What Is Angelica?

Purported to help digestive concerns, Angelica has some safety concerns

Angelica capsules, extract, dried root, and powder

 Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a biennial herb. It is part of the genus Angelica, which has about 90 species.

Angelica has long been used in traditional medicine to treat many health conditions. It is thought to contain various bioactive ingredients that may have antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, scientific evidence to support the herb's use for health purposes is lacking.

Angelica is commonly used as a dietary supplement or as a cooking ingredient.

This article will cover the Angelica archangelica species, which should not be confused with Angelica sinensis or other herbs of the genus Angelica. It will explore the potential uses of Angelica, as well as side effects, precautions, interactions, and dosage information.

Unlike drugs, dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLab, or NSF. 

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, it doesn’t mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and check in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

  • Active ingredient(s): Alpha-pinene, Delta-3-carene, limonene, alpha-phellandrene
  • Alternate name(s): Angelica leaf extract, Angelica root, oil of Angelica, wild Angelica
  • Legal status: Legal and available over the counter in the United States
  • Suggested dose: No dosage guidelines for Angelica
  • Safety considerations: Considered generally safe, but side effects may be possible

Uses of Angelica

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent disease. 

Strong scientific evidence supporting the use of Angelica is lacking. So far, much of the research on Angelica archangelica has been performed on animal models or in laboratory settings. As a whole, more human trials are needed on the potential benefits of Angelica.

The following is a look at what existing research says regarding the uses of Angelica.


Nocturia is a condition defined as the need to wake from sleep one or more times each night to urinate. Angelica has been studied for its use in relieving nocturia.

In one double-blind study, participants with nocturia who were assigned male at birth were randomized to receive either a placebo (an ineffective substance) or a product made from the Angelica archangelica leaf for eight weeks.

The participants were asked to track in diaries when they urinated. The researchers evaluated the diaries both before and after the treatment period. By the end of the study, those who took Angelica reported fewer nocturnal voids (the need to get up in the middle of the night to urinate) than those who took the placebo, but the difference was not significant.

Unfortunately, few other studies have been performed to determine whether Angelica can significantly improve nocturia. More research is needed in this area.


While no supplement or herb can cure cancer, there is some interest in Angelica as a complementary treatment.

Researchers have studied Angelica's potential anticancer effects in a lab. In one such study, researchers tested Angelica archangelica extract on breast cancer cells. They found that Angelica may help cause breast cancer cell death, leading researchers to conclude that the herb may have antitumor potential.

A much older study performed on mice found similar results. However, these results have not been duplicated in human trials. Without human trials, there is no evidence that Angelica can help kill human cancer cells.


Angelica has been used in traditional medicine as a treatment for anxiety. However, scientific evidence to support this claim is scarce.

As with other uses of Angelica, the research on its use in anxiety has mostly been performed in lab settings or on animal models.

In one study, Angelica extracts were given to rats before they had to perform stress tests. According to the researchers, rats performed better after receiving Angelica, making it a potential treatment for anxiety.

Human trials and more vigorous research are required to determine Angelica's potential role in treating anxiety.

Antimicrobial Properties

Angelica is said to have antimicrobial properties, but well-designed human studies have not been performed to prove this claim.

According to some researchers, Angelica exhibits antimicrobial activity against:

However, little context is given regarding how Angelica may inhibit these and other bacteria and fungi.

Other Uses

In traditional medicine, Angelica archangelica is used to treat additional ailments, including:

Quality scientific evidence supporting these uses is limited. Be sure to talk to a healthcare provider prior to using Angelica for these and other health conditions.

What Are the Side Effects of Angelica?

As with any herb or supplement, Angelica may cause side effects. However, due to a lack of human trials, there have been few reports of possible side effects of Angelica.

Common Side Effects

In general, Angelica archangelica is thought to be safe. Few side effects have been documented.

Angelica contains furanocoumarins (compounds found in many types of plants) that have been linked to skin irritation. These compounds may also cause abnormal skin pigmentation, itching, redness, and sensitivity to sun exposure (photosensitivity).

More research is needed to determine other possible side effects of Angelica.

Severe Side Effects

Angelica archangelica is not known to cause severe side effects. Remember, though, that research on Angelica is lacking, which means severe side effects may still be possible.

To prevent any side effects, use Angelica only as directed. Talk to your healthcare provider before starting any new herb or supplement.

Angelica dried root
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak


Precautions should be taken when using Angelica, especially since research on the herb is so limited.

It is not yet known if Angelica is safe to use during pregnancy. For this reason, it's recommended that people who are pregnant avoid using Angelica. Due to a lack of safety information, people who are breastfeeding should also avoid using Angelica.

Children and people with certain health conditions may also need to avoid using Angelica. If you're considering trying Angelica, speak with a healthcare provider first.

Dosage: How Much Angelica Should I Take?

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs. 

There are no dosage guidelines for Angelica archangelica. There is not enough scientific data to determine safe dosage recommendations.

Since many studies on Angelica have been performed on animal models or in laboratory settings, more human trials must be completed before dosage guidelines can be made.

