Herb: Celeriac


Latin name: Apium graveolens rapaceum


Synonyms: Apium rapaceum


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Celeriac:

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 Celeriac:

Leaves - used as a flavouring in soups etc. They can be eaten raw but have a very strong flavour. Seed - a flavouring. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring. Root - raw or cooked. It can be grated and added to salads, baked or added to soups, stews etc.

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 Celeriac:

Seed - surface sow February in a greenhouse. The maincrop can be sown as late as mid-April. 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 rapaceum:

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.