Lovage - Levisticum officinale


Levisticum officinale

Besides being a culinary wonder, Lovage also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is known for its supposed diuretic, digestive, and expectorant properties.

  • Plant Family: Apiaceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Love parsley, Italian lovage, Mountain celery
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Root, Fruit (called “seed”), Leaf, Stem
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About Lovage

Lovage, a perennial herb from the Apiaceae family, is a towering beauty with vivid green leaves that are reminiscent of celery. This aromatic plant is native to Southern Europe and Western Asia but is now grown in many parts of the world for its culinary and medicinal uses.

Lovage can grow up to 6 feet tall and has large, bright green leaves, and produces small, yellow-green flowers that are arranged in umbrella-shaped clusters. These flowers transform into small brownish-black fruits that bear two seeds. 

The root of the Lovage plant has earned it culinary and medicinal fame. Its root has an alluringly intense celery-like flavor and aroma, which is why it's commonly used to add depth to stews, soups, and other savory dishes, or even as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages.

Besides being a culinary wonder, Lovage also has a long history of use in traditional medicine. It is known for its supposed diuretic, digestive, and expectorant properties. In traditional medicine, it has been used to treat a variety of ailments, including indigestion, urinary tract infections, and arthritis. Apart from its culinary and medicinal applications, Lovage has also been used in perfumes and cosmetics for its refreshing and invigorating scent.



Lovage should be grown in early spring, after the last frost date, to allow the plant to establish its roots before the onset of summer heat. Lovage seeds can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date or sown directly in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. It is important to lightly cover the seeds with soil and keep them moist until they sprout, as Lovage seeds require light to germinate.

It can also be propagated from root cuttings taken in the fall or early spring. When a mature plant is dug up, a section of its root can be cut off and replanted in a new location.

Lovage seeds typically germinate within 2-3 weeks after planting, but the exact germination time can vary depending on growing conditions such as temperature, humidity, and soil moisture.

During the first year of its growth, it develops a strong root system with a basal rosette of leaves, showcasing glossy dark green leaves that resemble celery. In the second year of its growth, it produces small yellowish-green flowers that are pollinated to transform into brownish-black fruits with 2 seeds that account for the continuation of its life cycle. 

In fall, its aerial parts die back to the ground while its roots store the plant’s energy during the winter months. With the arrival of spring, the plant repeats its vegetative cycle of flowering and seed production.




Harvest lovage leaves during summer, especially in the morning hours for the best flavor. Its stems can be harvested in late summer, when they have reached their full height and thickness. For the roots, go for them in late fall or winter when the whole plant is dormant and all its energy is stored in its roots. 

Hand-pick the leaves when the dew has dried to avoid spoilage. As for the stems, cut them just above the ground and remove the side shoots. The roots, on the other hand, can be harvested by digging up the whole plant and cutting the desired amount with a sharp knife or gardening shears, whichever seems convenient.

Lovage leaves can be easily wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a plastic bag to be refrigerated for up to a week. Its stem can also be refrigerated the same way or you can cut it into small pieces and place them in an airtight container to freeze them for several months. Its root should be washed thoroughly and cut into small pieces to be splayed on a rack for drying in a well-ventilated area. Once they feel crispy, store them in an airtight container for later use.  



Lovage is a versatile herb with tonnes of benefits to offer this world. Its incorporated in various herbal preparations to treat a good load of maladies.

  • Tincture: Fresh lovage roots are washed and chopped to be macerated in alcohol for 2-4 weeks to form lovage tincture.
  • Tea: Fresh or dried lovage leaves can be steeped in hot water for 10-15 minutes to make lovage tea.
  • Decoction: Fresh or dried lovage root is simmered in hot boiling water for 30 minutes to formulate decoction.
  • Salve: Lovage leaves or roots can be infused in a carrier oil and further stirred in beeswax to form a soothing salve.
  • Syrup: Lovage leaves or stems can be rolled in sugar solution over a low flame to prepare its syrup.
  • Infused oil: Lovage leaves and roots can be infused in any carrier oil to make lovage-infused oil.