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Earthnotes
Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



CELERY
and Celeriac

UMBELLIFERAE
aka Garden Celery, Small ache, Smallage, Wild Celery
(Apium graveolens) (Wild) and (Apium graveolens var. Dulce) (Garden)
[hàn qín]
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Wild Celery is a member of the Parsley family which contains many POISONOUS PLANTS and is toxic in its own right in large amounts. Wildcrafting is seriously warned against! A fatal mistake would be a simple thing to blunder into. Garden Celery (available at the supermarket) is preferred; seeds collected from the Garden varieties are available through herb suppliers.
NOT taken medicinally during PREGNANCY!
NOT taken with kidney problems!
Wild celery especially, under wet conditions, can cause a rash. Field workers handling celery have been known to develop dermatitis similar to poison ivy!
The oil causes photosensitivity. If using, avoid sunlight!
Possible though small danger to cattle browsing celery tops which contain 3 to 3.8% nitrates!

CONTAINS: Volatile oil, flavonoids, glycosides, furanocoumins, fixed oil, resin, quercetin, sugars, apigenin, apigravin, apiin, asparagine, bergapten, butylidenephthalide (helps trigger menstrual flow), choline, glutamine, hydroxymethoxypsoralen, isoimperatorin, isopimpinellin, limonene, linamarose, linase, myristic acid, osthenol, sedanolide, selenine, seselin, umbelliferone, linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, petroselinic acid, glycolic acid.
BASED ON ZERO MOISTURE per 100 GRAMS = 3.2% ash, .800 mg calcium, trace mg chromium, 0.2 mg cobalt, 6.6% fat, 12 mg iron, 73 mg magnesium, 0.63 mg manganese, 1.20 mg niacin, 466 mg phosphorus, 576 mg potassium, 0.06 mg riboflavin, 0.02 mg selenium, 0.45 mg silicon, 212 mg sodium, 0.12 mg thiamine, 6,000 IU vitamin A, 170 mg vitamin C, 0.12 mg zinc.
WATER CONTENT = 79% when fresh, 8% when dried.
NOTE: Apigenin dilates blood vessels and may help to prevent High Blood Pressure. Also, the juices of celery, carrot, and parsley may act as mild calcium channel blockers in cases of angina.



Celery is native to southern Europe, Asia, and Africa, found mainly near the coast in marshy areas and is more successfully grown in the southern regions. LEAVES shiny, pinnate with 3 to 5 crenated 3-lobed segments. FLOWERS small, white, appearing on small umbels, nearly sessile. FRUITS small, elliptic, dark brown with slight lateral compression and ribbed and with characteristic celery odor. Many garden varieties have been cultivated from wild celery.

Wild celery is astrologically ruled by Venus, while Garden Celery is ruled by Mercury.



PROPAGATION: By SEED in late spring, soil temp being 55 to 60 degrees F.
NEEDS: Biennial common garden vegetable cultivated for its stalks, leaves and seeds. Commonly grown as an annual. Grown as a crop in Michigan and Wisconsin. Requires rich damp soil soil and sun or part shade and in a sheltered position. Will tolerate some soil salinity. Susceptible to slugs, celery-fly maggot, celery leafspot, and mosaic virus.
PART USED: Leaf stalks & Leaves anytime during the growing season; Seed when ripe (seed offered for planting should never be consumed since it has usually been treated with a fungicide). Of Wild Celery, traditionally the roots, leaves and seeds were used. For Celeriac, only the root is used.
HARVEST: Whole plant. Ripe Seeds in second year.
SOLVENT: Alcohol (seeds), Water.
RELATED VARIETY:
FINE LEAF CELERY (A. graveolens - Dutch): A biennial which is treated as an annual in the north and grown for its leaf production. Propagation is by seed. It requires full sun and rich garden soil. Leaves are harvested as available for culinary use and used fresh or dried wherever a delicate hint of celery is desired. A much finer flavor than Lovage.
RELATED GENUS:
WILD MOUNTAIN CELERY (Pseudocymopterus montanus): A delicate plant growing to one foot high which is found in the mountains of the southwestern United States. The entire fresh plant in flower has been used as a dye by the Navajo. A light canary yellow is obtained using an alum mordant. 1 lb of wild mountain celery is added to 5 gallons of water and boiled for 2 hours, then strained. 1/4 cup of raw alum is added, being stirred, then boiled for 10 minutes. The wet yarn is added and stirred well, then let boil for 15 minutes. The yarn is removed and rinsed. The dye water can be reused a 2nd time to produce a lighter shade of yellow.



