Herb: Wild Celery

Latin name: Apium graveolens

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Wild Celery:

Wild celery has a long history of medicinal and food use. it 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:


60 cm
(2 feet)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Ditches, by rivers and in other damp locations, especially near the sea in salt marshes.

Edible parts of Wild Celery:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Mainly used as a flavouring in soups etc. They can be eaten raw but have a very strong flavour. They are toxic if consumed in large amounts. Seed - a flavouring. Used in small quantities to flavour soups and stews. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring. Root - cooked.

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 Wild Celery:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ. If seed is in short supply it can be sown in a cold frame in spring. 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:

Ditches, by rivers and in other damp locations, especially near the sea in salt marshes.

Known hazards of Apium graveolens:

If the plant is infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. This is more likely to happen to Caucasians.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.