Botanical: Apium graveolens
Family: Umbelliferae (carrot) - Apiaceae (parsley)
Other common names: Smallage, Marsh Water Parsley, Wild Celery, Garden Celery, Marsh Parsley
Gout sufferers take heart! You may find relief with Celery Seed. Its exceptional diuretic action not only promotes the flow of urine and uric acid excretions from the kidneys, helping to flush kidney stones and gravel, but its antiseptic properties ease urinary inflammation and benefits the overall health of the urinary tract. Celery Seed is also thought to be an especially helpful anti-inflammatory for people who suffer from joint discomforts, such as arthritis and rheumatism.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Celery has been used since earliest times as a food, for flavoring and for medicinal purposes. Of uncertain origin, perhaps the Mediterranean region, the bitter marsh plant grew wild on wet and flooded salt marshes, and it is sometimes called "smallage," a biennial with stalks that grow from one to two feet. Celery Seed is the dried fruit (tiny brown seed with a celery-like flavor and aroma) of the Apium graveolens. Its botanical genus, the Latin, apium, may be derived from a prehistoric Indo-European word for water. If true, it seems logical that celery's growth preference is wet soil and marshes. The town of Selinunte in Sicily derived its name from the Greek word for the plant, selinon (Σέλινο). The ancient Egyptians used the plant for culinary purposes, and Celery leaves were part of the garlands discovered in the tomb of the Egyptian pharoah, Tutankhamun. The Greeks and Romans used Celery for medicinal and culinary purposes, and there was even a popular belief that it was an aphrodisiac. The use of Celery Seed for relieving pain and inflammation was described by Aulus Cornelius Celcus (circa 30 AD). It was also regarded in ancient times to have magical properties and was frequently associated with rites and celebrations of death and the underworld. In the Middle Ages, Italian farmers began to cultivate "smallage," and once begun, this cultivation steadily improved its quality. When the seeds were first used is not clear, but we know that the English herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, wrote in 1653 that Celery Seeds would "sweeten and purify the blood." Celery was introduced to the new world as a vegetable, but in the nineteenth century, it was known that the Shakers grew "smallage" for their medical remedies. The plant grows in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine for asthma, bronchitis, hiccups, flatulence and as a nerve tonic; and in Mainland China, it is taken to reduce hypertension. In temperate countries, Celery is also grown for its seeds, which yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. Celery Seeds can be used as flavoring or spice either as whole seeds or, ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. The seeds, harvested after the plant flowers in its second year, are the basis for homeopathic remedies as a diuretic and for urinary tract inflammations. Celery Seeds and stalks contain a sedative compound called phthalide, and the seeds contain essential oils (bergapten, apiole, which is very potent), 3-n-butylphthalide (3-n-B), beta-carotene, beta-sitosterol, fiber, flavonoids (apigenin, rutin, quercetin), calcium, choline, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, copper, chromium, bromine, sulfur, zinc, silicon, stearic acid, thymol, scopoletin, limonene, eugenol, P-coumaric acid, pectin, mannitol, essential fatty acids (linoleic acid, linolenic acid), amino acids, argenine, alanine, tryptophan, tyrosine, B-vitamins and vitamins A, C, E and K.
Celery Seed is an excellent herbal diuretic that promotes the flow of urine through the kidneys and increases uric acid excretions, helping to clear toxins from the system. This is especially good for gout, where excess uric acid crystals collect in the joints. Its diuretic action may also relieve bladder disorders, cystitis and other kidney problems including stones and gravel. Early herbalists used it as a cleansing tonic after the stagnation of winter, and herbalists in France today use the extract to relieve retention of urine.
Celery Seed may support a healthy heart. Its diuretic properties help to rid the body of excess water through increased urine flow, including the release of fluid surrounding the heart, which helps to reduce the heart's workload.
Celery Seed is considered beneficial for easing the discomfort and degeneration of the body joints frequently associated with age. Its anti-inflammatory properties also appear to help those who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout and neuralgia, and its diuretic qualities help flush impurities (including uric acid and other toxins) from the kidneys, which frequently cause these ailments. Considered a fine anti-inflammatory, the 3-n-butylphthalide content in Celery Seed is said to calm the action of COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that trigger pain and cause swelling and discomfort, especially in the joints. Moreover, researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center found that 3-n-B may also help lower blood pressure and improve overall circulation.
Although Celery is said to be a stimulant (particularly in kidney function), it is also known as a sedative that will calm stressed nerves and promote restfulness and sleep.
Celery Seed is thought to have a calming effect on the digestive system, enhancing appetite, relieving gas and indigestion.
In 2009, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that increased intake of the flavonoid apigenin, found in Celery (and parsley and cooked tomato), may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by twenty percent in a large, population-based study. The mechanism included an inhibitory effect on endogenous estrogen activity or a reduction on circulating estrogen levels via competition for estrogen receptors or suppression of estrogen biosynthesis.
Celery Seed is a popular folk remedy for promoting the onset of menstruation.
Celery Seed Herbal Supplement should not be used during pregnancy, as it is a uterine stimulant. Although used to promote digestive health, large amounts (many times the recommended dosage) should not be taken, since it may cause minor stomach upsets and diarrhea, in which case you should stop taking it. Use of Celery Seed may also increase photosensitivity. Any strong diuretic should not be used without a doctor's advice when acute kidney problems exist, and because Celery Seed is a strong diuretic, it should not be taken by those who are already taking prescription diuretic medications. When taking strong diuretics, it is wise to eat foods high in potassium (banana, etc.). Do not take Celery without talking to your doctor first if you are taking any blood thinning medicine, i.e., warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), aspirin, enoxaparin (Lovenox), dalteparin (Fragmin).