Lovage (Levisticum officinale Koch of Family Apiaceae ) is less known as a herb usually characterized by a pungent or aromatic smell due to the presence of essential oil. The leaves and seeds are often used in seasoning as decoctions and teas. The rhizome and roots are used medicinally such as reduce the excitability of the nervous system, help to relieve anemia and exhibit anticonvulsant and diuretic activity. Health benefits of lovage is it treat jaundice, malaria, sore throat, pleurisy, rheumatism, gout, congestion, rheumatism, migraine headache, and boils (1). Raw or cooked leaves and stems are used as savory flavoring in salads, soups, stews, etc (2).
Popularly consumed and available natively in Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Belgium, Finland, Afghanistan, Baluchistan, Iran, and the USA.
Constituents of lovage oil
The essential oil of lovage contains a large number of monoterpenes, approximately 93.8%, major compounds such as α-terpinenyl acetate (52.85%), β- phellandrene (10.26%) and neocnidilide (10.12%) (2).
Health Benefits of Lovage
Some of the health benefits of Lovage are as follows
1. Anticancer properties of Lovage leaves
It contains an essential oil that shows a wonderful effect on the inhibition of head and neck squamous carcinoma cell, breast cancer cell growth and induces apoptosis (3).
2. Treat the urogenital and gestational disease
Lovage has a high amount of canephron which shows a beneficial effect on the treatment of urinary tract infections and kidney stones in adults and in children by increasing the rate of removal of kidney stones (4).
3. Lovage treats liver toxicity
Lovage contains a high amount of antioxidants, reactive oxygen species scavengers (mannitol, dimethyl sulfoxide, and α-tocopherol) and prevents liver cell death thus protect the liver (5).
4. Antioxidative and Anti-inflammatory properties of Lovage leaves
It contains a rich amount of flavonoids like rutin, phenolic acid such as 5-caffeoylquinic acid and ligustilide that scavenge harmful radicals from the body and show anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of bad enzymes (6).
5. Treat diabetes
Lovage root contains canephron which is very effective to decrease microalbuminuria (diabetes symptoms) thus prevent the complication of diabetes mellitus (7).
6. Antimicrobial properties of the roots of lovage
It contains α-prethapsenol, falcarinol, and falcarindiol which has antimycobacterial property against different microorganisms such as Mycobacterium fortuitum, Mycobacterium aurum, Mycobacterium smegmatis, Mycobacterium bovis, Bacillus cereus, and Escherichia coli. Moreover, lovage essential oil contains terpinenyl acetate, ligustilide, and neocnidilide which fight against Mycobacterium tuberculosis therefore lovage may useful for the treatment of tuberculosis (8, 9).
7. Treat respiratory disease
Lovage polysaccharide exhibits expectorant activity by discharge or removes mucus from the respiratory tract thus protect from various respiratory diseases (10).
Side effects of lovage
1. Contact dermatitis
Lovage essential oil sometimes causes contact dermatitis. Because of lovage sensitizer property, precaution is important before application.
2. Avoid during the first trimester of pregnancy
Lovage is considered safe and well-tolerated during pregnancy. But still, it is advisable to use the recommended dose during the first trimester, and only in approved indications in pregnancy (11)