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Lovage Description - Some Great Medicinal Uses and Benefits of Lovage

Taxonomic Class

Apiaceae.

Common Forms

Available as capsules, essential oil, and tea.

Source

Active components are obtained from the roots and seeds of Levisticum officinale and Levisticum radix. These plants are found in southern Europe and have been naturalized to the United States.

Chemical Components

Lovage root contains essential oil that is primarily composed of phthalide lactones, giving it a characteristic aromatic, spicy odor . Other compounds include coumarins, terpenoids, and volatile acids.

Actions

When given parenterally in animals, lovage oils cause weak diuresis, presumably because of mild irritation of renal tubules. Lovage exerts sedative and spasmolytic effects in rodents and has been reported to stimulate salivation and gastric secretion.

Reported Uses

Lovage has been used by herbalists mainly as a diuretic for patients with pedal edema. It is approved in Germany for irrigation therapy in urinary tract inflammation and to prevent renal calculus formation.

The herb is claimed to be useful for gastric discomfort (such as flatulence), as a spasmolytic and a sedative, to dissolve phlegm in the respiratory tract, and to induce menstruation.

Dosage

Tea: 1 cup (Iso ml) of boiling water is poured into 1.5 to 3 g of finely cut root of L. radix and drained after 15 minutes. Dose is 4 to 8 g/day P.O.

Adverse Reactions

Skin: Photodermatosis (caused by furocoumarin compounds in leaves).

Interactions

Anticoagulants: May potentiate effects. Avoid administration with lovage.

Contraindications and Precautions

Avoid using lovage in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown. Use cautiously in patients with a history of plant allergies.

Special Considerations

Monitor BUN and serum electrolyte and creatinine levels periodically during herbal therapy.

Inform the patient taking lovage for its diuretic effect that pedal edema may indicate heart failure or other dangerous conditions. Advise him to undergo a complete physical examination to rule out the need for aggressive medical treatment.

Inform the patient that other forms of proven diuretics are available.

Lovage contains a compound known as sotolone (4,s-dimethyl-3­hydroxy-2[5H]-furanone), which has a characteristically sweet aroma. Sotolone has been identified in the urine of patients with maple syrup urine disease. An autosomal recessive inherited disorder of branched­chain amino acid metabolism, it is so named because of the sweet, syruplike odor that is present in body fluids of patients with the disease. Patients who ingest lovage may be mistaken for patients with this unique enzyme deficiency.

Points of Interest

Lovage oil is used as a fragrance in cosmetics, lotions, and soaps.

Commentary

There is some evidence of lovage's therapeutic use in animals, but human clinical trials and efficacy and safety data are lacking. Therefore, this herb cannot be recommended.

   

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