The lovage plant (Levisticum) is a representative of the Umbrella family. This genus includes only one species - medicinal lovage. In nature, this perennial plant is found in Iran and Afghanistan, but today it is grown all over the world. Lovage is also called lover, pet, love (or love spell) potion, dawn, and winter celery.
The popularity of lovage is due to its beneficial properties, as well as its pleasant aroma. It allows the herb to be used in cooking - as a seasoning for fish and meat. The value of lovage was known in ancient times - the plant was mentioned in the works of Pliny, as well as in poems about herbs dating from the 9th-11th centuries.
The only representative of the genus, Levisticum officinale, is a perennial herb. From its large and branched root, bare hollow stems are formed, branching closer to the apex. They are about 1-2 m long and are gray-colored. Large glossy foliage has a rich green color. The leaf blades have a double-pinnate structure and slightly incised lobes. During the flowering period, umbrella inflorescences are formed on the bushes, consisting of small yellow flowers. After flowering, which occurs in the summer months, flattened oval fruits appear closer to September.
Lovage is considered a medicinal and edible plant. It is grown as a raw material for medicines or food condiments. The aroma of lovage is similar to that of celery. The essential oils obtained from this plant are used in perfumery and cooking. The foliage and stems, as well as the roots of the plant, are used not only as a medicine, but also as a seasoning for various dishes. Greens are added to canned food, sauces. Like basil and dill, lovage is widely used in the diet.
Lovage. Care, cultivation, procurement
The table shows brief rules for growing lovage in the open field.
|Landing||Seeds are sown on the beds before winter or in the middle of spring. Sowing for seedlings is carried out in March, the seedlings are transferred to the street by the beginning of May.|
|Lighting level||To grow lovage, you need a sufficiently bright sun, but partial shade or scattered rays are acceptable.|
|Watering mode||In sunny places, the bushes are watered more often, in partial shade there will be enough rainfall.|
|The soil||Any soil is suitable for the plant. Lovage is able to thrive even on clay soil.|
|Top dressing||Plant feeding is carried out twice a month, using mineral compounds or organic matter.|
|Pruning||It is necessary to remove peduncles at an early stage of development, before they reach ten centimeters in length.|
|Bloom||Flowering usually begins in the first half of summer.|
|Pests||Aphids, slugs, carrot fly.|
|Diseases||From waterlogging - the development of white spot is possible.|
Lovage is able to thrive even on clay soil, but it is still recommended to prepare the ground before planting. The future bed is dug up, introducing compost (about 3 kg per 1 sq. M.), Urea, superphosphate and potassium sulfate (25 g per 1 sq. M.), Wood ash (about 1.5 cups).
Direct sowing of lovage seeds on the beds is carried out before the onset of winter or in the middle of spring. Seeds should be sown in rows. The sprouts that have appeared are thinned out, maintaining a distance of about 10-15 cm between them.Later, re-thinning is carried out, increasing the distance to about 35 cm.The next year of growing lovage, this distance is recommended to be increased to 65 cm.Otherwise, the plantings will not be able to fully develop: they will too crowded.
To be sure to get high-quality seedlings and avoid thinning, it is recommended to use the seedling method. In this case, sowing is carried out in March. The seeds are placed in containers filled with fertile soil. Each seed is buried by about 2 cm, maintaining a distance of about 5-6 cm. In a warm (about 20-25 degrees) room under good lighting, shoots appear within a couple of weeks. When sprouts form in the container, it is recommended to keep them in a cooler (about 12-15 degrees) corner, but after a week the growing temperature can be left constant - about 15-20 degrees. Two weeks after the formation of the shoots, they can be fed with a mineral composition. It should include 15 g of ammonium nitrate and calcium chloride, as well as 25 g of superphosphate per 10 liters of water. Two weeks later, the composition is reintroduced.
The seedlings are transferred to the ground 1.5-2 months after the emergence of seedlings - by about the end of April. Most varieties are not afraid of frost. Planting is immediately carried out at a distance necessary for adult and developed bushes - about 65 cm. In the first year of cultivation, bushes form a leaf rosette from seeds, and they begin to bloom only the next season. An adult lovage is able to reproduce by self-seeding. The resulting seedlings can be transplanted to a new location.
