Celery, what is celery, Use of Celery, Celery seed, benefits of Celery, Chinese celery, Wild celery, Smallage, treatment for arthritis

Apium graveo/ens Umbelliferae/Apiaceae Also called Smallage, Wild celery, Chinese celery.

A biennial plant with a ridged, shiny stem, celery can grow to a height if 45cm. The stalks if the wild plant have an unpleasant taste and should not be confused with those if the cultivated variety. The plant has indented, aromatic leaves and small, white flowers. The small, brown seeds have a characteristic celery odour and taste.

Parts used


The seeds are collected during summer and autumn.


The seeds contain 1.5 to 3 per cent essential oil. mainly limonene. Phthalides present in the oil impart celery's characteristic odour. The seeds also contain coumarins, flavonoids and furanocoumarins.

Medicinal uses

Celery seeds have traditionally been used to treat rheumatism and tests performed in 1998 confirmed celery's anti-inflammatory and pain-killing qualities. Celery is also useful in treating arthritis and gout, perhaps as a result of its diuretic action, which may help to remove the toxins associated with these conditions.
The diuretic and antiseptic qualities of the seeds indicate their use in the treatment of cystitis and other urinary infections. The seeds are also reputed to expel trapped wind and so remedy flatulence. Celery is thought to lower blood pressure, and calm anxiety and tension. Studies published in Fitoterapia in 1985 document the sedative and antispasmodic effects of the phthalide compounds present in the essential oil. Celery has also been used to treat coughs, bronchitis, asthma, muscle spasms, hiccups and bad breath


  • Celery seeds are thought to stimulate the uterus, and so are not recommended for pregnant women.
  • Celery is also inadvisable for people with an acute renal disorder.
  • The furanocoumarins present may induce sensitivity to sunlight.
  • Celery may sometimes provoke an allergic reaction.


For internal use

TO TREAT rheumatism, arthritis and digestive problems INFUSION Put 1 teaspoon of seeds into a cup of boiling water. Infuse for 5-10 minutes, strain and drink 1 cup a day.

TINCTURE Take 30 drops in water three times a day.

LIQUID EXTRACT (diluted 1:1 in 90% alcohol) Take 0.5-2ml three times a day.



Grow from seed sown in spring, in damp, nutrient-rich soil in a sheltered location.


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