Monday, April 21, 2014
CELERY-Apium Graveolens, Apium Graveolens Dulce
Also known as: Selinon, Ache, Smallage
Parts Used: seeds, stalk, leaves
Meridians/Organs affected: urinary, kidney, spleen, structural, blood
Properties: aromatic, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic (especially for the urinary tract), antioxidant, sedative, emmenogogue (seeds), diuretic, carminative (seeds), anti-inflammatory, blood purifying
Celery is a member of the Umbelliferae family (along with carrots, queen anne's lace, etc.). There are a few varieties but all are grouped into two sub-groups-wild and cultivated. Wild celery is a native to the European salt marshes. The cultivated variety didn't show up on the records until 1623 when the French began growing it although it is believed the Italians cultivated it much earlier. It is a hardy biennial that grows mainly in damp areas in Asia, America, southern Europe and Africa. It has a ridged stalk, toothed leaves and a pungent flavor.
The Greeks and Romans consumed celery often. Pliny ate it as a vegetable when a lot of cultures were still using it merely for seasoning. (Europe and North America didn't start really using it until the 19th century-or rather it didn't become popular until that time). The Romans would weave celery garlands to wear on their heads to keep them from getting too drunk or having hangovers. The Greeks referred to it as 'selinon' or 'moon plant' and it was believed to be a strong tonic for the nervous system. Dioscorides, Hippocrates and Hildegarde of Bingen all considered it to be an excellent diuretic.
Celery has many uses. It is believed to be good for diabetics as it is a negative calorie food and can be eaten freely. It has insulin-like activity and suppresses adrenaline hyperglycemia. As it is diuretic in nature, celery can be useful for menopause, menstruation, edema or to help relieve bloating due to over indulging. It has been found to help with cystitis (when juiced and drunk) and as a gargle for loss of voice. Celery seed oil has been found helpful for those with nervous fatigue and was often used in bath water for this purpose. Celery contains apigenin-which dilates the blood vessels and helps reduce blood pressure. Celery seed is good also to reduce inflammation that causes arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Celery itself contains phytochemicals that have also been found beneficial for cancer. It has antioxidant effects on the cleansing organs (liver and kidneys) that help push toxins from the system.
Both celery stalk and celery seeds are often used to flavor soups, stews, sauces and in sausage. In many other countries it also is used in perfumery. In some countries it is believed to aphrodisiac effects (the jury is still out on that one) and to help one live a longer life. Jethro Kloss said it is excellent for incontinence, neuralgia and liver problems. Celery seeds have been used to treat chronic bladder issues, obesity, flatulence, pulmonary catarrh, gout, impotence, frigidity and delayed menses. Celery stalk is a sedative and often used to cool the body in heat conditions. Pregnant women should not use it as it is considered to be an abortifacient.
As is common with my posts I am leaving some links here for your personal use. May they serve you well.