Celery (Apium graveolens dulce)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Celery
Apium graveolens dulce
Umbelliferae

The growing plant is an insect repellent, it repels the cabbage white butterfly so is a good companion for brassicas[20].

  • Medicinal Use

    Although not as medicinally active as wild celery, the cultivated forms of celery also have the same medicinal properties and, when used as an item of the diet, will have a similar effect upon the body. These medicinal uses are as follows:-

    Wild celery is an aromatic bitter tonic herb that reduces blood pressure, relieves indigestion, stimulates the uterus and is anti-inflammatory[238].

    The ripe seeds, herb and root are aperient, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, nervine, stimulant and tonic[4, 7, 21, 165]. Wild celery is said to be useful in cases of hysteria, promoting restfulness and sleep and diffusing through the system a mild sustaining influence[4]. The herb should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. Seeds purchased for cultivation purposes are often dressed with a fungicide, they should not be used for medicinal purposes[238].

    The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried[238]. The whole plant is harvested when fruiting and is usually liquidized to extract the juice[238]. The seeds are harvested as they ripen and are dried for later use[238].

    An essential oil obtained from the plant has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Some of its constituents have antispasmodic, sedative and anticonvulsant actions. It has been shown to be of value in treating high blood pressure[254].

    A homeopathic remedy is made from the herb[9]. It is used in treating rheumatism and kidney complaints[9].

  • Edible Use

    Leaf stems – raw or cooked[1, 2, 16, 21]. A fairly common salad ingredient, celery stems are also used to make soups, stews etc. The winter varieties can be bitter if they are not blanched by excluding light from the stems for at least a few weeks prior to harvesting. Many people find the raw stalks are somewhat indigestible[113].

    Leaves – raw or cooked. They are often used as a flavouring in soups etc[9, 21, 46]. They can also be eaten raw but have a very strong flavour and are probably best as a minor ingredient in a mixed salad.

    Seed – used as a flavouring for sauces, soups, pickles etc[171, 183]. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring[183].

    Root – cooked. There is not much of it but it can be cut up and added to soups[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    If the plant is infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – germination can be erratic and the seed is best surface sow February in a greenhouse. The maincrop can be sown as late as mid-April. Outdoor sown seed rarely germinates satisfactorily[200]. Germinates in 2 – 3 weeks at 15¡c. Plant out in May. The seed can harbour certain diseases of celery, it is usually treated by seed companies before being sold but if you save your own seed you should make sure that only seed from healthy plants is used[1].
Prefers a rich light moist soil with some shade in summer[1, 16, 27, 37]. Prefers a sunny position and a pH between 6.6 and 6.8[200]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.2 to 8.3. Plants grow best in a climate with a mean temperature in the range 16 – 21¡c, leaf growth is poor at higher temperatures, low temperatures can induce the plant to run to seed prematurely. Plants with 5 or more true leaves will flower following exposure to temperatures between 5 – 10¡c for 10 days or more[200]. Celery is commonly cultivated in many regions of the world, mainly for its edible leaf stalks. There are many named varieties and these can supply fresh stalks from late summer to spring[46, 183]. There are two basic types of celery. Those grown for summer and autumn harvesting are called ‘self-blanching’ – the stems do not need to be blanched in order to be eaten, though they are usually grown quite closely together which tends to exclude quite a bit of light. Those cultivars harvested in the winter and spring tend to have bitter-tasting stems unless these are blanched by excluding light. A good companion for leeks, tomatoes, French beans and brassicas[18, 201].
A cultivated form of garden origin.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.