Celery Seed Identification

Overview

Celery seeds are small, green-brown seeds of the garden celery plant. In Western herbal medicine, celery seed is not well-known, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center--but in other parts of the world, celery seed has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Although no widespread studies have been done on the efficacy of celery seed for medicinal purposes, many people use celery seed to treat arthritis, muscle spasms and reduce inflammation.

Origin

Celery is native to Europe and Asia, according to the Online Vitamins Guide, and it has been in cultivation for more than 2,000 years. By the 16th and 17th centuries, celery was brought into gardens and grown as a medicinal plant. Today celery is grown widely in temperate regions--in India, large areas are used for the cultivation of celery for the use of the celery seed.

Composition

Celery, also known as Apium graveolens scientifically, consists of a bulbous root, green leaves and the stem. Celery seeds are tiny green-brown seeds that are found in the flowers of the plant. They have a strong, pleasant smell. Celery plants are slender and stand 2 to 3 feet tall when mature.

Cultivation

To cultivate celery, plant seeds outdoors in the late spring in rich, moist soil. Once the seedlings sprout, thin seedlings until you have one every 9 inches. The stems can be collected in the fall, but if you are cultivating celery for the seeds, the seeds are not ready until the stems develop flowers and produce seed heads. Once seed heads develop, they can be picked and placed in paper bags to dry out.

Nutritional Value

Celery seeds contain nutrients that include flavonoids, coumarins and lineoleic acid, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Flavonoids are plant pigments with antioxidant effects that may protect cells from damage. Coumarins are chemical compounds that help thin the blood and lineoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. Online Vitamins Guide states that celery is an excellent basic food that is one of the best sources of mineral salts and vitamins.

Medicinal Uses

Celery seed is used in the Western world primarily as a diuretic, according to the University of Maryland. But the seed has been used for thousands of years to treat colds, flu, arthritis and poor digestion. Further medicinal uses of celery seed include insomnia, respiratory disorders, blood disorders and general weakness or malnutrition, according to the Online Vitamins Guide.

Precautions

As with any medications or supplements, it is important to talk to a doctor or pharmacist to discuss possible side effects between any medications you may be taking and using herbs to treat disease. It is important to take herbs with care, states the University of Maryland Medical Center, and always do so under the supervision of a health care provider.

Potential

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About this Author

Melissa Nykorchuk has been writing professionally since 2002. She has contributed to various online publications and obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.