USES

MEDICINAL:
ALL PARTS considered alterative, cooling, aromatic, anti-rheumatic, nutritive, hypoglycemic, lactogogue, urinary antiseptic, blood purifier, antioxidant, sedative, tonic; possible antifungal activity; bitter digestive aid and liver stimulant. SEED is considered spicy, warm, carminative, diuretic, appetite stimulant, aphrodisiac, tonic, astringent (bowels), laxative, appetizer, stimulant, emmenogogue, anthelmintic, abortifacient, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, lactogogue, hyperglycemic. STALK is considered cooling, sedative. ROOT is considered alterative, diuretic. JUICE is considered alkaline, eliminative, emmenogogue. Affects urinary and structural systems and spleen.
As a diuretic 3 Tbsp of bruised seeds have been added to 1 pint of brandy or red wine, then steeped one week and taken 1 Tbsp at a time mixed in 1/4 cup of water, 3 times daily; the mixture has also been used for flatulance.
Has been used both as treatment and preventative for arthritis and rheumatism and for the depression associated with rheumatic diseases; has also been used for osteoarthritis, cardiac arrhythmia, renal stones, dropsy, uterine tract infections, diabetes, flatulence, griping, water retention, dysuria, dyspepsia, atypical uterine bleeding, gout (increases uric acid excretions). In fact, any condition pointing to accumulated acidic waste in the body.
Has been combined with Dandelion for treatment of arthritis with more Dandelion root to Celery (1 part celery seed to 3 parts dandelion) if there is a digestive or metabolic component, or more Celery to Dandelion root if water retention is a problem. SEEDS have been used for rheumatoid arthritis. Has sometimes been combined with Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) for rheumatic conditions.
Has been used externally for fungal infections.
Helps lower blood pressure. (1 oz of celery seed boiled in 1 pint of water until reduced to half; strain and bottle; 1 tsp taken daily for rheumatism, neuritis, inflammation. Small amounts of the decoction can be added to cooking for arthritis or rheumatism. A tincture of the root has also been used for high blood pressure and also for urinary problems, arthritis and as a blood cleanser. In one study involving high blood pressure, lab animals were injected with an extract which reportedly lowered blood pressure significantly.
Has been used after childbirth to assist the uterus in readjustment.
Tea (infusion) has been used for gout, hives, hysteria, insomnia, kidney stones, lung congestion, rheumatism. Has also been used as a wash or douche to relieve venereal itching.
A decoction of the SEED has been used for bronchitis, rheumatism, and as a sedative for nervous disorders.
ROOT has been used for urinary stones and gravel. Oil from the root has been used in Chinese medicine for impotency.
The JUICE has been used for joint and urinary tract inflammations, dropsy, rheumatism, gout, overweight, flatulance, chronic lung congestion, rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis, urethritis, debility, nervous exhaustion, neuralgia (also the infusion).
Gout has been treated with 15 drops of the oil in a bowl of warm water in which the feet are soaked. The oil has also been used externally for tumors.
Used in Chinese medicine for kidney and bladder problems, dizziness (seed), overweight, flatulance, dropsy, lung congestion, rheumatism, gout, arthritis, delayed menses, impotence, female sexual frigidity.
In Ayurvedic medicine it has been used for asthma, bronchitis, hiccups and flatulence.
An article in the Journal of Metabolic Research (1923) reported some insulin-like activity. Planta Medica (1963 - Sharef, Hussein, & Mansour) reported on celery's ability to suppress adrenaline hyperglycemia (meaning it had anti-diabetic properties).

DOSE:
TRADITIONAL DOSES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY!
All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
GRAINS = 20 to 60
INFUSION = 1/2 oz bruised seed or 1/2 oz dried leaf or stalks in 1 pint of water, steeped 10 to 15 minutes (OR - 1 tsp of seeds to 1 cup of boiling water). According to Dorothy Hall (Australian herbalist), 1 cup should be taken only every few days, others recommend 1 cup daily, while another school of thought recommends 1 to 2 Tbsp at a time, every 4 hours. The infusion, prepared in advance, has been added in small amounts to soups and stews on a daily basis as a therapeutic treatment for arthritis and rheumatism.
DECOCTION = 1/2 oz seed in 1/2 cup water, boiled 5 minutes, then strained. Care should be taken not to take large amounts as very highly occurring natural minerals can upset the mineral balance of the body.
JUICE = 1 Tbsp 2 to 3 times daily, taken before meals
OIL = 2 drops in water, 2 times daily
MASSAGE OIL = 5 to 10 drops of the oil in 20 ml (4 tsp) of olive, almond or other carrier oil; massaged into arthritic joints.

HOMEOPATHIC:
Used for nervous headache, heartburn, discharge from ear, post-nasal congestion, vomiting, toothache, hives, water retention.

VETERINARY:
Celery given to dogs and cats as part of a naturopathic diet along with other vegetables.

CULINARY:
Used as a vegetable, raw or cooked, in soups, stews, and casseroles.
The seeds and oil are used as a condiment.
Blanch the stalks before eating to easily remove the skins.
The seed, seed extract, and oil are used to commercially flavor beverages, celery salt, meats, soups, pickles, and bakery produce.
Used to flavor vermouth.
The leaves are an important part of Chinese cooking, the leaves being stronger in flavor.

OTHER:
The oil is used commercially in perfumery, soapmaking, detergents, skin care products, and pharmaceuticals with a large proportion of the seed oil coming from France.
In Earth religions, the seed of garden celery is considered a 'visionary' herb. A tea of the seed is believed to open the mind and improve concentration.





©2000 & 2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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