Drugs A - Z
Celery (Apium graveolens)
Generic Name: Apium graveolens
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
5-methoxypsoralen, alpha-methylene gamma-butyrolactone group, Apiaceae (family), Apium graveolens, Apium graveolens L., celeriac, celery extract, celery juice, celery profilin, celery root, celery seed, celery seed oil, celery soup, celery spice, celery tuber, cross-reactive carbohydrate determinants, crude celery, furocoumarins, immunogenic food, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen), phthalide, profilin, psoralen, raw celery, sedanolide, Umbelliferae (family).
Wild celery can be found throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, and parts of Asia. The leaves, stalks, root, and seeds can be eaten. In western cuisine, the stalks of its domesticated cousin are commonly used in cooking and may be eaten raw alone or in salads, or as a cooked ingredient in various recipes. Celery seed has also been used as a diuretic (increase urine flow) and to treat gout (foot inflammation). However, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of celery for any indication.
Allergy to celery is fairly common, as celery contains an allergen similar to the birch pollen allergen. Both raw and cooked celery can cause reactions that range from contact dermatitis to anaphylactic shock.
The ancient Greeks and Egyptians cultivated celery, which was probably originally used as a medicine. Some Egyptian tombs also contained celery leaves and flowers.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Celery extract may be an effective mosquito repellent. Although this study is promising, additional study is needed in this area.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Antioxidant, arthritis, cancer, inflammatory joint diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis), larvicide (insecticide), tonic.
Adults (over 18 years old)
There is no proven effective dose for celery in adults. Celery is likely safe in food amounts.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven effective dose for celery in children. Celery is likely safe in food amounts.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to celery (Apium graveolens) or its constituents. Allergy to celery is fairly common, especially among those with sensitivity to birch pollen-related allergens. Raw celery, cooked celery, and celery juice can all cause allergic reactions. Reactions range from contact dermatitis to anaphylactic shock. In addition, celery ingestion or contact and subsequent exposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause phytophotodermatitis. Symptoms of celery allergy have included laryngeal edema, celery-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis, and anaphylactic shock.
Side Effects and Warnings
Celery is likely safe when used in food amounts in non-allergic individuals.
Allergy to celery is fairly common, especially among those with sensitivity to birch pollen-related allergens. Avoid in patients eating large amounts of psoralen-containing foods or herbs, such as limes, lemons, parsley, figs, parsnip, carrots, certain oranges, some natural grasses, and dill.
Use cautiously in patients with bile secretion disorders.
Avoid high celery intake in pregnant patients.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Celery is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. High celery intake may increase the risk of sensitization against food allergens.
Interactions with Drugs
Patients hypersensitive to celery who take celery and certain agents, such as conversion enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), alcohol, aspirin, or beta-blockers, may increase the likelihood of developing food-induced anaphylactic shock.
Celery may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Although not well studied in humans, celery may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking blood pressure medications due to possible additive effects.
Although not well studied in humans, celery may alter cholesterol levels. Caution is advised in patients taking cholesterol medications due to possible additive effects.
Celery may have antispasmodic activity. Caution is advised in patients taking seizure medications due to possible additive effects.
Celery may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood, and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
Celery may have diuretic (increase urine flow) properties. Caution is advised in patients taking other diuretics due to possible additive effects.
Although not well studied in humans, celery may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines (tranquilizers) such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Celery may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto.
Although not well studied in humans, celery may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking other herbs or supplements with blood pressure-altering activity due to possible additive effects.
Celery may alter cholesterol levels. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements with cholesterol-altering activity, such as red yeast rice, due to possible additive effects.
Celery may have antispasmodic activity. Caution is advised in patients taking other antispasmodic herbs or supplements due to possible additive effects.
Celery may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
Celery may have diuretic (increases urine flow) properties. Caution is advised in patients taking other diuretic herbs or supplements due to possible additive effects.
Celery may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.
In theory, patients hypersensitive to celery who take celery and willow bark may increase the likelihood of developing food-induced anaphylactic shock.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Emily Kyomitmaitee, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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