Play it safe, and always follow the dosing directions listed on the supplement label. Be sure to talk with a healthcare provider about the proper Angelica dose for you.

What Happens If I Take Too Much Angelica?

At this time, Angelica is not known to be toxic when taken in recommended amounts. Overdose has also not been reported when using Angelica.

However, given the overall lack of information on Angelica archangelica, toxicity may still be possible. You may increase your risk of side effects if you take too much Angelica. To prevent adverse events and toxicity, use Angelica only as directed.


There is concern that herbs like Angelica archangelica may interact with certain prescription medications.

For example, Angelica root (which includes Angelica archangelica) may interact with Jantoven (warfarin), a popular prescription blood thinner. However, this interaction may be more likely with Angelica sinensis than Angelica archangelica.

If an interaction between the two does exist, taking Angelica along with warfarin may cause excess bleeding. For this reason, it may be best to avoid Angelica altogether if you're taking warfarin or another blood thinner. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance.

More research is needed to determine whether additional interactions between Angelica and other medications, supplements, or herbs exist.

Always carefully read the ingredients list and nutrition facts panel to learn which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included in a supplement or herbal remedy. Please review this supplement label with your healthcare provider to discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications. 

How to Store Angelica

Proper storage of herbs ensures quality and shelf-life. Store your Angelica supplements in a cool, dry place and keep them out of direct sunlight. Keep them out of the sight and reach of children and pets.

Angelica essential oils typically do not require refrigeration. Always follow the storage instructions listed on the product packaging. Discard Angelica supplements once they reach their expiration date.

Similar Supplements

Other supplements and herbs on the market may work similarly to Angelica archangelica. These include:

  • Pygeum bark: An herb pulled from the African plum tree, pygeum bark has been studied for its potential effects on nocturia. According to one review, pygeum bark is said to contain anti-inflammatory phytosterols that may help treat nocturia.
  • Folate: Folate is a B vitamin (vitamin B9) important to many aspects of health that may possess anticancer properties. And while folate cannot treat cancer on its own, there is evidence to suggest that a deficiency in the vitamin may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
  • Vitamin D: A 2021 review concluded that a vitamin D deficiency may lead to symptoms of anxiety. Researchers also went on to say that adequate levels of vitamin D are associated with better mental health.
  • Clove: Clove is a spice and herbal remedy thought to have various health benefits. Research has shown that clove may have antimicrobial effects against various fungi and bacteria.

It's typically recommended to take just one supplement for a given health condition at a time. Talk with a healthcare provider about which supplement is best for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is Angelica the same as dong quai?

    Dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is from the same genus as Angelica archangelica, but the two are not the same.

    In traditional medicine, Angelica sinensis has been used for different purposes than Angelica archangelica. For example, Angelica sinensis has been used for gynecological disorders and constipation.

  • Is Angelica root edible?

    The leaves, roots, seeds, shoots, and stems of Angelica are edible. Angelica is said to have a flavor similar to licorice and is sometimes used to make sauces and other condiments. It's also possible to make extract oil from Angelica.

  • Is Angelica safe during pregnancy?

    There is currently not enough scientific evidence to support the use of Angelica during pregnancy. For this reason, it's recommended that you avoid trying Angelica while pregnant.

    If you're pregnant, talk with a healthcare provider about the safety of all supplements or herbs you take.

Sources of Angelica & What to Look For

Angelica archangelica can be used in supplement form or cooked into food.

Before choosing any new supplement, remember that nothing beats real food for getting all the nutrients your body needs. Supplement use should never replace a well-balanced diet.

Food Sources of Angelica

Angelica is an edible herb that some people use to make sauces and other condiments. It is described as having a flavor similar to licorice. Some people also use Angelica to make hot tea.

It should be noted that Angelica is not found naturally in other foods.

Angelica Supplements

Angelica is available for purchase online and in various stores. It typically comes in the form of dried leaves, dried roots, essential oils, and capsules. Dried Angelica may be used to make tea.

Sometimes, Angelica may be combined with other ingredients to make supplements.

It's important to remember that there are many species of Angelica, so it's important to double-check the label to ensure that you purchase the type you want.

According to government standards, it is not legal to claim that a dietary supplement can treat or cure a specific disease or relieve its symptoms. Supplements and herbs are not tested by the FDA or any other government agency for safety or effectiveness.

To ensure quality, look for supplements voluntarily reviewed and approved by third-party agencies. These include ConsumerLab, USP, and NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do test for quality and establish that what is listed on the nutrition label is actually in the supplement.


Angelica archangelica is an herbal remedy from the genus Angelica. It has been used in traditional medicine for many years due to its potential health benefits. However, the health claims surrounding Angelica are not well-supported by scientific evidence. Talk with a healthcare provider before starting any new herb or supplement.

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Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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Additional Reading

By Brittany Lubeck, RD
Brittany Lubeck, RD, is a nutrition writer and registered dietitian with a master's degree in clinical nutrition. 

Originally written by Cathy Wong