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Lovage, the aromatic Maggi herb, is one of the most popular spices in German cuisine. Which parts can be used? When and how should you harvest lovage? We have compiled the most important facts for you.

In a nutshell

  • botanical name: Levisticum officinale
  • Synonyms: maggi herb, celery herb, nerve herb, gout stick
  • Use as a medicinal and spice herb
  • usable parts: leaves, seeds, roots
  • best time to harvest before flowering in May and June

Healing spice

Lovage grows everywhere in German gardens. Its care is easy and hardly any housewife wants to do without the aromatic taste of the herb. It refines egg dishes, fish, hearty soups and must not be missing in mushroom dishes.
Many people only know the plant as maggi herb. In some regions, the names celery herb, nerve herb or gout stick are common. The medicinal and aromatic herb is already described in centuries-old herbal books.
As a medicinal herb, lovage is used for:

  • indigestion
  • gas
  • urinary tract infections
  • menstrual cramps
  • skin problems

Attention: Lovage has a relaxing and blood circulation-promoting effect. Pregnant women should avoid excessive consumption.

Usable plant parts

The leaves and seeds are mainly used to flavor dishes. The aromatic taste of lovage is based on the essential oils it contains. Leaves, fruits and roots are used in naturopathy.

harvesting the leaves

The feathery lovage leaves can be harvested fresh from spring to autumn. You can cut the leaves off the plant just before preparing the food. Regular harvesting stimulates the plant to form new shoots. If you rub the leaves between your fingers, the scent of celery emerges, which is responsible for the name "celery herb".

Manual:

  • Pick a dry morning in late May or early June for harvest.
  • Separate the leaves with a sharp knife.
  • Tie small bouquets.
  • Hang them up to dry in an airy place.
  • Store dried maggi herb in tightly sealed containers. It keeps the strong, spicy taste for several months.
  • You can freeze the chopped herb and use as needed.
Levisticum officinale, lovage, maggi herb

Did you know that lovage can be prepared like vegetables? Cook the herb only briefly. The taste is reminiscent of celery. Dried or fresh maggi herb is suitable for seasoning or for making tea. Lovage tea is used to relieve indigestion, dehydration and urinary tract infections.

harvesting the roots

The best time to harvest the roots is in spring or late fall. The roots and seeds are mainly used in medicine. The roots contain valuable essential oils. Even in dried root parts, the content is very high. Only after three years is it worth harvesting the roots of the lovage.

Manual:

  • Dig up the plant in autumn or spring
  • Separate the roots from the plant
  • Clean the roots
  • Cut the roots into slices or small pieces
  • Lay them on a kitchen towel to dry
  • Turn the lovage slices regularly until they are completely dry

The dried root pieces can be made into a tea.

harvesting the seeds

The lovage plant blooms with yellow flowers. The seeds emerge in late summer. When they are brown, you can harvest the lovage seeds.

Manual:

  • Cut off the faded flowers
  • Catch the seeds in a bag
  • Spread the collected seeds on a kitchen towel to dry
  • Store the dried seeds in a tightly sealable glass or ceramic container

The seeds of the maggi herb can be used for seasoning. Refine salads with it or make herb butter with lovage seeds. Lovage seeds are suitable for preparing a digestive, draining tea.

Tip: Lovage used to be used as a bath additive because of its skin-care and skin-cleansing properties. Enjoy the relaxing effect of the essential oils of the "nerve herb" in a hot bath.

frequently asked Questions

How long do dried lovage leaves last?

Use airtight containers to store the dried herbs. Store all herbs in a cool, dry, dark place. You can use the dried leaves for about 6 months. The aroma is not as intense as with fresh lovage.

When is the lovage aroma most intense?

The aroma of the herb is most intense in May and early June, before flowering begins. Choose a dry day for harvesting, then the essential oils will work best.

How Many Lovage Plants Should You Grow?

A single lovage plant is enough to flavor a family's dishes all year round. Once you've found a good spot in the garden, she'll keep coming back.

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