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Lovage, Levisiticum officinale 

Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

While a name like Lovage would seem to suggest a medicinal use for this herb that would inspire romance, it is actually one of the oldest know salad green plants in the world. The stems can be, and have been eaten for many years as a vegetables, and both stems and seeds have been candied and consumed as sweet treats for some time as well. In the 16th century, herbalists suggested consuming lovage to ease digestive disorders, usually in the form of a tea.

Growing Info: Lovage is a perennial plant that can grow as high as 5 feet (1.5 meters) tall. It forms tubular stalks on which pinnate, dark-green, firm leaves will grow. Sow fresh seeds in sunny to partially shaded garden location in autumn, thinning in spring, or transplant seedlings to the garden in spring. Plant in partial afternoon shade in regions with very hot summers. Water abundantly in hot weather. Requires a high nutrient value in the soil with plenty of organic matter. Once established, you'll likely get seedlings that will keep you supplied with new plants. You can also divide established clumps in early spring, replanting portions that show new growth.

Standard Uses: All parts of this plant are edible, including the roots. To save the seeds, cut off the flowering stalks when seeds are ripe and dry them by hanging upside down from the base of the stem. Fresh or dried leaves are tasty ingredients in salads, soups and sauces, but some find its taste quite strong, so do some nibbling before deciding on the amounts to include.

Medicinal Uses: Lovage has been said to be a benefit for relieving abdominal pains due to gastrointestinal gas. It's also been touted to reduce flatulence when consumed as a tea brewed from its roots or leaves.