Celery that called Apium graveolens , which belongs to the Apiaceae family, is extensively grown as a vegetable. celery has been utilized in traditional medicine to treat a variety of health conditions, such as high blood pressure, arthritis, digestive issues, and urinary tract infections. Celery is rich in a variety of nutrients, including vitamins C and K, potassium, and folate. It also contains compounds like apigenin and luteolin that possess anti-inflammatory characteristics.
Recent scientific studies have suggested that celery may offer additional health advantages, such as reducing inflammation, enhancing digestion, and decreasing cholesterol levels. However, further investigation is required to verify these prospective benefits and to establish the appropriate amount and form of celery for medical use.
Although celery is mostly recognized as a vegetable, it has a long history of use in traditional medicine and may possess some potential health benefits. As with any natural treatment, it is crucial to seek advice from a healthcare provider before using celery or any other plant for medicinal reasons.
The history of Celery (Apium graveolens)
Celery has been cultivated and used by humans for thousands of years, with its origins traced back to the Mediterranean region. Initially, celery was grown for its medicinal properties rather than its culinary use.
The medicinal properties of celery were recognized by ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, who used it to treat a range of illnesses such as colds, flu, and arthritis. Additionally, the Romans believed that celery was an aphrodisiac and included it in their celebrations and feasts.
In the Middle Ages, monks grew celery in monastery gardens and used it for medicinal purposes. The plant was also believed to have spiritual and religious significance, and thus used in religious rituals and ceremonies.
Celery gained popularity as a food in the 17th century when it was cultivated as a vegetable in France and Italy. By the 19th century, it had become a widely popular food in Europe and was introduced to the United States by European immigrants.
Today, celery is grown all around the world and is used in a variety of dishes, such as soups, stews, salads, and snacks. It is still appreciated for its potential health benefits and is used in natural remedies and dietary supplements.
The chemical composition of celery
Phytochemicals are bioactive compounds that are found in plants and are believed to have health-promoting properties. Celery contains a number of phytochemicals, including the following:
- Apigenin: This flavonoid has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties and has been shown to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in cancer cells.
- Luteolin: This flavonoid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
- Quercetin: This flavonoid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to have neuroprotective effects.
- Kaempferol: This flavonoid has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to have anti-cancer effects.
- Coumarins: These compounds have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties and have been shown to have anticoagulant effects.
- Phthalides: These compounds have been shown to have hypotensive (blood pressure-lowering) effects and may also have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
- Polyacetylenes: These compounds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.
Celery also contains volatile compounds, which are responsible for its characteristic aroma and flavor. The primary volatile compounds found in celery are phthalides, which include butylphthalide, sedanolide, and senkyunolide. These compounds are thought to have a range of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and lowering blood pressure.
Nutritional Value of Celery
Celery is a low-calorie vegetable that is rich in fiber, which makes it an excellent choice for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. A 100-gram serving of celery contains only 16 calories and provides 1.6 grams of dietary fiber. It also contains small amounts of protein and fat, but these are not significant sources of calories.
Celery is also a good source of vitamins and minerals. A 100-gram serving of celery contains the following micronutrients:
- Vitamin K: 29.3 mcg (37% of the daily value)
- Vitamin C: 3.1 mg (5% of the daily value)
- Folate: 36 mcg (9% of the daily value)
- Potassium: 260 mg (7% of the daily value)
Celery also contains small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin A, vitamin E, calcium, and magnesium.
The health benefits of medical celery
- Anti-inflammatory effects
Inflammation is a natural response by the immune system to injury or infection, but when it becomes chronic, it can lead to various chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Medical celery contains various compounds such as flavonoids and polyacetylenes that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.
In 2013, a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the effects of celery seed extract on paw inflammation in rats. The results showed that the extract significantly reduced paw swelling and decreased levels of inflammatory markers in the rats.
Similarly, another study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2016 looked at the anti-inflammatory effects of celery leaf extract in mice with acute lung injury. The researchers found that the celery leaf extract significantly reduced lung inflammation and lowered levels of inflammatory markers in the mice.
- Antioxidant effects
Oxidative stress happens when the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) exceeds the body’s capacity to neutralize them with antioxidants. This imbalance can lead to cellular damage and contribute to the development of chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease. Medical celery contains flavonoids and polyphenols, among other compounds that have antioxidant effects.
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers tested the antioxidant activity of celery juice in vitro and found that it had significant antioxidant activity due to its high levels of phenolic compounds.
Another study published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology in 2015 investigated the antioxidant activity of celery leaf extract in vitro. The researchers found that celery leaf extract exhibited significant antioxidant activity, which was attributed to its high content of flavonoids.
- Blood pressure-lowering effects
Elevated blood pressure is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. Medical celery contains compounds, such as nitrates and phthalides, that have been shown to lower blood pressure.
However, in 2013 a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the impact of celery seed extract on blood pressure in rats with hypertension. The study found that celery seed extract considerably reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the rats.
Moreover, another study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 examined the effects of celery juice on blood pressure in humans with mild to moderate hypertension. The study showed that consumption of celery juice significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the participants.
- Anti-cancer effects
Cancer is a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. Medical celery contains several compounds that have been shown to have anti-cancer effects, including flavonoids and polyacetylenes.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistryx investigated the anti-cancer effects of celery extract in vitro. The researchers found that celery extract inhibited the growth of several types of cancer cells, including breast cancer cells, lung cancer cells, and colon cancer cells.
In 2015 another study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food investigated the anti-cancer effects of celery seed extract in mice with induced liver cancer. The researchers found that celery seed extract significantly reduced tumor growth and increased the survival rate of the mice.