Lovage seeds. Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a tall perennial herb and a member of the Apiaceae family. It tastes and looks a lot like celery. It’s sometimes called smellage or maggi plant. In Italy it is often referred to as sedano di monte, or mountain celery.
It has been long cultivated in Europe, with the leaves being used as a herb, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice, especially in southern European cuisine.
Lovage Culinary Uses
It was originally popular as a salad green before celery was as common as it is today. All parts of the plant can be used. The leaves can be chopped up and added to any dish you would use celery in including salads, soups, stews, frittatas, egg salad, and potato salad. The flavor is stronger than celery, so use it accordingly. You can also dry the leaves for later use.
Lovage Medicinal Benefits
Lovage has been used in infusions, tinctures, decoctions, vinegars, elixirs, lozenges, and bath and foot soaks. All parts of the lovage plant can be used therapeutically.
Teas of the leaf and stalk are used for sore throats and tonsil problems, rheumatism/arthritis, jaundice, and for digestion. Lovage is known to be a diuretic and was considered good for kidney stones and to increase the flow of urine. The roots are used in salves for skin problems and put in bath water for aching joints or skin problems. The seeds, collected when ripe, can be chewed on for digestion and gas. At one time boils were treated with the lovage leaves fried in oil and used as a poultice.
- Direct sow Lovage seeds indoors five to six weeks before the date of the last frost.
- Sow seed on the surface of soil and dust with sand. The seeds may also be sown outside in late spring when soil temperatures have warmed to 16 C.
- Seedlings require consistent moisture until they are several inches tall and then irrigation may diminish.
- Transplant lovage plants 8 inches apart in rows 18 inches away from each other.
- Lovage will bloom earlier when planted indoors. You can expect flowers on transplanted plants in early summer that last until late summer.
- It needs minimal care and it will reseed itself readily, so you won’t have to replant it over and over.
- The plants can grow up to six feet tall, with a 32-inch spread, so they make stately specimens in the garden.
- Lovage prefers a cool climate to a hot one, but can be successfully grown in South Africa, provided it is in planted in partial shade and watered regularly.
- The perennial plants die back to the ground and go dormant during the winter, and reemerge in the spring.
- They grow quickly, so you can expect your first harvest within a few months of planting. The leaves look a bit like flat leaf parsley, with a dark to medium green color and a glossy texture.
Information is for educational and informational purposes only and may not be construed as medical advice. The information is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment offered by healthcare professionals.