What is Celery Seed?
Celery seeds are found in the flowers of the well-known celery plant. These small, tan to dark brown seeds have a strong but pleasant smell, and they are occasionally used in South Asian cooking recipes as a spice or for flavouring. Other names for celery seed include Ajamoda, Ajmoda, Ajwain, Apii Frutus, Apio, Karmauli, Apium Graveolens and Celery Tuber. Celery seeds contain many healthy compounds such as flavonoids, antioxidants, polyacetylenes, coumarins, phthalides (d-limonene, selinene, and other related phthalides), linoleic acid, omega-6 fatty acid and apiol. An important natural flavonoid, Apigenin, is also extracted from celery seed which acts as a neurogenesis stimulator in adults and may help in the treatment of many neurological diseases. Also, celery seed oil and extract is used in many modern day perfumes and pharmaceuticals.
What are the Health Benefits of Celery Seed?
Celery seed and its oil have been used for thousands of years in the treatment of many ailments. It is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, calming, and diuretic activity. It has been used to treat the following problems and conditions:
- Stomach and digestive issues such as dyspepsia/poor digestion, irregular bowel movement (IBS), loss of appetite, flatulence
- Water retention
- Joint pains
- Muscle spasms
- Hysteria and nervousness
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Low libido
- Menstrual problems
Studies also show the effective use of the seed as a natural mosquito repellent.
Health Uses of Celery Seed
Celery Seed has been effectively used in relieving indigestion, upset stomach, bloating and flatulence. Simply taking 1/4 teaspoon of organic Celery Seed with water once daily may help resolve these stomach problems.
Natural Mosquito Repellent
Celery Seed oil can be used to repel mosquitoes. A clinical study showed that applying a gel containing 5%-25% celery extract kept mosquitoes away for about 4 hours. However, simply mixing a few drops of Celery Seed oil into your regular body lotion and applying it onto exposed areas of your skin before going out in the evening can also keep the mosquitoes away.
High Blood Pressure
Studies show that Celery Seed acts as a vasodilator by widening blood vessels and improves circulation. It also has diuretic activity, while helps reduce fluid volume in the body. When these two activities occur together, the result is lower blood pressure levels. In fact, a recent study on 30 patients suffering from mild to moderate blood pressure levels showed that administering 150 mg of Celery Seed extract per day lowered both systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) levels in those patients. Therefore, for mild to moderate hypertension, using one teaspoon of organic Celery Seeds or one capsule of Celery Seed extract once daily may help. However, if you are already taking medication for hypertension, it is recommended to consult your doctor before taking it to avoid having blood pressure levels fall too low.
Menstrual Discomfort and PMS
Celery Seed, its oil and its extract have been used in the treatment of menstrual discomfort, menstrual flow, dysmenorrhea, and irregular menstrual cycles. Celery Seed contains apiol which is beneficial for the endocrine system and helps with PMS and menstrual disorders. According to recent research, taking Celery Seed extract along with saffron and anise seed extract 3 times daily during the first 3 days of menstruation may help with menstrual pains and cramps. Therefore, taking one to two capsules of Celery Seed extract once daily for three days from the first day of a menstrual cycle may alleviate the severity of menstrual discomfort and help with PMS.
Celery Seed tea is popular for weight loss as it helps boost your metabolism. A simple remedy is to boil 1 teaspoon of crushed organic Celery Seed in one cup of water for 15-20 minutes on low heat. After 20 minutes of boiling reduce the quantity of the tea to half cup. Drinking a half cup of this tea twice daily along with a daily workout routine may help reduce weight significantly.
Aromatherapy using a combination of celery seed oil and sandalwood has shown to be very beneficial for treating anxiety, nervousness, mental stress and insomnia. The calming and soporific activity of Celery Seed oil may calm the anxious brain and help take you into a deep somniferous state. A great remedy is to take a warm bath with 10 drops of Celery Seed Oil mixed into the water while separately burning Celery Seed essential oil in an oil burner or aroma lamp for about an hour can soothe the body and mind and help with sleeplessness, anxiety and nervousness.
Arthritis, Gout, and Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and analgesic activity of celery seed helps in the treatment of arthritis, gout and painful muscles and joints. For Gout, the diuretic properties of the seeds helps flush out excess uric acid by stimulating the kidneys while also helping to alkalize the blood. Therefore drinking 1 cup of tea made with 1 tablespoon of Celery Seed twice daily may help relieve the discomfort caused by gout crystals. For inflamed joints, muscle aches, or sciatica pain, taking a warm bath with 10 -15 drops of Celery Oil mixed in the bath water may help alleviate the pain. Celery Seed oil can also be mixed with a carrier oil in order to apply it directly onto inflamed joints or the lower back to relieve Sciatica pain.
Side Effects of Celery Seeds
Celery Seed is designated as a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) product by the FDA in the USA. It has not shown any adverse side effects when used in moderation. However, allergies to celery are not uncommon, so if you experience any adverse reaction you should discontinue use of celery seed and consult your physician. If you are allergic to wild carrot, mugwort, birch and dandelion, you are likely to be allergic to celery as well and therefore should avoid it.
Celery Seed oil contains a compound called Bergapten which can increase photosensitivity. Therefore, external use of the essential oil is not recommended in bright sunshine. Celery Seed is not recommended for pregnant women because it contains Apiol which is an abortifacient and large amounts of Celery Seed can result in a miscarriage. There is insufficient information available about the safety of Celery Seed products during lactation, so it is best to avoid therapeutic use of Celery Seed products when breastfeeding.
Therapeutic use of Celery Seed is not recommended if you have low blood pressure, or you are taking any type of blood thinners, diuretics and sedatives and/or taking medication for thyroid problems, sleep disorders, blood disorders, or kidney problems since it may interfere with the effects of these medications.
Where and How to Buy Celery Seed
Celery Seed is available in fresh, dried, and powdered form at many grocery and herbal food stores. It can also be found in capsule/tablet form, as an oil extract, and in juice form at specialty health stores or online.