Celery is a biennial that grows about 40 cm high and is more familiar as a vegetable than medicine but it has long been used as a medicine. It is a good cleanser, diuretic, lowers blood pressure and the seeds are used for arthritic conditions (1).
Celery likes fertile soil with an abundance of organic matter, cool temperatures and constant moisture. It will not tolerate heat and can be hard to transplant. Tie growing celery stalks together to keep them from sprawling.
How to Plant
Seeds are sown in spring and covered with a thin layer of soil, 6 to 10mm. Plants 25 x 30cm apart. Soaking seeds in warm water overnight prior to planting will reduce germination time.
How to Water
Be generous with water and make sure the soil does not dry out completely.
Celery is said to go well with bush beans, the cabbage family, tomatoes and onions.
How to Propagate
Propagation is done through seeds. To save seeds let some plants go to flower and pick the stalks as they begin to dry and place them in the shade to dry completely, when ready break open the seed heads.
How to Harvest
Harvesting of the vegetable takes place midsummer to autumn, about 100 days after seeds were sown. Seeds are harvested when the stalks begin to dry.
The stems are eaten raw for nourishment and can be made into juice. The seeds contain volatile oil and are the main part used medicinally.
Juice (quarter cup a day) can be used for cleansing (add the same amount of carrot juice as an option) (1). An infusion of the seeds can be used for gout and arthritis (half a cup a day), 2 tsp crushed seeds/cup, infuse 15 min (1, 3). A tincture and powder of the seeds can also be made for rheumatism. Do not take during pregnancy, breastfeeding or if you are suffering from a kidney disorder(1, 3).
Cleansing, rheumatism, gout, arthritis, reducing acid throughout the body, improve circulation, lower blood pressure, antiseptic, for cystitis, nutritious and can be combined with other medicinal plants. Can be used both topically and internally (1, 3).
Volatile oil 1.5-3% containing limonene (60-70%), phthalides and beta-selinene, Butylphthalide, Coumarins, Furanocoumarins (bergapten and Flavonoids (apiin) (1).
Anti-rheumatic, carminative, antispasmodic, diuretic, lowers blood pressure, sedative, anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-gout, antispasmodic, stimulant, bitter, digestive tonic, uterine stimulant and urinary antiseptic (1, 3).
Research in Germany and China shows that the essential oil has a calming effect on the central nervous system and lowering blood pressure. Some of its constituents have antispasmodic, sedative and anticonvulsant actions (1). Studies in animal models suggest that butylphthalide may be useful for the treatment of hypertension and may have neuroprotective effects.