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)