Lovage is highly winter-hardy, and is also able to grow successfully in areas of the garden with different lighting. Both the sun and partial shade are suitable for the bushes. The greatest amount of light is required for plantings during the flowering period - starting from the second year of life.
The degree of care for the bushes directly depends on the place of their planting. In the sun, lovage will have to be watered much more often. Otherwise, the taste of its greenery may change and become more bitter, and the foliage will coarsen. The growth rate of the bush will also slow down. In semi-shady areas, plantings often have enough natural precipitation: the soil in such corners of the garden dries out more slowly. After rain or watering, it is necessary to carry out weeding, as well as to loosen the ground near the bushes to a depth of 6 cm. This will improve the air flow to the root system.
Although planting in the sun becomes more demanding on moisture, it is very important to avoid overflow. Excessive moisture often leads to root diseases. To reduce the number of waterings, you can mulch the beds with peat or other organic compounds.
The bushes do not need frequent fertilization, but periodically they can still be fed. Nutrient mineral formulations or organic solutions are applied twice a month. Features of feeding are related to how exactly the grown bushes will be used. If the seeds will not be collected from the plants, it is recommended to remove the peduncles immediately after emergence. If lovage is grown for the sake of collecting rhizomes, wood ash can be used as top dressing. At the same time, too much foliage is not cut off from the plants - this will prevent them from growing the root. If lovage is grown specifically for the sake of foliage, you can feed the bushes with nitrogen contained in organic additives. This will allow you to cut fresh growth without hesitation - it will develop very actively.
In order for the leaves to remain tender and tasty and suitable for human consumption, it is necessary to remove the peduncles at an early stage of development, before they reach ten centimeters in length.
Rhizomes are harvested in early spring or autumn. In springtime, the roots are removed from the ground, washed, and then dried in a ventilated place or under a canopy, strung on a rope. Copies that are too large can be halved. For drying, you can use suitable electrical appliances or an oven. Lovage dries well at 35 degrees. Dried raw materials can be crushed in a coffee grinder, sieved and stored in a glass container. Keep the rhizome powder in a dark, dry and cool place.
When harvesting in autumn in winter, the rhizomes can be kept in the cellar, sprinkled with sand like carrots.
The collection of lovage leaves is carried out from the beginning of the flowering period until the end of the season. It is believed that before the formation of peduncles, they contain insufficient valuable substances. The best time for cutting is the time after the rain, but the leaf blades should have time to dry out. Drying foliage is no different than drying roots. They can be laid out on paper or linen in a well ventilated area. In the dryer, the foliage is also dried at 35 degrees, and then folded into a glass container.
Harvested seeds can also be used for drugs. After ripening, they are removed from the bushes, dried, threshed and kept in tightly closed containers.
Lovage bushes can be harmed by aphids and carrot flies. The fight against them is hampered by the use of plant greens in food, as well as its use in the composition of medicinal products. Because of this, the use of potent insecticides is prohibited. Pest control can be carried out only in sparing folk ways. Having noticed the problem in time, you can get rid of it in the early stages.
Aphids feed on the testes of bushes and multiply very quickly. Spraying the aerial part of the lovage with a solution of green soap (300 g of soap shavings per 10 liters of water) or an infusion of burning herbs (yarrow, tobacco) or vegetables (pepper, onion) will help to overcome it.
To cope with the carrot fly larvae devouring the roots of the bush, processing the foliage with a solution of pepper will help. Pepper (ground black or hot) is used in a proportion of 1 tbsp. spoon for 10 liters of water. This volume is enough to process 10 sq. m landings.
Gastropods can also harm lovage. Snails and slugs are able to make large holes in its foliage, sometimes eating the whole leaf blades. An obstacle will help to save from them: ash or ash is scattered half a meter from the bush, and granular superphosphate is thrown on top. It will not only prevent slugs from getting to the garden, but also serve as fertilizer for plants.
