Lovage (Levisticum officinale)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
β-phellandrene, α-pinene, α-phellandrene/myrcene, ache de montagne, anjodan romi, aplo de Montana, badekraut, bladder seed, carvacrol eugenol céleri perpétuel, Cornish lavage, d-terpineol, devesil, garden lovage, gaya à tige simple, Goritsvet, gulyavitsa, harilik leeskputk, Italian lovage, lavas, legústico, lestyán, leustean, leuszean, levístico, Levisticum officinale, levistiko, liebstöckl, libecek, libecek lékarský, ligustico, liperi, lipstikka, livèche, ljekoviti ljupcac, lova, love parsley, løpstikke, løvstikke, lubbestok, lubczyk ogrodowy, luibh an liugair, lupstajs, lusch, luststock, maggikraut, maggiplant, magi-zacin, mankracht, n-butyl-phthalide, n-butylidene phthalide old english lavage, rabaji, rabeji, reobwiji, robaji, robejji, robiji, robwiji, sea lovage, sedanonic anhydride, sedano di montagna, sedano di monte, selen, sirenas, siunas, skessujurt, vaistine gelsve, yuan xie gang gui, yuan ye dang gui, yuhn yihp dong gwai.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) has been used for medicinal purposes as early as the 14th century. In herbal medicine, it is used to expel flatulence (gas), induce perspiration, open obstructions, and to treat colic in children. Lovage has also been used in the treatment of jaundice, kidney stones, poor appetite, and bronchitis. Lovage has been used as a diuretic, and for regulation of menses. Aromatherapists have used the essential oil of lovage to remove freckles and spots from the face.
Lovage is generally recognized as safe for human consumption as a natural seasoning and flavoring agent by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, there are currently no well-designed human or animal studies available involving lovage.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Abortifacient (induces abortion), antispasmodic (relieves spasms or cramps), aphrodisiac, aphthous ulcers (canker sores), appetite stimulant, bronchitis, carminative, colic, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestion, diuretic (increases urine flow), emmenagogue (promotes menstruation), expectorant, fever, flatulence, food flavoring, food uses, jaundice, kidney stones, pulmonary conditions, sedative, skin conditions, sore throat, stimulant, urinary disorders.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is currently not enough scientific evidence to recommend dosages for lovage. Lovage has been taken as a tea or eaten in salad; it is also sometimes used externally to treat sore throat and aphthous ulcers (canker sores). However, scientific support for dosages is not available.
Children (younger than 18 years)
Based on the available scientific evidence, there is no proven safe or effective dose of lovage in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to lovage.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is currently a lack of available scientific evidence that reports any major adverse effects of lovage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies lovage as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) when consumed as natural seasoning or flavoring.
Nonetheless, lovage should not be consumed during pregnancy or in patients with kidney problems due to potential safety risks. One case of photosensitivity was reported from harvesting lovage (Levisticum officinale).
Lovage may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lovage is not recommended due to lack of sufficient scientific evidence. Spanish New Mexicans have reportedly used lovage to induce abortion.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Lovage may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Lovage has been used to treat a variety of conditions including its use as a diuretic (increases urine flow), and for regulation of menses. Caution is advised when taking other medications that increase urine flow. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Lovage may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Lovage has been used to treat a variety of conditions including its use as a diuretic, and for regulation of menses. Caution is advised when taking other herbs and supplements that increase urine flow. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Ashwood-Smith MJ, Ceska O, Yeoman A, et al. Photosensitivity from harvesting lovage (Levisticum officinale). Contact Dermatitis 1992;26(5):356-357. View Abstract
Bylaite E, Roozen JP, Legger A, et al. Dynamic deadspace-gas chromatography-olfactometry analysis of different anatomical parts of lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch.) at eight growing stages. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48(12):6183-6190. View Abstract
Conway GA, Slocumb JC. Plants used as abortifacients and emmenagogues by Spanish New Mexicans. J Ethnopharmacol 1979;1(3):241-261. View Abstract
Food and Drug Administration. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Volume 3. 2003. Food and Drug Administration. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, Volume 3. 2003. View Document
Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2000;57(13):1221-1227. View Abstract
Podebrad F, Heil M, Reichert S, et al. 4,5-dimethyl-3-hydroxy-2[5H]-furanone (sotolone)--the odour of maple syrup urine disease. J Inherit Metab Dis 1999;22(2):107-114. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017