Angelicae Radix. Angelica Root.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Angelica fruit

Angelica root is obtained from Archangelica officinalis, Hoffm. (N.O. Umbelliferae), a biennial plant indigenous to Northern Europe and Asia, but cultivated for medicinal use in Thuringia and elsewhere. The drug consists of a short rhizome about 6 centimetres thick, to which the remains of leaves are attached, and from which numerous greyish-brown roots from 20 to 30 centimetres long and from 0.5 to 1.0 centimetre thick proceed, the latter being often plaited or twisted together. The root breaks with a short fracture and exhibits in transverse section a broad cortex, in which numerous radially arranged yellowish-brown oleoresin ducts are to be seen. The wood is radiate, the wood rays being finely porous and narrower than the white medullary rays. The drug possesses a strong aromatic odour and taste. The root of wild angelica, Angelica sylvestris, Linn., a common British plant, is less branched and much less aromatic than that of Archangelica officinalis.

Constituents.—The chief constituents of angelica root are volatile oil (0.3 to 1.0 per cent.), resin (6.0 per cent.), angelic acid and a phytosterol (angelicol). The volatile oil has a specific gravity, 0.857 to 0.918; it contains phellandrene and other terpenes, together with a sesquiterpene and esters of methyl -ethyl -acetic (valeric) and oxypentadecylic acids; the chief odorous constituent is in the portion of higher boiling-point.

Action and Uses.—Angelica root is used as a stimulating expectorant, being administered either in the form of powder, or as infusion (1 in 20).

Dose.—6 to 20 decigrams (10 to 30 grains).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.