). Levistica, (Italy) . Aplo de montana, (Spain). Liebstokel, baderkraut, (Germany).
Lavas, (Dutch). Lovstikke, (Danish). Lova, (Greek). Lyubistik, (Russia).

Nature Gate Picture Link to Levisticum officinale


TYPE : large, robust, glabrous, clump forming.
AROMA : strong, celery when crushed.
ROOTS : thick fleshy root, 5-6 inches. Grey brown, white within.
TASTE : warm, aromatic. STEMS : stout, furrowed, lower hollow, striate. Branches. alternate.
Upper opposite or whorled. Has a yellowish gummy resin juice.
HEIGHT : 200cm
UMBELS : compound, rays 12-20 stout, subequal, papillose-puberulent on adaxial surface.
Peduncles > than rays. Those of upper laterals opposite or whorls of 3-4. Hermaphrodite.
LEAVES : hairless, dark green, radical, 2-3 pinnate, roughly triangular in outline, lobes 11cm,
rhombic, the cuneate basal half coarsely entire, upper half coarsely incise-serrate, or lobed,
teeth have cartilaginous apex. Petiole hollow, inflated near base.
BRACTS : numerous, linear-lanceolate, long-acute, deflexed, with a scarious margin.
Bracteoles similar, entirely scarious, connate at base.
FLOWERS : yellowish green. Sepals small, Styles forming stylodium. Fl. 6-8.
FRUIT : 5-7mm, broadly elliptical, dorsally compr­essed, smooth, 2 parted. Commisure broad.
Mericarps: prominent dorsal ridges & winged lateral ridges, wings narrower than mericarp.
Carpophore present. Vittae solitary. Pedicels > than fruit. Styles recurved. Stigma truncate.
Yellow or brown when ripe. 2n=22.

HABITAT : arable land, waste places.

DISTRIBUTION : intro. Cultivated. Naturalised. Everywhere except in far north.
Mountain districts of S. France, N. Greece & Balklands. Native to Iran.
BSBI Distribution Map for Levisticum officinale (UK)


ACTIVE INGREDIENTS : volatile & essential oil, isovaleric arid angelic acid, coumarin
derivatives, bitter extractive, resins, starch. Colouring principle, ligulin, isolated by M. Niklis.

EFFECT : diuretic, expectorant, relieves flatulence stimulates menstrual flow,
stomach function, sedative, relaxes spasms, increases perspiration

PARTS : rhizome dried.

APPLICATION : cystitis, lack of appetite, flatulence, dropsy, indegestion, kidney stones,
pain of menstruation, slow labour : decoction of 1-2 tblspn shredded dry rhizome per cup,
stand 2 min Externally for sore throat, aphthous ulcers.


l4thC : infusion for gravel, jaundice, urinary trouble.
Cordials from roots & seeds for pestilential disorders.

Culpepper : “Seed infusion, in eyes taketh away redness & dimness. Decoction for agués,
3-4 x day as effectual in pleurisy. Gargle distilled water for quinsy. Leaves bruised
& fried with  hogs lard for boils.”

Stimulant, diuretic, stomatich. Fever, colic flatulence, roots & fruit. Powdered root in wine
for digestive system. Highlanders ate it in the morning to protect them from infection.
Emmenagouge infusion of dry herb. Bronchitis : inhale steam of infused rhizome.


Young stalks & leaves flavours food, soups, broths, casseroles, salads, rubbed in meat, fish,
game, poultry, herbal tea. Stems candied. Stalks bleached like celery. Used in herbal liquors.
Seeds & roots powdered as pepper substitute. Seeds in bread, cheese biscuits.

Introduction to Britain via Benedectine Monks. Cordial of Lovage, Yarrow & Tansy sold in taverns
throughout Britain at one time. Replaced by Tansy and Milfoil in cultivation.


Grown for ornamental foliage, aroma. Rich, moist well drained
soil in sun. Seeds autumn. Division spring.


Oil in food flavouring & in perfumes. Ligulin used to test drinking water.
Drop in distilled water, turns it red. In limestone water it turns blue.


Used as a love philtre for matters affecting the heart.

EXTERNAL LINKS FOR Levisticum officinale

These links to trusted websites and institutions may provide in depth or additional information regards cultivation, chemistry, edibility, images etc. for the species. Links last updated Aug 2012.

Wikipedia (EU)    Plants For a Future (UK)
Bio Info (UK)     National Center for Biotechnology Info (USA)
Naturegate (FIN)
Center for New Crops & Plant Products (USA)
Farming & Agri Org of UN (USA)
Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages (AUSTRIA)
A Modern Herbal. M. Grieve (UK)
'Online Guide To Umbelliferae Of The British Isles' Compiled By J.M.Burton 2002