Lovage is also called Bladder Seed, Cornish Lovage, Garden Lovage, Italian Lovage, Love Parsleyand Old English Lovage. In latin it is known as Levisticum officinale.
Related Species are Ligusticum monnieri or Masterwort or Porter's Lovage and Ligusticum scoticum or Scotch Lovage.
Lovage is variously said to be a native either of Persia or Liguria. It's cultivation is now widespread across Europe. Lovage is fragrant and has a taste that is very much like celery.
The leaves of the Lovage plant were said to have rejuvenative properties and was a remedy for footsore travellers who lined their shoes with them. There is also an old-fashioned though still marginally popular cordial that bears the same name which is flavoured with lovage, tansy and a variety of yarrow.
It was said to be an antiseptic and was used as such by the Greeks and the Romans.
While the use of lovage is not widespread, it is used in England and Germany as both a herb and a vegetable.
The stems are blanched, boiled lightly or steamed and added thereafter to salads or served with a white sauce, (either bechamel, mornay or any other variation). Raw young stems are added to salads or eaten as such, before they become stringy. The stems are also candied like angelica stems, and used in confectionary.
The seeds are used in the baking of bread and sweet pastries. They also flavour to liqueurs and cordials. They can also be added toasted to salads or to rice or mashed potatoes. The seeds can also be pickled like capers in brine.
A modern form of an old-style cordial is made by steeping fresh Lovage seed in brandy, sweetening it with sugar and then drinking it to settle an empty stomach. It is also available off-the-shelf and has a delicious flavour. (http://www.thedrinkshop.com/products/nlpdetail.php?prodid=1010)
The '''leaves''' can be made like spinach, into a soup, used to flavourstock, stews and cheese. They can be added to salads like celery leaves. If used like a herb, they can be added to sauces as a flavouring.
Lovage leaves can be substituted in any recipe for celery leaves in half the quantity of the celery leaves, since they have a much stronger flavour.
They also make an excellent infusion.
Flowers of lovage are both pretty and edible and can be used to decorate pastries, cakes and desserts.
Lovage is available both fresh and dried.
An infusion of any part of the plant will act as a diuretic, remove excess water retention, assist in the removal of toxins, act as a deodoriser, and give some relief from rheumatism.
Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion.
Lovage tea or infusion helps gastric disorders like colic and flatulence in children. It also causes perspiration and helps bring down fevers. It is also a good emmenagogue.
An infusion of Lovage should not be taken during pregnancy or by people with kidney problems.
Lovage is an excellent companion plantand helps protect almost all plants from garden pests.
The Book of Ingredients: Philip Dowell and Adrian Bailey; Penguin/ Mermaid Books 1993
The Complete Book of Herbs; A practical guide to growing and using herbs: Lesley Bremness: Dorling Kindersley 1988
--Radhikab70 03:07, 3 August 2007 (EDT)