|| Apium graveolens
Celery seed is one of the lesser-known herbs in Western herbal medicine.
However, it has been used for thousands of years in other parts of the world for
a variety of reasons. During ancient times, Ayurvedic physicians (vaidyas) used
celery seed to treat people with colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion,
various types of arthritis, and certain ailments of the liver and spleen.
Today, celery seed is used primarily as a diuretic to promote the excretion
of urine. The diuretic action combined with the presence of anti-bacterial
compounds in celery seed also make it useful in treating urinary tract
infections. Laboratory studies have found that compounds in celery seed and its
essential oil may also help reduce muscle spasms, calm the nerves, and reduce
inflammation. In fact, some experts claim that celery seed alleviates the pain
associated with certain inflammatory health conditions such as arthritis and
In addition, a few animal studies suggest that celery seed extracts may have
activity to help lower blood pressure and cholesterol as well as protect the
liver from damaging agents such as acetominophen (also called paracetamol; an
over the counter medication for pain and headache that can cause liver damage if
taken in large quantities.)
None of these claims, however, have not been studied in people to date or
backed by rigorous scientific studies. So, further research is needed to
determine the safety and effectiveness of celery seed for the conditions
Preliminary animal studies have also found that celery seed helps prevent the
formation of cancerous tumors in mice. In a study that included large numbers of
people with and without colorectal cancer, researchers found that people who
consumed a diet rich in lutein (from celery, spinach, broccoli, lettuce,
tomatoes, oranges, carrots, and greens) were significantly less likely to
develop colorectal cancer. It is not clear, however, whether celery alone played
an important role in the prevention of this disease and how the information
about these whole foods relates to the extracts and isolates of celery seed.
The celery plant is slender and stands about two to three feet tall. It has
three to five segmented leaves, and flowers with small white petals. Celery
seeds, which are found in the flowers, are very small, tan to dark brown, and
have a strong, pleasant smell.
|What's It Made Of?|
Celery seeds contain several substances including volatile oils, flavonoids,
coumarins, and linoleic acid.
- Fresh or dried seeds
- Capsules filled with celery seed oil
- Celery seed extract, in which the active ingredients of celery seed
have been extracted by alcohol or glycerin
|How to Take It|
There are no known scientific reports on the pediatric use of celery seed.
Therefore, it is not currently recommended for medicinal purposes in
Celery seed oil capsules or tablets: One to two capsules or tablets three
times a day, as directed by your health care provider.
Celery seed extract: 1/4 to 1/2 tsp three times a day, or as directed by your
health care provider. (Always take with plenty of juice or with water at
mealtime, unless instructed otherwise.)
Whole celery seeds: Prepare a tea by pouring boiling water over one teaspoon
(1 to 3 g) of freshly crushed seeds. Let it steep for 10 to 20 minutes before
drinking. Drink three times a day.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and
treating disease. Herbs, however, contain active substances that can trigger
side effects and that can interact with other herbs, supplements, or
medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the
supervision of a practitioner knowledgeable in the field of botanical
Pregnant women should not use celery seed because it may uterine bleeding and
cause muscle contractions in the uterus.
People with active kidney inflammation should also avoid this herb.
Although uncommon, allergic reactions (even anaphylaxis) to celery seed may
develop in people who handle or ingest celery. In fact, some individuals who are
allergic to birch pollen may also be allergic to celery seed.
Active compounds in celery stems and seeds can cause the skin to become
highly sensitive to UV rays (called photodermatitis). For this reason, people
taking celery seed should use sunscreen or sunblock lotions to protect their
skin from the sun.
Celery seeds should not be taken from a garden packet. Most seeds sold for
these purposes have been treated with chemicals and should not be taken
There are no known scientific reports of interactions between celery seed and
conventional medications. However, given that celery seed is an herb with
diuretic effects, people taking prescription diuretics (such as furosemide or
hydrochlorothiazide) should not take this herb without first consulting a
Similarly, celery contains properties that may thin the blood, thus making it
somewhat of a concern to take with blood thinning medications such as warfarin
or aspirin. If you take warfarin in particular you should not use celery seed
without first consulting your healthcare provider.
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Banerjee S, Sharma R, Kale RK, Rao AR. Influence of certain essential oils on
carcinogen-metabolizing enzymes and acid-soluble sulfhydryls in mouse liver.
Nutr Cancer. 1994;21:263-269. Abstract.
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Communications; 1998:35-36; 214-215; 245-249.
Boffa MJ, Gilmour E, Ead RD. Case report. Celery soup causing severe
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Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed.
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Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal. 4th ed. New York: The
Haworth Herbal Press; 1999:101-103.
Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative
therapies and warfarin. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2000;57(13):1221-1227.
Ko FN, Huang TF, Teng CM. Vasodilatory action mechanisms of apigenin isolated
from Apium graveolens in rat thoracic aorta. Biochim Biophys Acta.
November 14; 1991;1115:69-74.
Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in
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Publishing; 1999; 82.
Singh A, Handa SS. Hepatoprotective activity of Apium graveolens and
Hygrophila auriculata against paracetamol and thioacetamide intoxication
in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 1995;49:119-126.
Slattery ML, Benson J, Curtin K, Ma K-N, Schaeffer D, Potter JD. Carotenoids
and colon cancer. Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71:575-582.
Teng CM, Lee LG, Ko SN, et al. Inhibition of platelet aggregation by apigenin
from Apium graveolens. Asia Pac J Pharmacol. 1985;3:85.
Tsi D, Das NP, Tan BK. Effects of aqueous celery (Apium graveolens) extract
on lipid parameters of rats fed a high fat diet. Planta Med.
Zheng GQ, Kenney PM, Zhang J, Lam LK. Chemoprevention of
benzo[a]pyrene-induced forestomach cancer in mice by natural phthalides from
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|Review Date: April 2002|
|Reviewed By: Participants in the review process include: Steven Dentali, PhD (April 1999),
Senior Director of Botanical Science, Rexall Sundown, Boca Raton, FL; Jacqueline
A. Hart, MD, Department of Internal Medicine, Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Harvard
University and Senior Medical Editor Integrative Medicine, Boston, MA; Gary
Kracoff, RPh (Pediatric Dosing section February 2001), Johnson Drugs, Natick,
MA; Steven Ottariono, RPh, Veteran's Administrative Hospital, Londonderry, NH;
R. Lynn Shumake, PD (April 1999), Director, Alternative Medicine Apothecary,
Blue Mountain Apothecary & Healing Arts, University of Maryland Medical
Center, Glenwood, MD; Tom Wolfe, P.AHG (April 1999), Smile Herb Shop, College
Park, MD. All interaction sections have also been reviewed by a team of experts
including Joseph Lamb, MD (July 2000), The Integrative Medicine Works,
Alexandria, VA;Enrico Liva, ND, RPh (August 2000), Vital Nutrients, Middletown,
CT; Brian T Sanderoff, PD, BS in Pharmacy (March 2000), Clinical Assistant
Professor, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; President, Your
Prescription for Health, Owings Mills, MD; Ira Zunin, MD, MPH, MBA (July 2000),
President and Chairman, Hawaii State Consortium for Integrative Medicine,
Copyright © 2004 A.D.A.M., Inc
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