Lovage is very distinctive with its yellow umbrella shaped flowers and large shiny greeny yellow leaves and because it grows quite tall it is usually found at the back of herb or flower gardens. It is grown throughout Europe and Asia and is known as the ‘Maggi’ plant due to its spicy flavour. Lovage prefers deep rich moist soil and can grow in full sun or partial shade. Apply well rotted compost before planting and in the spring when required and water regularly during the dry summer months. Lovage is used extensively in cooking in southern Europe. The leaves are used as a herb in salads or soup, the roots as a vegetable or grated into salads and the seeds are similar to Fennel and can be used as a spice.

The name Lovage comes from ‘love-ache’ – ache is a medieval name for parsley. Most of the European names for this plant are derivatives of the name, but most revolve round the word ‘love’, although it really has nothing to do with love!

Lovage smells similar to celery and the stalks can be eaten if cut and prepared before they get old and tough. Make sure that the stalks are blanched before eating them. Lovage Tea, made from the dried leaves can be applied to wounds as it has antiseptic properties. The leaves should be cut when young and fresh and if cut back during the summer, more leaves will continue to grow. This tea can also be drunk to help digestive complaints and Lovage can also help get rid of flatulence and water retention. It is also reported to be good for migraine headaches. Alcoholic Lovage Cordial can be mixed with brandy to produce a warming winter drink, helping poor blood circulation. Recipes using Lovage are often listed in modern herbal books, but Lovage should not be taken during pregnancy or if suffering from kidney disease. Fresh Lovage leaves in a bath will produce a lovely aroma and can be used for relaxation and soothing sore feet.

Cough Potion With Lovage

Lovage was an important plant in the medieval monastery garden and it was used for coughs and against lung and chest complaints.
0.2 oz. (5 g) lovage
0.2 oz. (5 g) sage
0.7 oz. (20 g) fennel
2 cups (500 ml) wine

Place the herbs in the wine and let them steep for 1 or 2 days, until the wine has absorbed their taste. Strain the wine and heat a small glassful to drink after meals. If your cough is mild, you need not heat the wine.

Always consult a qualified medical herbalist before using it for medicinal purposes.