Celery Seed (Apium graveolens L)
Apium is a strong-smelling, erect biennial herb, growing up to 60cm tall. It is native to indigenous to Europe, the US, Asia and Africa, and extensively cultivated in the temperate regions of Europe and North America. It has shiny pinnate leaves and large toothed leaflets. The flowers are white, arranged in compound umbels.
The dried ripe seeds are collected in September and are rich in volatile oils, coumarins, flavonoids and fatty acids.
Celery seed is used medicinally as a mild diuretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic, and as a urinary antiseptic. Herbalists use it primarily to treat rheumatism, arthritis, gout and inflammation of the urinary tract. It has a direct action on the kidneys, increasing the elimination of water and speeding up the clearance of accumulated toxins from the joints and so is of benefit in any oedematous condition that accompanies arthritis. It has a calming effect on the gut, and can be used in the relief of flatulence and griping pains.
Celery seed is also hypoglycaemic, and as such is helpful in diabetes; this seems to involve a direct action on the pancreas and its production of insulin.
The volatile oil in the seeds has been shown to have antifungal activity, and it is active against many bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.
In Germany, celery preparations are used to treat loss of appetite loss and exhaustion, and also in the prophylaxis of nervous exhaustion.
Celery seed should be avoided in pregnancy because it is a uterine stimulant. The volatile oil in quantity is toxic to the kidneys and so should not be used by anyone suffering from kidney disorders.
NB: The above information is for guidance only, and is not intended to take the place of diagnosis and treatment by a qualified practitioner. Some herbs may interact adversely with other medication, so make sure that your health professional is aware of everything you are taking.