Herb: Celery


Latin name: Apium graveolens dulce


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Celery:

Although not as medicinally active as wild celery, the cultivated forms of celery also have the same medicinal properties and, when used as an item of the diet, will have a similar effect upon the body. These medicinal uses are as follows:- Wild celery is an aromatic bitter tonic herb that reduces blood pressure, relieves indigestion, stimulates the uterus and is anti-inflammatory. The ripe seeds, herb and root are aperient, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, nervine, stimulant and tonic. Wild celery is said to be useful in cases of hysteria, promoting restfulness and sleep and diffusing through the system a mild sustaining influence. The herb should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Seeds purchased for cultivation purposes are often dressed with a fungicide, they should not be used for medicinal purposes. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried. The whole plant is harvested when fruiting and is usually liquidized to extract the juice. The seeds are harvested as they ripen and are dried for later use. An essential oil obtained from the plant has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Some of its constituents have antispasmodic, sedative and anticonvulsant actions. It has been shown to be of value in treating high blood pressure. A homeopathic remedy is made from the herb. It is used in treating rheumatism and kidney complaints.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Celery:

Leaf stems - raw or cooked. A fairly common salad ingredient, celery stems are also used to make soups, stews etc. The winter varieties can be bitter if they are not blanched by excluding light from the stems for at least a few weeks prior to harvesting. Many people find the raw stalks are somewhat indigestible. Leaves - raw or cooked. They are often used as a flavouring in soups etc. They can also be eaten raw but have a very strong flavour and are probably best as a minor ingredient in a mixed salad. Seed - used as a flavouring for sauces, soups, pickles etc. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring. Root - cooked. There is not much of it but it can be cut up and added to soups.

Other uses of the herb:

The growing plant is an insect repellent, it repels the cabbage white butterfly so is a good companion for brassicas.

Propagation of Celery:

Seed - germination can be erratic and the seed is best surface sow February in a greenhouse. The maincrop can be sown as late as mid-April. Outdoor sown seed rarely germinates satisfactorily. Germinates in 2 - 3 weeks at 15C. Plant out in May. The seed can harbour certain diseases of celery, it is usually treated by seed companies before being sold but if you save your own seed you should make sure that only seed from healthy plants is used.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Apium graveolens dulce:

If the plant is infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.