Lovage, Scotch

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Lovage, Scotch

otanical: Ligusticum Scoticum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae Synonym: Sea Lovage.
Part Used: Root.

The Scotch Lovage grows on cliffs and rocky shores in Scotland and Northumberland. It has a stout, branched rootstock, which is aromatic and pungent; a sparingly branched, erect, grooved stem, 1 to 3 feet high, and much cut-into dark green, shiny leaves, with three-lobed leaflets. The umbels of flowers, in bloom in July, are white or pink.

The leaves have been used in the Hebrides as a green vegetable, either boiled as greens, or eaten raw as salad, under the name of Shunis. The taste is strong and not very pleasant.

An infusion of the leaves in whey is used in Scotland as a purgative for calves, much valued, Green states in the Universal Herbal in the Isle of Skye.

The root possesses aromatic and carminative properties; it has been applied in hysterical and uterine disorders.

When treated like celery, Sea Lovage proves quite inferior, though Angelica and Lovage have been thus used with a certain measure of success, even to the more fastidious modern palate.

This is one of the many cultivated plants that, escaping from gardens, have become apparently wild. It is now found rather abundantly in some parts of the sea-coast, on waste places near the mouth of rivers, especially in Scotland, and inland is occasionally seen in the neighbourhood of towns, or about the ruins of monasteries and other places where it was grown in olden times as a potherb and salad. It was formerly cultivated in the same manner as celery, which has now supplanted it, and boiled, was eaten by sailors returning from long voyages and suffering from scurvy. The young shoots and leafstalks eaten raw, have a rather agreeable taste, not very unlike that of celery, but more pungent. They were likewise used to flavour soups and stews, and some years ago were still so employed by the country people in parts where the plant abounds.

The seeds are sweetly aromatic and were formerly used as a carminative and stimulant medicine, and are still valued by herbalists for pleasantly flavouring confections of Senna and disguising the taste of other medicinal preparations.