Lovage Herb: Why this Old-Fashioned Herb Is Making a Comeback

Medicinal herbs

Meet Lovage (Levisticum officinale), an old-fashioned herb that just might be new to you! 

Lovage has been used for a long time in Europe for food and medicinal reasons -- as far back as Greek and Roman civilizations. Today, this useful plant is making a comeback in the United States. The perennial herb is a cousin of parsley but tastes more like celery. The easy-to-grow, fuss-free plant grows up to 6 feet tall and about half as wide. 

lovage herb growing outside

Health Benefits of Lovage

This useful herb boasts some really impressive benefits. All parts of this beautiful plant are useful, from tip to root.

  • High in quercetin, Vitamin C, and B-vitamins - Like all green leafies, lovage is packed with nutrition. 
  • UTIs & kidney health - Lovage is a natural diuretic that boosts urination without electrolyte loss. This system flush can keep things healthy and moving. 
  • Stomach complaints & appetite - Lovage tea can calm the nervous and digestive systems, which may help to restore appetite. 
  • Arthritis & joint relief - The anti-inflammatory effects of lovage can help support healthy joints and subtly improve pain. 
  • Menstrual complaints - Lovage has been used to alleviate cramps, bloating, and other monthly irritations. The nutrient-dense nature of the plant can help with cravings, too. 
  • Skin benefits - A lovage ointment can be a salve for smoothing skin, improving tone and appearance, and providing better blood flow. 
  • Allergies & colds- The high quercetin levels of lovage produce a natural antihistamine effect. Try adding some to soups when you’re feeling under the weather! 

Because of its diuretic properties, pregnant women and people with heart or kidney disease should avoid using lovage. Overeating lovage can cause diarrhea, so stick to reasonable amounts. In addition, lovage can make your skin a bit more photosensitive. Protect your skin, no matter what foods you’re eating, but take special care to use sunblock or cover up when eating or consuming lovage.

Lovage Growing Tips

Direct sow outside in fall or late spring, or sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. 

Maintain a steady soil temperature of 60°.

Water seedlings when almost dry, taking care not to wet leaves. 

Once established, harden off and transplant outside. 

Cultivate soil deeply to accommodate the long taproot. 

Days to germination: 10-14

Planting depth: 1/4"

Plant Spacing: 2-3'

Soil Temperature: 60-65°

Light Requirements: Full Sun

lovage herb plants in starting trays

How to Use Lovage

This delicious old-fashioned herb tastes a lot like celery, with some hints of yeast, parsley, and mild anise or licorice flavors. It’s not a strong flavor, but it’s delicious. 

  • The leaves and stems add something special to your soups and salads, raw or cooked. 
  • Use it anywhere you’d use parsley, dill, or other green leafy herbs. 
  • The roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated into salads. 
  • Seeds may be sprinkled whole or ground up as a spice for seasoning. 
  • A soothing tea can be made from the dried herbs and roots of lovage.

Lovage: Lots to Love

There’s plenty to love about Lovage. We’re excited that this traditional, country herb is making a comeback. Grow a few plants in your yard and find out for yourself. They’re easy to start, grow and maintain. You’ll be treated to an abundance of healthy, delicious herbs year after year.

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