Common Name: Lovage
Botanical Name: Levisticum officinale
Place of origin: Lovage, herb of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) native to southern Europe. It is cultivated for its stalks and foliage, which are used for tea, as a vegetable, and to flavor foods, particularly meats.
Ideal growing conditions: Lovage prefers full sun to light shade and a rich, moisture-laden, organic soil. Before you plant, consider how much space can be devoted to growing this attractive herb. Mature plants will reach 4 to 7 feet tall, which makes it the perfect backdrop for any garden.
Parts of the Plant to use: Leaves and stalks: Snip or pinch off outside stalks and leaves as needed for fresh use anytime during the growing season. To harvest roots harvest two or three-year-old lovage roots with a garden fork just before flowering. To harvest seeds keep entire ripe seeds heads in late summer.
Benefits/Properties: Lovage is high in many nutrients and minerals. It has loads of Vitamin C and B complex. The plant also has Quercetin, which inhibits histamine and helps with allergy symptoms. Many women also find relief from menstrual symptoms with lovage supplements. Cosmetics that include extracts of lovage can help diminish acne, clear skin, and treat dermatitis. For those that like to do “cleanses,” lovage is a diuretic that will help flush the body without producing electrolyte loss. This property leads to its use to enhance kidney health. The herb also has the potential to help with arthritis sensitivity, boost respiration processes, and has anti-bacterial properties. The most common side effect seems to be photosensitivity in high doses.
Suggested Uses: Lovage is a cousin of parsley but tastes closer to celery. Use it in soups and stews or anywhere else you would use celery. It has a bright flavor that makes it perfect in a summer salad. All parts of the plant are useful, including the roots. It is particularly delightful when paired with pork or chicken, although it is also commonly used to season potatoes.
- 1 heaping tablespoon fresh minced lovage
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ tsp dijon mustard
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 4 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Pile the lovage, garlic, and mustard in a pint jar.
- Pour the olive oil, white wine vinegar, and water in. Season gently with salt and pepper.
- Place a top on the jar and twist to seal. Shake vigorously.
- Enjoy. This should be shaken well before using each time.
Can be made into infusions, tinctures, and essential oils, as well as lozenges and vinegar. It’s also been used cosmetically, and a tincture or salve made from the leaves can be applied to the skin to soothe rashes and psoriasis, and help to clear up acne.