Sunday, 16 March 2008


Lovage(Levisticum officinale) was much used as a drug in the 14th century and medieval texts associate it with love potions and aphrodisiacs, referring to it as ‘love parsley’. Old writers recommend an infusion of the root for urinary troubles and Culpepper has a number of uses, including bruising the herb and frying it in hog’s lard before applying it to break a boil.

The leaves can be eaten in salads, soups and stews and the dried leaves taken as tea. It is used internally for indigestion, flatulence, poor appetite, cystitis, period pain and slow labour and externally for a sore throat.

A bitter-sweet, sedative herb which benefits digestion, relaxes spasms, increases perspiration and has diuretic and expectorant properties.

Pick leaves before flowering and dry for infusions.
Roots are lifted in the third year for use in decoctions and tinctures.

PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.

'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)
'The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal' Penelope Ody MNIMH (1993)
'RHS Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses' Deni Brown (2002)


Alchemille said...

A medieval herb from which I heard/read only good things about but never tried it or grew it so far (though I'd love to have a medieval garden).
I think I'll stay away from the hog's lard though ;).

Hedgewitch said...

I thought people would like the hog's lard bit!!

I haven't used this herb medicinally, but it has such a fantastic flavour that I grow it purely to make soup in the spring each year... my plant never gets very big, and I want as much soup as I can get, so never have any lovage to spare for anything else :-)

Cheryl said...

I have never grown lovage, but shall now seriously consider it.

Hedgewitch said...

oh do, cheryl!

I think if I remember right (will check) it likes some sunshine .. have a feeling mine is a little too shaded where I've got it.