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Author: Daibhaid A. O'Broder-Hicks

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Monograph #8

Herbal Selection: Lovage

Author: Daibhaid A. O'Broder-Hicks

Common Names:

Aetheroleum levistici, Angelica levisticum, Hipposelinum leviticum, Maggi plant, Sea Parsley, Smellage

Common trade names:

None Known.

Common forms:

None Known.


The components active are obtained from the root and seed of the Levisticum officinale and L. radix. These plants can be found in the lands of Southern Europe and have been naturalized to be cultivated within the United States.

Chemical components:

The herb Lovage, within the root, contains an essential oil that is primarily composed of phthalide lactones, giving it a characteristic aromatic, spicy odour. Other compounds in the root and plant include coumarins, terpenoids, and volatile acids.

Pronounced: (Luv-ahge)


When given parenterally in animals, lovage oils cause a weak diuresis, presumable due to mild irritation of renal tubules. It exerts spamolytic and sedative effects in rodents and has been reported to stimulate salivation and gastric secretion.

Reported Usages:

Lovage has been primarily used by herbalists as a diuretic in patients with apparent pedal edema. It is approved in Germany for treatment, irrigation therapy, in the urinary tract inflammation for the prevention for renal stones. The herb is claimed to be used for gastric discomfort, a.k.a. flatulence, as a sedative and spasmolytic. It is also used to dissolve phlegm in the respiratory tract, and to induce menstruation.1


Tea: 1 cup of boiling water over 1.5~3 grams of finely cut root and drain after 15 minutes. The daily permitted dosage is 4~8 grams.

Adverse reactions:

Photodermatosis (due to furocoumarin compounds in the leaves).2


Avoid concomitant usage as it may potientate effects caused by the Anticoagulants present.

Contraindications and precautions:

Avoid use in patients that are breast feeding or are pregnant. With patients with a history of plant allergies use with caution.

Special Considerations:

  • Monitor serum electrolytes, BUN, and creatinine values periodically during therapy.

  • The patient should be informed that taking lovage for its diuretic effect that pedal edema may indicate potential heart failure or other potentially dangerous conditions. Advise the patient to undergo a full medical exam to rule out the need for aggressive medical treatment.

  • Advise the patient that other forms of proven diuretics with less severe possibilities are available. Recommend such herbs as Catnip and Sarasparailla.

Points of Interest:

The essential oil is used as a fragrance in various cosmetics, lotions and other such toiletries.


There is some evidences of therapeutic use of lovage in animals, human clinical trials for efficacy and safety data are severely lacking. Therefore this herb can only be recommended with extreme observation, otherwise do not use until such reports are available.

Internet Resources:

  • Lovage is a perennial plant of the carrot family, grown somewhat for the aromatic seeds used in confectionary, and for the young stem, which are preserved in sugar like angelica. The leaves are dark green, shiny, and much compounded like carrot. The plant is tall growing. While long used in Europe, lovage now is of minor importance as condiment.

  • Lovage Soup.



  • Gijbels, M.J.M., et al. "Phthalides in the Essential Oil from Roots of Levisticum officinale," Planta Med 44:207-11,1982.

  • Fetrow, Charles W. PharmD & Juan, Avila R. PharmD, Complimentary and Alternative Medicines, 232, ISBN 780874349719.


1 Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines; Fetrow, Charles W. & Avila, Juan R. PharmD's, ISBN 0874349710.

2 ibid

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