Lovage (Levisticum officinale) by Gael (Plot 234)
The name Lovage refers to love. It goes back thousands of years being used by the Greeks and Romans. It was one of the most common herbs in ancient times though it is not very well known today. Because of its therapeutic qualities it is also known as the “all healing plant”.
It is a tall perennial plant with shiny bright green leaves with a sharp pleasant scent reminiscent of celery with a hint of parsley and lemon. Tiny clusters of yellow-green flowers appear in Summer and the whole plant dies down in Winter. Lovage likes a sunny spot and a reasonable amount of moisture. Propagation is best done by division of the fleshy roots in Spring.
Lovage is great in soups and casseroles. The young leaves and stems can be used fresh in salads or cooked with vegetables, meat, fish and in fact most savoury dishes. Fresh lovage will keep for approximately one week in the refrigerator and is a bit more difficult to dry on account of its fleshy leaves.
The seeds are a little like fennel and can be used in a similar fashion. They can be added to bread and are delicious in cheese biscuits.
Medicinally it has a cleansing effect on the digestive system and can be applied externally to wounds to aid healing. It was once widely used as a deodorant and makes a refreshing addition to bath water. A tea made with chopped leaves is reputed to stimulate the digestive system and help a sore throat.
We have some in our new Herb Garden but not ready to pick yet. Labels will start going up shortly.
Try out the recipe of Potato Salad with Lovage, enjoy!
- “The Complete Book of Herbs and Spices”…….Clair Lowenfield and Philippa Back
- “Garden Herbs”……,the gardeners handbook…..Weldon Owen.
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