Of the diseases, lovage is most often affected by septoria. It is also called white spot - yellow spots with black dots in the center appear on the leaves and their petioles at this time. As the foliage develops, it begins to dry, and the bush itself dies. You can prevent infection by adjusting the watering regime. Moisture should feed the ground, but not stagnate at the roots of the bushes. When signs of the disease appear, the affected plates are removed, and the remaining bush is treated with a composition prepared from milk whey with a few drops of iodine.
The only plant species that has a number of varieties that differ in their characteristics:
The value of lovage is related to its composition. The plant contains vitamins and essential oils, numerous mineral elements, organic acids, gums, starch, as well as coumarin, resins, monosaccharides and disaccharides.
The rhizomes of bushes can produce antibacterial, bile and diuretic effects, help to cope with cramps, and also relieve pain. Powder obtained from dried roots can improve appetite, cure gout and swelling, and cope with urinary problems.
A decoction of rhizomes will help against coughs and insomnia. It is indicated for pain in the heart and with increased excitability. Roots can help in the treatment of diseases of the reproductive system. In addition, the foliage of the plant is considered a natural aphrodisiac - this feature is reflected in its many popular names. Lovage is able to normalize the menstrual cycle and reduce pain during this period, serving as an antispasmodic. Among the indications of this herb are also called renal failure and disorders of the digestive system.
Due to the presence of ascorbic acid in lovage, the plant helps to strengthen the immune system, protects against the development of oncology. By the content of carotene, lovage is practically equal to carrots. Its foliage can be added to salads both as a flavoring agent and for its beneficial properties. It helps to improve the activity of the nervous system, strengthens the body's defenses, helps maintain good vision, fights premature aging, dry skin and early wrinkles.
As with any herbal medicine, self-medication with lovage should not be practiced. Any course of such drugs had to be agreed with the doctor.
The pharmacy is underfoot. Lovage.
Lovage has a number of contraindications, including pyelonephritis and glomerulonephritis. It should not be consumed during pregnancy - the plant promotes blood flow to the pelvic organs. Refrain from it should be people with intolerance to the components that make up the plant.
author Semenov A., photo by author
Lovage is a perennial herbaceous rhizome plant with a pleasant taste and strong aroma. Close relatives of lovage are celery and parsley. The fragrant leaves of these plants are very similar in appearance.
A lovage bush with large, shiny, dark green, pinnately dissected leaves can rightfully be attributed to ornamental plants. During the flowering period, attention is also drawn to its large inflorescences-umbrellas on a high hollow peduncle.
Southern Europe and Asia are considered the homeland of lovage. This cold-resistant spice and medicinal plant has long been cultivated in many countries of the world.
Lovage belongs to giant plants: in our country house it grows up to 1.5 meters in height. And in very favorable conditions (on light, fertile, sufficiently moist soils) the height of the bush can reach two meters.
If we grow other green crops and spices in the beds or in the greenhouse, then unpretentious lovage, like rhubarb and parsley, can be planted and grown on the site anywhere. Until recently, lovage grew in our garden just among the trees. True, we weeded around it regularly. And only in connection with the redevelopment of the garden, a separate place was allocated for lovage near the fence.
A perennial herb with an erect, branched stem up to 2 m high. The leaves are large, shiny, dark green in color, pinnately dissected twice and thrice, toothed.In the first year, a rosette of leaves is formed, flowering occurs in the second year, in June - July. Umbrella inflorescences with small yellow flowers are located on tall large peduncles. The fruit is a two-seed. The seeds ripen in August - September, ripening even in the Non-Black Earth Region, and remain viable for 3-4 years.
Lovage is grown as a perennial crop. Prefers a sunny place, when planted in the shade, it will also grow well, but the size of the leaves will be smaller, and the aroma of greenery will become less saturated. The soil should be light and loose. The easiest way to get lovage is to ask gardeners you know to share an adult bush in the fall or spring. If this is not possible, it can be grown from seeds. They are sown for seedlings in March in containers to a depth of approximately 2 cm. When the seedlings acquire a pair of true leaves, they can be cut into separate pots. At the end of April, seeds can be sown directly into the heated ground, and then the seedlings can be planted in a permanent place. The distance between plants when planting in a permanent place should be at least a meter - the bush will grow powerful and spreading. Compost or humus is added to the holes. Lovage prefers neutral soil. Ash or dolomite flour can be used for deoxidation. The plant is quite resistant to drought, but with systematic watering, the greens will grow juicier. Care is usual: weeding, loosening, watering. It can grow in one place for many years, but with age, the growth of greenery becomes less intense, so it is worth renewing the plant every few years. Diseases are practically not affected.
