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Celery (Ajmoda): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Nowadays, people are trying ayurvedic home remedies to treat various types of pain and discomfort. Herbs are commonly used to heal common ailments including stomach pain, diabetes, cancer, etc. Celery is one of the herbs believed to be of great help in many such conditions.  

Research reveals that celery was cultivated before 850 BC. Celery requires low temperatures and high levels of moisture for growth. So, the best quality celery grows in cold and temperate climates. In India, celery was brought in from France in 1930 to Amritsar, Punjab and is now widely cultivated for seeds and spices. The scientific name of celery is Apium graveolens L, which belongs to the apiaceae family. It is known as ajmod in Urdu, and ajmud in Hindi. It is a valuable herbaceous aromatic plant. The annual and perennial plant grows up to 60–90 cm in height.1-3 Let’s read more about this nutritious celery. 

benefits of celery

Nutritional Value of Celery: 

The following nutrients are found in 100g of raw celery: 

Nutrient Content 
Water 95.4g 
Energy 14kcal 
Protein 0.69g 
Total lipid (fat) 0.17g 
Carbohydrate 2.97g 
Fibre 1.6g 
Sugars 1.34g 
Calcium 40mg 
Iron 0.2mg 
Magnesium 11mg 
Phosphorus 24mg 
Potassium 260mg 
Sodium 80mg 
Zinc 0.13mg 
Copper 0.035mg 
Selenium 0.0004mg 
Folate 0.036mg 
Choline 6.1mg 
Lutein + zeaxanthin 0.283mg 
Carotene beta 0.270mg 

Vitamins present in celery: 

  • Vitamin B6 
  • Vitamin B3 
  • Vitamin B2 
  • Vitamin C 
  • Vitamin B1 
  • Vitamin A 
  • Vitamin K4 

Based on my long-term observations, I have noticed that celery has a long history of being used for managing gout. This may be attributed to its components, hydrogen peroxide and tert-butyl hydroperoxide, that might exhibit toxicity against certain cells in laboratory studies.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Properties of Celery: 

Celery may act as a great source of naturally occurring active substances with various biological properties.1,3 Let’s look into some properties of celery. 

  • It might act as an antioxidant.3 
  • It might act as an antispasmodic.3 
  • It might have antifungal properties.3 
  • It might act as a diuretic.3 
  • It might have antiplatelet and anticoagulant activity, as it contains apigenin.5 
  • It might have anti-inflammatory activity.6 
  • The essential oil produced from celery might have antibacterial effects.5 
  • It might have antiparasitic properties. Also, it may show larvicidal and mosquito repellent properties.6 
  • It might have antimicrobial activity.6 

Let us discuss the potential uses of celery. 

Potential Uses of Herb for Overall Health: 

Potential uses of celery for cancer: 

Celery may help manage cancer cell mutations by removing free radicals in damaged cells. Thus, it might lower the possibility of these cells transforming into cancer cells. In addition, Belanger JT studied that in animals, celery may significantly reduce the relapse of breast, liver, and pancreatic cancers as it may have enough iron and magnesium to reduce the growth of tumour-related diseases.5,6 However, you should not stop taking your current medicines and try to rely only on celery, as cancer is a serious disease. Please visit a doctor for proper evaluation and diagnosis. 

Potential uses of celery for heart problems: 

Celery may help lower blood pressure resulting in a reduced load on the heart. It may be employed as a heart tonic to lower blood pressure. A study by Kolarovic J in 2009 showed celery juice might have protective action in the rat heart. Its roots may lead to increased calcium and decreased potassium in the heart tissue.1,2 Please consult a doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment as celery alone may not help treat heart problems and can cause adverse effects if taken without a doctor’s supervision.  

Potential uses of celery for kidneys: 

Celery may lower uric acid levels and help remove toxins from the body, which might help in kidney problems. Consuming organic celery juice with carrot juice is preferred for its cleansing action on the body, which may help those who have issues with bladder emptying. It might also work for cystitis, a bladder inflammatory condition that could result from a bladder infection.2,3 Please seek medical advice as it will require a complete examination, accurate diagnosis and treatment.  

