Lovage, also known as Love Parsley, is a large celery-scented
perennial with fleshy roots and hollow stems. The leaves are large,
aromatic, toothed, deeply divided and glossy dark green on long
stems – the leaves near the top are smaller and stalkless. Umbels of
tiny greenish-yellow flowers appear in summer followed by rigid
golden-brown seed pods. Lovage needs well-drained soil and can grow
in full sun, shade and partial shade. Cut back once or twice during
summer for a continuous supply of young leaves. Lovage dies back in
winter and takes 3-5 years to mature fully. Lovage is a large plant
– so take care where you position it in your garden.
Lovage is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia where it grows
on sunny mountain slopes. As Lovage leaves have deodorizing and
antiseptic properties, travelers in early days put the leaves in
their shoes to revive their weary feet and at inns it was served as
a cordial combined with tansy and yarrow.
Harvest and parts used:
Pick young Lovage leaves, avoiding the central flower stem and the
hollow main stems before flowering. Use fresh or dry or freeze for
later use. The roots of 2- or 3-year-old plants are dug in autumn,
sliced and dried. The dried root retain their aroma and are used
medicinally. Harvest seeds when ripe.
Lovage is a culinary delight which add a strong meaty
flavour to dishes - so use it cautiously at first.
Chop the stems and leafstalks into soups and casseroles or use it as
a vegetable and steam and serve it with a white sauce. Add the young
leaf to salad or rub it on chicken before baking. Add the fresh or
dried leaves to stock, stews and cheese – the dried leaves contain a
strong flavour of yeast and celery and are excellent infused as
broth or for seasoning. Brew a tea for its savoury taste. The dried
leaf and seed can be grounded and used as a celery salt – use it
sparingly. In Europe Lovage is called 'Maggi Herb'.
Lovage seeds also has a warm celery flavour and can be crushed and
added to bread and pastries or sprinkled on salads, rice or mashed
Lovage is a bitter-sweet herb with a pungent aroma that
will benefit indigestion, colic, flatulence and poor appetite.
Lovage will aid the respiratory system, act as an expectorant and
treat bronchitis and increase perspiration. It is a diuretic and
antimicrobial and either the seed, leaf or root can be infused to
reduce water retention and kidney stones. Lovage will aid rheumatism
and assist in the removal of waste products and for any urinary
tract complaints. Lovage encourages menstruation, relieves menstrual
pain and its warming nature also improves poor circulation.
Lovage root is an ingredient of urological and cardiotonic medicine.
Caution: Lovage must not be taken
medicinally during pregnancy or if you suffer from kidney disease.
I would like to recommend the following method of the herbal tea
infusion as written by Margie Frayne in her book Help yourself to
Health – A guide for home health using healing herbs and good
3 teaspoon fresh herb or 1 teaspoon dried herb to 1 cup
Place the herb in a container with a lid. Pour the boiling (just of
the boil) water over the herb. Cover and stand for 5-15 minutes.
Strain. Add sugar or honey if necessary.
Make enough for one day only. Do not stand overnight to use the
next day. This method of making an infusion can be used to make a
tea from the aerial parts of a herb (leaf; flower; stem) or a
mixture of these, but not when using the roots of a herb.
When used as a diuretic, take 2-3 times a day, or as a stomachic –
30 minutes before a meal.