1. As a fragrant seasoning for meat and fish dishes.
2. When salting vegetables for the winter.
3. As a seasoning for first courses.
4. In the food industry as a flavoring agent.
Settle lovage in your garden, and it will always help in love, and besides, it has many other useful properties.
Lovage is contraindicated in the following cases:
The described plant has many positive reviews and serves as an effective remedy for the treatment of alcoholism. But you should remember about the correct dosage and compliance with the recipe for the preparation of funds.
The greatest effect of lovage is produced as part of complex therapy, since this plant is not always able to cope with alcoholism on its own.
It is important to remember that lovage in any form should not be consumed by young children and pregnant women due to the possible abortive effect. In addition, this plant is not recommended for patients with hemorrhoids, acute nephritis and glomerunephritis, since lovage causes a rush of blood to all organs of the small pelvis.
Please note that before flowering, the lovage root is poisonous, that is, during this period it should never be used for treatment. Medicinal lovage can only be harvested in September. Infusions and decoctions can be prepared from both fresh and dried roots.... In order to be able to use lovage all year round, you need to thoroughly rinse the roots, cut them into small pieces and dry them at room temperature. You can store medicinal roots only in a glass jar with a tightly closed lid.
Lovage has the taste and smell of celery, but is much easier to grow. In the old days, various love potions were obtained from lovage, today it is used mainly in cooking and herbal medicine.
Sowing seeds (they remain viable for three years) or spring division of the bushes. The generous fertilization of the soil with humus has a beneficial effect on the development of the plant.
Remove old yellowing leaves regularly. In order to form young dense foliage by the middle of summer, cut the stems of old plants to a height of about 30 cm in spring. In autumn, mark the place where lovage grows: by winter all its aboveground parts will completely die off.
Young leaves are sometimes damaged by mining insects and slugs.
For culinary purposes, the leaves are harvested at any time as needed. If you are going to use them for medicinal purposes or for essential oil, prune them before the plant blooms. The roots (usually of three-year-old plants) are dug up in the fall. All parts of the lovage can be dried, and the fresh leaves can be folded into a plastic bag and kept in the refrigerator.
The only representative of the genus Levisticum. His homeland is the Mediterranean countries. The hollow stem of lovage reaches a height of 2 m and bears large feathery leaves, divided into wedge-shaped segments. Small yellow flowers are collected in umbrellas in early autumn, small ribbed seeds (fruits) ripen, which can be used in cooking instead of celery seeds. With the onset of cold weather, the aerial parts of the plant die off, but in the spring new shoots develop.
All lovage plants have a strong and persistent, specific smell, somewhat reminiscent of the smell of celery. Many gardeners consider it to be one of the best gingerbread plants.
Lovage root is good fresh, boiled and baked. It can be fried, meat is stewed with it, cutlets are made, added to soups and vegetables. Lovage leaves and young stems are used fresh and dried to flavor salads, minced meat, sauces, roasts, vegetables and stews. Lovage is especially good for meat broth. But due to its strong smell, it should be added in small quantities.
Fresh leaves, stems and roots of lovage are used as a salad or vegetable dish. Sandwiches with lovage are very tasty. To prepare them, finely chopped lovage leaves must be mixed with vegetable oil, salt to taste and put on slices of bread.
Large, juicy petioles and young shoots of lovage can be cut into pieces and boiled in sugar syrup to obtain a kind of candied fruit for cakes, casseroles and pies.
Lovage is also used for pickling and pickling cucumbers and tomatoes. Even small additions of lovage greenery greatly change the taste and give the canned food an exceptionally peculiar mushroom aroma. Young roots and stems of lovage are used for flavoring confectionery, as well as for making liqueurs.