The species Angelica archangelica is originated in Europe and Siberia, where it is used for various medicinal and folkloric uses. Since antiquity, it was considered to strengthen the heart, stimulate circulation and the immune system and was used in centuries for treating various bronchial conditions such as colds and coughs as well as indigestion and promoting the appetite, relieves rheumatic inflammation and can be used as a urinary antiseptic (Julia Lawless, Encyclopedia of Essential Oils). Candies made of angelica stalks are also popular in France and Spain (in the US they may be found bearing the name “French Rhubarb”). If you are curious about how to make them, there are a few links to recipes below. I even found an illustrated recipe for Angelica Pie!
Candied Angelica Stems Recipe 1
Candied Angelica Stems Recipe 2
Candied Angelica Stems Recipe 3
One of the earliest Aqua Mirabillis recipes, called Carmelite Water (it was originally formulated by the nuns in the Carmelite abbey in France circa 1611). Recipes for Carmelite Water vary, but they all containt angelica and lemon balm leaves and lemon peel and orange flower water, and in addition to that various spices, usually coriander, pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon. It was taken internally as a liquor and also applied on the skin for its refreshing fragrance.
Angelica as I first knew it was peppery green and very intense. Somehwere between over eccentric parsley, horseradish and raw green pepper.This was a steam distillation from the roots, and was grown in France. I’ve used it three times only, which is as I said, very unusual for any note in my collection to be so rarely used.
1) In one of my earliest formulas for Sagittarius perfume (according to certain magical traditions, Angelica is considered a Jupiterian and fiery plant)
2) In an attempt to make a more “perfumey” Carmelite Water, using essential oils rather than tinture the above-mentioned herbs and spices
3) In one accord, in a brave moment where I wanted to just use Angelica and not be scared of it. I blended it with a few notes including cloves, oakmoss, patchouli, vetiver, champaca, rose and clary sage. It turned out smelling like fedjoia – that peculiar tropical fruit that resembles a green passion fruit from the outside and an under ripe guava from the inside. I was left amused and just left it at that.
Few years later, I received a sample of Angelica Root Oil from the same species, only grown in India and distilled from the roots. Needless to say, this is a completely different story: while still being very green, it has far less of the harshness and tenacity that the seed oil I mentioned earlier possesses. It is by no means a “soft” note. It is still sharp. But it’s definitely not the same angelica I met before. This Angelica archangelica root oil is musky, animalic, earthy. It even resembles costus root ever so slightly. I have a feeling that I won’t only be running out of the sample fast enough to justify ordering it any time soon. it has a very appealing, mysterious yet familiar almost paper-like quality that reminds me of a Chinese apothecary, in a good way; I may even use it in a perfume mod or two in the near future.
Angelica seed oil is also produced, but is much harder to come across. It is lighter, fresher and spicier, not as earthy and musky as the root oils are.