Potential uses of celery for stomach diseases: 

In traditional medicine, celery might be effective against stomach pain, irritable bowel syndrome, infective diarrhoea, and acute amoebic colitis and may be used to treat constipation. In 2010, Al-Howiriny T et al. studied that celery seed extract might act as an antiulcer agent in mice due to the presence of antioxidant compounds such as tannins and flavonoids.1,5,6 Research on humans is still needed. However, consult a doctor for proper treatment. 

Potential uses of celery for diabetes: 

In 2016, MJJ Al-Kurdy researched celery seeds in a male rat against diabetes. Results showed it might help regulate the activity of all antioxidant enzymes. It may promote weight gain in type-1 diabetes and reduce the stress associated with diabetes mellitus. It might lower blood cholesterol and might be beneficial to maintain normal blood glucose levels. It may stimulate the pancreas to release insulin and lower blood glucose levels.1,5,6 It would be best to avoid self-medication and consult a doctor for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.  

Potential uses of celery for arthritis: 

It is believed that celery may have sedative and nerve-stimulant properties, which may help to manage rheumatoid arthritis. Minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, potash, iron, calcium, salt, and zinc may be helpful for tissue repair, which might be beneficial for gout and arthritis. In addition, it might help in the detoxification of the body. Furthermore, it might also increase blood circulation to the muscles and joints.2,3 However, it is better to contact a doctor for guidance and not rely on celery alone.  

Potential uses of celery for the intestine: 

Celery seed oil might act as an antiseptic for the intestine. In addition, the emulsion of the seed oil might be effective for relieving bloating, colic pain, and vomiting. It may be a home remedy for gastric diseases. Celery may also act as a smooth muscle relaxant, reducing muscle tone by acting on the intestine. Besides that, additional research is required to determine the benefits of celery on the intestine.2,3,6   

Potential uses of celery for liver: 

Singh A in 1995 and Ahmed B in 2009 carried out research separately on the celery seeds extract. Results showed it might be helpful against paracetamol-induced liver damage. It may show hepatoprotective activity. In addition, it may restore the structural changes of the liver tissue, which may be induced by paracetamol.1,6 Please consult the doctor to get better health benefits. 

Potential uses of celery for inducing calmness:  

It is believed that essential oil from celery may have a calming effect and help relieve headaches. Celery may be beneficial in hysteria by inducing restfulness and sleep. It may be used in insomniac conditions for relaxation and help to reduce stress.2,5,6 However, please consult a doctor and do not attempt to self-medicate. 

Though there are studies that show the benefits of celery in various conditions, but these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of celery on human health.  

I came across an interesting study that examined the effects of celery leaf extract in male rats. The study revealed that administering this extract may have potential benefits for spermatogenesis which is the process of sperm production, and various other aspects of sperm fertility. Thus, these findings highlight the future potential role of celery leaf extract in improving male fertility.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Is Celery Good for You? Analyzing the Research-Backed Benefits

How to Use Celery? 

  • Raw celery can be eaten in salads or by itself. 
  • Processed celery juice blends can be combined with vegetables such as celery-tomato juice or celery-carrot juice, a popular nutritional drink.2 
  • We can also taste spices made from dried celery fruit. 
  • As a food flavouring, processed celery seed oil can be used for making salads.2 
  • We can use celery flakes in dry soup mixes, canned soups, sauces, stuffings, casseroles, and vegetable specialities.2 
  • Celery stalks are also in the freeze-dried form in cross-cut slices, which we can add to potato salad, gelatin salads, and pickles.2 
  • We can have blanched and canned celery. Pickled celery is a popular food that enhances the taste of various dishes.2 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.   

Also Read: Watercress: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects & More!

Side Effects of Celery: 

Studies have reported the following side effects of celery: 

  • The compounds such as psoralen, xanthotoxin and bergapten are found in seeds and leaves of celery. These are phototoxic, which, when coming in contact with the sunlight, get more concentrated and may cause dermatitis in humans and animals. In addition, it is said to be infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotium, which causes dermatitis in those with sensitive skin. This condition is common in caucasian people.1,2 
  • Celery contains phthalides which is a natural sedative and may cause drowsiness.2 
  • Celery contains coumarin, which may induce calcium antagonistic properties, an effect preventing calcium from entering the heart’s cells.2 
  • There are some allergens present in the celery which may cause a severe allergic reaction.2 
  • Excess celery may lower the potassium levels in the body, which may be balanced by eating bananas and other potassium-rich foods.2 

However, if you have any adverse reactions to celery, consult a doctor or your Ayurvedic physician who prescribed it to you instantly. They will be able to provide you with appropriate guidance for your symptoms. 

