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Celery and Celeriac as an Herb

Celery and Celeriac as an Herb

Apium graveolens, Wild and Apium graveolens var. Dulce, Garden

Other names: Garden Celery, Small ache, Smallage, Wild Celery

Wild Celery is a member of the parsley family which contains many poisonous plants and is toxic in its own right in large amounts. Wild crafting 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.

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. The fruits are small, elliptic, dark brown with slight lateral compression and ribbed and with characteristic celery odor. Many garden varieties have been cultivated from wild celery.

A touch of astrology:   Wild celery is astrologically ruled by Venus, while Garden Celery is ruled by Mercury.

The water content is 79 percent when fresh, 8 percent when dried.

Celery as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

All parts are 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.

The seed is considered spicy, warm, carminative, diuretic, appetite stimulant, aphrodisiac, tonic, astringent (bowels), laxative, appetizer, stimulant, emmenogogue, anthelmintic, abortifacient, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, lactogogue, hyperglycemic.

A decoction of the seed has been used for bronchitis, rheumatism, and as a sedative for nervous disorders. The stalk is considered cooling and sedative. The root is considered alterative and diuretic. Root has also been used for urinary stones and gravel.

Oil from the root has been used in Chinese medicine for impotency. Nature's Kiss Celery Seed Essential Oil has a warm, spicy, sweet and long lasting aroma with a herbal fragrance. Celery seed essential oil works as a sedative to the central nervous system. It can help you relax and get restful sleep simply through its aroma.

The oil can also help reduce water retention as it is a diuretic. It can help clean toxins out of the body. It is noted as one of the best essential oils for liver cleansing and it is a natural remedy for gout as it aids in the removal of uric acid.

The juice is considered alkaline, eliminative, emmenogogue. Affects urinary and structural systems and spleen. The juices of celery, carrots, and parsley may act as mild calcium channel blockers in cases of angina. Celery juice powder is popular for making fresh celery juice as needed - no waste.

As a diuretic 3 tablespoons of bruised seeds have been added to 1 pint of brandy or red wine. Then steep one week and take 1 tablespoon at a time mixed in 1/4 cup of water. Do this 3 times daily. This mixture has also been used for flatulance.

Celery has been used both as treatment and preventative for arthritis and rheumatism and for the depression associated with rheumatic diseases. It has also been used for osteoarthritis, cardiac arrhythmia, renal stones, dropsy, uterine tract infections, diabetes, flatulence, griping, dysuria, dyspepsia and atypical uterine bleeding. In fact, any condition pointing to accumulated acidic waste in the body has been treated by celery.

The oil has been combined with Dandelion for treatment of arthritis. More Dandelion root to celery is used. A typical concoction would be 1 part celery seed to 3 parts dandelion. Add more celery to dandelion root if water retention is a problem.

Celery Seeds

Whole celery seeds have been used for rheumatoid arthritis. Has sometimes been combined with Bogbean (Menyanthes trifoliata) for rheumatic conditions.

Helps lower blood pressure. The following concoction would be used for this malady.

  • 1 ounce of celery seed boiled in 1 pint of water until reduced to half. Strain and bottle.
  • Take 1 teaspoon daily for rheumatism, neuritis and/or 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.

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.

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.

Other Uses

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

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.

Wild Mountain Celery (Pseudocymopterus montanus)

Celeriac root 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 pound 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.

Concoctions

  • Infusion: 1/2 ounce bruised seed or 1/2 ounce dried leaf or stalks in 1 pint of water, steeped 10 to 15 minutes (OR - 1 teaspoon 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 tablespoons 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 ounce 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 tablespoon 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.

Culinary Uses of Celery

Celery foods

  • 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.
  • Used to flavor vermouth.
  • The seed, seed extract, and oil are used to commercially flavor beverages, celery salt, meats, soups, pickles, and bakery produce.
  • The leaves are an important part of Chinese cooking, the leaves being stronger in flavor.

Celery Root Puree

Peel and cut 1 large organic celery root (about 1-1/2 pound) into 2-inch chunks. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with salted water. Bring to a simmer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and transfer celery root to food processor with 1/2 cup organic 2 percent milk, 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and 1/2 teaspoon each kosher salt and black pepper.
Puree until smooth. Makes four servings.

Nutrition information per serving: 101 calories, 3g protein, 15g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 4g sugars, 4g fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 397mg sodium.

Cautions

  • Should not be taken medicinally during pregnancy.
  • Should 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.

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