The name “lovage” comes from “love-ache”, which was the traditional name for parsley in Medieval times. This plant tastes of both celery and parsley. However, its celery taste is stronger in some varieties. Since lovage, parsley, and celery are all in the family Apiaceae, their hollow-stemmed, fragrant plant structure attracts a multitude of beneficial insects.
Lovage is a perennial and can grow up to eight feet tall, with leaves similar to cilantro. It grows in full sun, as it is native to the Mediterranean, but will do well it partial shade. Most find that lovage will do well after a period of cold, so it would be best to plant this as a fall/winter crop in our area. The plant is usually propagated by root division, but will grow easily from seed.
All parts of the plant can be used, but most use the leaves and stems in soups and stews. The roots are also edible and taste of celery, and the seeds are used as a spice, in the same way as fennel. Many years ago, the herb was used medicinally. Its uses include relieving gas and soothing rough patches on the skin. It also is used as a gentle diuretic, promoting urination without discomfort.