Latin name: Apium graveolens

What is Celery?
Crisp and refreshing, celery is a biennial vegetable and member of the Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae) family, named for the umbrella-like flower clusters that grace the whole family of plants, including carrots, parsley, dill, cilantro, caraway, and cumin. While most people associate celery with its crunchy stalks, the leaves, the fleshy taproot (called celeriac), and seeds have all been used as a food, seasonings, and natural medicinal remedies.

The celery we happily crunch on today was derived from wild celery, thought to have originated in the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa and southern Europe, as well as in Asia, west of the Himalayas. Wild celery had less stalks and more leaves than today’s familiar version. Various types of celery are now grown all over the world.

What are the health benefits of Celery?
The first mention of celery’s medicinal properties dates back to the ninth century BC, when celery was mentioned in the Odyssey, the famous epic by Homer. The ancient Romans used it as a seasoning, a tradition that still holds today. In traditional Chinese medicine, celery juice is a remedy for high blood pressure. Drinking one to two large glasses a day, made fresh with a blender or juicer, will help prevent high blood pressure or restore it to normal. Studies show that this stalk contains more than a dozen anti-inflammatory agents, including one called apigenin, a compound similar to some anti-inflammatory drugs—but in a natural form, without side effects.

Additionally, celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including phthalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention. Celery is also a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, folate, molybdenum, manganese, calcium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus, and iron.

More information about the healing powers of Celery Seeds can be found in the Herb section.

Are there any precautions for Celery?
As celery has often appeared at the top of lists for pesticide content, choose your celery purveyor responsibly. Also, celery has been known to create severe allergic reactions in a rare few, so take precautions.

Where can I find Celery?
Celery can be found in most grocery stores and at outdoor markets in season. Celery is grown year-round, but is freshest during the summer months when it is in season.

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This entry was posted in Foods, Natural Health Dictionary.