Precautions to Take with Celery:  

The following are the precautions to be taken before having celery: 

  • You must avoid celery during pregnancy as it may cause severe side effects.2,5 
  • People with kidney inflammation or kidney disorder should avoid excessive use of celery or consult the doctor before taking celery.2,5 

However, additional research on celery is needed. Please consult your doctor to avoid any problems. 

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

Celery (Ajmoda) may react with the medications and alter the activity of medicines.  However, no such information is available. More research on this topic is required. Please discuss and confirm with a doctor to consume celery, especially if you are undergoing any treatment. 

Also Read: Benefits of Celery Juice: A Comprehensive Review Based on Scientific Research

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What is the role of celery in weight management?

It might help in weight gain in type-1 diabetes mellitus. However, there is a need for more research on celery to determine its effect on weight management. However, please consult your doctor for the treatment. 

Does celery show larvicidal and mosquito repellent activity? 

Celery seed oil may show larvicidal action, which might help in reducing mosquito count. Celery oil may be more useful in mosquito repellent action than several commercially available repellents.6 However, more research is needed to explore the benefits of celery in mosquito repellent activity. 

Does celery act as a hypolipidemic agent? 

Celery may work as a hypolipidemic agent since it may lower fat in blood levels, total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and other lipids. As a result, it may reduce hunger and decrease energy intake from a meal. Furthermore, it may inhibit nutrient absorption from the digestive tract.6 However, please consult a doctor for proper treatment and do not simply rely on celery as it may bring serious side effects if done incorrectly. 

State the benefits of celery for the skin. 

You may use celery in treating chronic skin disorders. Celery seeds may also help treat psoriasis, a condition in which your skin develops red, scaly areas. It might be beneficial for good skin and keeps the skin young and smooth.3 More research is required to prove the effects of celery on the skin, so please consult the doctor.   

What parts of celery are used for different purposes? 

Roots, stem, leaves, fruits and seeds contain main chemical constituents such as glycosides, phenolic compounds which may show anti-oxidant activity, anti-fungal activity and so on.1 

References: 

  1. Al-Asmari, A. K., Athar, M. T., & Kadasah, S. G. (2017). An updated phytopharmacological review on medicinal plant of arab region: Apium graveolens Linn. In Pharmacognosy Reviews (Vol. 11, Issue 21, pp. 13–18). Medknow Publications. https://doi.org/10.4103/phrev.phrev_35_16 
  1. Malhotra SK. Celery. InHandbook of herbs and spices 2006 Jan 1 (pp. 317-336). Woodhead Publishing. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/323691943_18_Celery 
  1. Kooti W, Daraei N. A review of the antioxidant activity of celery (Apium graveolens L). Journal of evidence-based complementary & alternative medicine. 2017 Oct;22(4):1029-34. Available from: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2156587217717415 
  1. FoodData Central. Celery, Raw U.S.[Internet]. Department of Agriculture. [Cited 2022, Sep 26] Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169988/nutrients 
  1. Kooti W, Ali-Akbari S, Asadi-Samani M, Ghadery H, Ashtary-Larky D. A review on medicinal plant of Apium graveolens. Advanced Herbal Medicine. 2015 Jan 1;1(1):48-59.Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280562618_A_review_on_medicinal_plant_of_Apium_graveolens 
  1. Khairullah AR, Solikhah TI, Ansori AN, Hidayatullah AR, Hartadi EB, Ram SC, Fadholly A. Review on the pharmacological and health aspects of apium graveolens or celery: An update. Systematic Reviews in Pharmacy. 2021;12(2):595-601. Available from: https://www.sysrevpharm.org/articles/review-on-the-pharmacological-and-health-aspects-of-apium-graveolens-or-celery-an-update.pdf 

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