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.
* 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 for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. 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 healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
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.
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.
Ashwood-Smith MJ, Ceska O, Yeoman A, et al. Photosensitivity from harvesting lovage (Levisticum officinale). Contact Dermatitis 1992;26(5):356-357.
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.
Conway GA, Slocumb JC. Plants used as abortifacients and emmenagogues by Spanish New Mexicans. J Ethnopharmacol 1979;1(3):241-261.
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.
Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2000;57(13):1221-1227.
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.
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.