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ANGELICA for KNF part 1

flower umbel for angelica
Angelica flower umbel

ANGELICA is a biennial or perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Apiaceae family (umbels such as carrots, parsley, dill, etc.). They are renowned for their culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses. Many species of angelica are native to temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America.



Angelica is one of Master Cho’s Mother Herbs, one of the primary plants used in Korean Natural Farming (KNF). It is the main ingredient in Oriental Herbal Nutrient (OHN), Master Cho’s specific recipe for the tonic used in basically all formulations in KNF. It is so important it is used in double amounts compared with the other ingredients in OHN.



The Apiaceae family, formerly the Umbelliferae family, is a large and diverse family of flowering plants commonly referred to as the celery, carrot, or parsley family. It is one of the most economically significant plant families, containing many species of culinary herbs, vegetables, and medicinal plants.


Characteristics of this family include:


1.         Umbel Inflorescence: One of the defining characteristics of plants in this family is their inflorescence, which consists of small flowers arranged in umbels, which are umbrella-like clusters of flowers.

2.         Hollow Stems: Many plants in the Apiaceae family have hollow stems, which may contain a milky sap.

3.         Alternate Leaves: The leaves are usually alternate and often highly divided or compound, with leaflets arranged in a pinnate or palmate pattern.

4.         Aromatic Foliage: Several species within the Apiaceae family have aromatic foliage, which is often rich in essential oils. Many plants in this family are prized for their culinary and medicinal uses.

5.         Bisexual Flowers: Flowers are typically bisexual, meaning they have both male and female reproductive organs. They are often small and have five petals, with a characteristic arrangement in umbels.

6.         Fruit Types: The fruits are diverse and can include schizocarps, which split into two or more parts at maturity, forming individual seeds called mericarps. These fruits are often referred to as "seeds" in culinary terms.


Common plants in the Apiaceae family include carrots (Daucus carota), celery (Apium graveolens), parsley (Petroselinum crispum), dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), and Angelica for Korean Natural Farming (Angelica gigas).




There are several species within the Angelica genus, each with its unique characteristics and uses. Some notable species include:


1.         Angelica sylvestris: Also known as wild angelica or woodland angelica, this species is native to Europe and Asia. It is similar to Angelica archangelica but tends to be smaller in stature. It is often found in woodland habitats and has culinary and medicinal uses similar to Angelica archangelica.

2.         Angelica gigas: Native to Korea and China, Angelica gigas, known as Korean angelica or giant angelica, is prized for its medicinal properties. It is used in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine to treat various ailments, such as gynecological disorders, rheumatism, and immune system regulation. Master Cho uses this species in Korean Natural Farming.

3.         Angelica sinensis: Also known as Dong Quai or Chinese angelica, Angelica sinensis is a herbaceous perennial native to China. It has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic for women's health, particularly for menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms.

4.         Angelica pubescens: Native to China, Japan, and Korea, Angelica pubescens, or hairy angelica, is another species used in traditional East Asian medicine. Its roots are believed to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic properties and are used to treat conditions such as arthritis, fever, and pain.

5.         Angelica atropurpurea: Commonly known as purple stem angelica or great angelica, this species is native to North America. It grows in moist habitats such as marshes, swamps, and stream banks. Like other angelica species, it has culinary and medicinal uses and was historically used by indigenous peoples in North America for various medicinal purposes.

6.         Angelica archangelica, commonly known as garden angelica or wild celery, is perhaps the most well-known species within the Angelica genus. This is the most common species that you will come across in seed catalogs and nurseries.



Compare the common species Angelica archangelica, Angelica gigas, Angelica sinensis, and Angelica atropurpurea:


1.         Geographic Distribution

•          Angelica archangelica Native to temperate regions of Europe and Asia.

•          Angelica gigas Native to Korea and China.

•          Angelica sinensis Native to China.

•          Angelica atropurpurea Native to North America.


2.         Botanical Characteristics

•          Angelica archangelica Biennial or perennial herbaceous plant with hollow stems, compound leaves, and greenish-white flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters.

•          Angelica gigas Herbaceous perennial with stout, purplish stems, large bipinnate leaves, and deep red-purple umbels of flowers.

•          Angelica sinensis Herbaceous perennial with tall, hollow stems, finely divided leaves, and white or greenish-white flowers in umbrella-shaped clusters.

•          Angelica atropurpurea Herbaceous perennial that reaches heights up to six feet (two meters). The stems have a distinct purple hue, giving the plant its common name, with clusters of small, greenish-white flowers and compound leaves with serrated edges.


3.         Culinary and Medicinal Uses

•          Angelica archangelica Used in culinary applications for flavoring desserts, liqueurs, and herbal teas. Also used in traditional medicine for digestive and respiratory support.

•          Angelica gigas Primarily used in traditional Korean and Chinese medicine for various health issues, including gynecological disorders, rheumatism, and immune system support.

•          Angelica sinensis Widely used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic for women's health, particularly for menstrual irregularities and menopausal symptoms.

•          Angelica atropurpurea Roots, stems, and leaves used for digestive and respiratory ailments. Culinary uses of Angelica atropurpurea are less common, but certain indigenous communities have used it for food or as a flavoring agent.


4.         Cultural and Folklore Significance

•          Angelica archangelica Historically associated with protection and healing in European folklore. Used as a protective herb against evil spirits and illnesses.

•          Angelica gigas Holds cultural significance in Korean and Chinese traditional medicine, where it is revered for its medicinal properties.

•          Angelica sinensis Highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine for its role in promoting women's health and longevity.

•          Angelica atropurpurea May hold cultural and folklore significance among indigenous communities in North America. However, specific cultural and folklore associations may vary depending on the indigenous tribes and regions.


5.         Ornamental Value

•          Angelica archangelica Grown for its ornamental value in gardens due to its impressive height and attractive flowers.

•          Angelica gigas Appreciated for its ornamental value in gardens, with its deep red-purple umbels adding color and interest.

•          Angelica sinensis Less commonly grown for ornamental purposes compared to Angelica archangelica and Angelica gigas.

•          Angelica atropurpurea Its tall stature, striking purple stems, and clusters of flowers make it an attractive addition to native plant gardens, wildflower meadows, or naturalistic landscapes. Some garden cultivars may have been selected for specific ornamental characteristics.

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