Lovage Herb: Health Benefits, Uses, Facts

Love Parsley FR: Liveche

GER: Badekraut (Lev. off.), Grofcer Eppich, Liebstockel, Mutterwurz (Lig. off.)

IT: Levistico or Sedano di monte SP: Ligustico

BOT: Levisticum officinale or Ligusticum officinalis FAM: Umbelliferae ILL: Plate 6, No. 7

The true lovage is a native of southern Europe, although another species (Ligusticum scoticum) also known as lovage – sea lovage or Scottish lovage in America – grows wild in the north of Britain and northern Atlantic coasts of America. This was in the past much used in Scotland, cooked or raw, and locally called shunis. Black lovage is alexanders.

Lovage Herb: Health Benefits, Uses, Facts Photo Gallery




Lovage is a very large umbelliferous perennial growing up to seven feet high. It has a thick hollow stem and looks something like a vast celery plant with greenish-yellow flowers. Much used by the Greeks and Romans, and formerly in both Britain and America, it is today unknown to most people in these countries though still used in south-eastern Europe. All parts of the plant are used – leaves, seeds and roots.

Lovage is easy to grow and prefers a good moist soil and sun. It can be raised from seed or propagated by root division. One plant would be more than sufficient in the garden, unless the roots are to be used as a vegetable.

The flavour of lovage is distinct and difficult to describe. To me it is a pleasantly musky-lemon-scented celery. Claire Loewenfeld in her blog Herb Gardening says it reminds her of ‘yeast and Maggi soup’. This underlines the difficulty of describing things which are essentially based only on a subjective experience.

Lovage is sometimes used (blanched or unblanched) in salads. The stems can be candied like angelica and the seeds used on bread and biscuits, particularly on cheese biscuits. However, the great use for lovage is undoubtedly as a flavouring for soups, to which it gives an unusual taste.

Lovage indeed, is perhaps the most interesting of all the neglected old-fashioned herbs and is well worth experiment. If you grow it you will find uses for it.

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