Among the numerous representatives of this family, there are, it turns out, also those that were used by witches and fortune-tellers as a charm potion. Isn’t that where the name of the plant comes from?
Medicinal lovage is a herbaceous perennial with well-developed roots, its height is 120-200 cm. The stem is tubular, bare, branched at the top. The leaves are shiny, pinnately or twice pinnately dissected, with large lobes having a wedge-shaped base, they are incised and toothed at the top. The flowers are bisexual, small, regular, five-petalled, light yellow, collected in complex umbrellas, which are surrounded by multi-leaf sheaths at the base. The leaves of the wrapper are oval-lanceolate. Blooms in June-July. The fruit is a yellow-brown dicot that ripens in August.
The origin of the plant is a matter of debate. Most researchers believe that lovage comes from Persia (Iran), although there is another point of view: the plant originates from Southern Europe. Wild representatives of the genus have not yet been found, but lovage is widely cultivated in gardens and allotments as a decorative, spicy and medicinal plant, especially in European countries. In Russia, lovage is widespread throughout the European part, it can be grown up to the latitude of Petrozavodsk.
For medicinal purposes, the roots of the plant are usually used, less often – its above-ground part and fruits. Roots are dug up in the fall, and only in 3-4-year-old plants. Dry in the shade outdoors or in a warm room. They are finally dried in dryers at a temperature of 40 °C. Store the finished raw material in tightly closed jars, in a dry place, as it is hygroscopic. The aerial part is collected during the flowering of the plant, and the fruits – during their full maturity. All parts of lovage are used only in folk medicine. In some foreign countries (Finland, Germany, Holland, Switzerland), lovage roots are included in the Pharmacopoeia — they are used as a component of diuretic teas and preparations.
All parts of the plant contain complex essential oil (up to 1% in the roots, up to 0.1% in the aerial part, up to 1.4% in the seeds). The roots also contain resins, gum, furocoumarins, malic and angelic acids, starch, tannins and mineral salts. The leaves contain a large amount of ascorbic acid (up to 118 mg%).
Folk healers have long used the diuretic effect of lovage products, prescribed them as an effective expectorant, as well as a sedative and pain reliever. Later, it was found out that infusions and decoctions of the roots tone the work of the heart muscle and stimulate the peristalsis of the intestines, reduce the formation of gases in the intestines and contribute to the blood supply of the pelvic organs. The diuretic effect of plant products is often used for edema of cardiac origin, dropsy, chronic inflammatory processes in the kidneys, and diatheses caused by salt metabolism disorders. Infusions of the roots of the plant help with painful and scanty menstruation, as well as as a reliever during childbirth.
All lovage products are contraindicated in acute glomerulonephritis and pyelonephritis, as well as pregnancy.
An infusion of the roots of the plant is successfully used to remove age spots and freckles: the skin is wiped with a cotton swab dipped in the infusion, twice a day for 2-3 weeks. It is better to carry out this procedure in winter, before the arrival of sunny spring days. Infusions are also used to treat infected cracks in the corners of the mouth, pustular rashes on the skin (compresses and drinking a warm infusion of 1 glass per day).
The infusion is also used to wash the head with dandruff and hair loss (wash the head twice a week without soap). Fresh crushed lovage leaves are applied to the forehead in case of headache.
A glass of tincture of one root of lovage and two leaves of noble laurel in vodka after half an hour causes vomiting and resistance immediately to vodka in alcoholics.
A decoction of the fruits of the plant (1 teaspoon per 150 ml of boiling water, boil for 8-10 minutes) is an effective remedy against worms. Take 1 tablespoon three times a day.
Lupine has long been known as a spicy plant. Fresh and dried leaves, stems and crushed roots are used to flavor tea mixtures, drinks, marinades, pickles, in the preparation of jam, candied fruit, and some liqueurs. The taste and smell of the plant are very intense, so lovage is added as a spice to dishes in small quantities. A few fresh leaves are put in green salads, flavored with butter, added to lamb and beef cutlets.
Bay leaf is one of the ingredients of spicy sauces; powdered leaves and a small amount of fresh herbs are a good addition to roast meats, gravies, soups, rice dishes, cereals, poultry and fish. A pinch of dried lovage, placed in meat broth, emphasizes and enhances the taste of meat.
The essential oil of the plant is used in the perfumery industry.
Infusion of roots. 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials per 400 ml of boiling water. Insist for 1 hour, filter. Take 1/2 cup 4 times a day before meals.
Root powder . 1/2 teaspoon 3 times a day before meals. As an expectorant.
Root powder. 1-2 tablespoons are mixed with 3 tablespoons of honey and taken on an empty stomach as a remedy for colic.
Root infusion (external). 1 teaspoon of crushed raw materials per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist until cooling, filter. For compresses and lotions.
Infusion of roots. 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials per 1 liter of boiling water. Insist for 15 minutes, filter. For washing the head.