Celery Seed Extract: What is it and how to take it?
Celery, also known as Apium Graveolens (try saying that 3 times), is a vegetable that you’re likely familiar with and have used to cook or even make a cocktail with - Bloody Mary anyone?
But did you know there’s a lot more to that this vegetable can do besides adding flavor to a soup or stew?
We’ll be exploring what celery seeds are, their benefits, and how you can incorporate them into your diet.
So, what are celery seeds?
Celery seeds don’t come from the standard green vegetable available in the market that we know, but from an ancestor known as either smallage, lovage, or Chinese celery. This celery is small with thin stalks and is very crunchy with a bitter flavor. Chinese celery can still be consumed but is cooked rather than eaten raw.
What health nutrients do celery seeds have?
Every part of celery can be consumed and has health benefits, but celery seeds are especially abundant in nutrients, including:
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- Flavonoids - these are part of the polyphenol family, which is a group of plant chemicals found in fruit and vegetables. Indian ayurvedic medicine commonly uses Polyphenols because of their association with skin protection, brain function, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.
- Minerals - the seeds contain a variety of minerals, but it mostly has ample amounts of calcium (11% per serving), manganese (25% per serving), and iron (16% per serving).
- Vitamins - celery seeds also contain levels of Vitamin C, Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) and Vitamin B6, and Magnesium. These vitamins all play an essential role in keeping the body healthy.
What are the benefits of celery seeds?
Celery seeds have been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine dating back to before the 5th century.
The seeds have robust antioxidant characteristics and, therefore, can have different healing effects.
Some studies have shown that celery seeds are useful in the treatment of:
- Chronic skin disorders
Other potential benefits of celery seeds include:
- Rheumatism relief
- Treating high blood pressure
- Bone health
Let’s explore each of these four benefits in more detail!
Celery seeds and rheumatism relief
Rheumatism is the blanket term for arthritis and muscular aches and pains.
Celery seed extract containing 85% of 3nb could potentially treat rheumatism according to one study.
A 12-week study involving 15 participants suffering from osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, or gout were given 34mg of celery seed extract twice daily. After three weeks of taking the extract, the subjects' pain scores had reduced by 68%. The participants reported that maximum relief was experienced at week six.
There have also been numerous studies that identify celery seeds as having anti-inflammatory activity, but these have primarily been on animal models.
Celery seeds and detoxification
Detoxification is the process of ridding your body of toxins. You’re probably familiar with the buzzword ‘detox.’
Celery seeds contain a substantial amount of 3-n-Butylphthalide (3nb); this is a compound that helps cleanse the system of excess fluids. It also helps stimulate the kidneys, causing the body to flush out uric acid and excess crystals that can cause many problems, including gout, arthritis, and kidney stones.
Forget the hunger pangs from a juice detox, next time your body could use a little love, sprinkle some celery seeds on your favorite meals!
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Celery seeds and treating high blood pressure
The vast amount of research on celery seeds has been on its effect to lower blood pressure.
Celery seed contains anti-hypertensive compounds, 3nb in particular. We’ve mentioned that 3nb has detoxifying benefits, but it is also linked to potentially lowering blood pressure.
One study had 42 mild to moderate hypertensive patients take a capsule of 75mg celery seed extract twice daily.
At week three and again at week six, there was a decrease in blood pressure.
Another study identified that extracts of celery seed consist of chemicals like hexanoic, methanolic, and aqueous-ethanolic. These chemicals are believed to help maintain blood pressure levels.
Celery seeds and bone health
Some studies suggest that the consumption of certain medicinal herbs, including celery seeds, might be effective in providing an adequate intake of calcium, the elimination of malnutrition and the prevention of bone diseases in overweight and obese women.
A separate study was to determine the effect of celery on biomarkers of bone in middle-aged overweight women. The women were overweight as they are prone to the risk of developing osteoporosis and loss of physical strength.
Thirty participants were split into two groups and each had pre-tests. The first group took one 1300g celery seed powder capsule with water three times a day for eight weeks and the second group took a placebo.
After the initial eight weeks, the participants had more tests which identified that those taking the celery seed supplements had a significant reduction in their plasma lipid levels When lipid levels are excessively high, you can be at risk for heart disease. Lipids are also known to accumulate around bone vessels in patients with osteoporosis.
The study concludes that “part of the effectiveness of celery in reducing the risk of the development of bone diseases in women might therefore be attributed to its ability to reduce plasma lipid levels”.
Celery seeds and cancer
It’s hard to believe that something so simple could potentially help devastating illnesses, but some studies suggest that celery seeds may have anti-cancer properties. Celery seeds contain two flavonoids; Apigenin and Luteolin. Flavonoids are known for their health benefits and antioxidant effects, and studies suggest that Apigenin and Luteolin mostly could play beneficial roles in the prevention and treatment of cancer.
More research is needed to confirm the effect celery seeds have on cancer. While celery seeds may have a possible role in future cancer care, they should never be used in replacement of current treatment recommendations. Always consult with your physician before making changes to your care plan.
How do I take celery seeds?
Besides adding celery seeds or celery powder (ground celery seeds) to add flavor to meals, the seeds can also create a warming drink. Add 1-2 teaspoons of celery seeds to hot water, cover, and leave to brew for ten minutes.
Celery seeds are also available as a supplement, and the dose varies from product to product.
Do celery seeds have any side effects?
Celery seeds are not harmful for most people unless you are either allergic to celery or pregnant. If you don’t fall under the two, it is safe to take a regular dose daily.
As always, if you are concerned, speak to a healthcare professional.
Celery seeds are nutritionally dense in various minerals that have numerous benefits for the body. Next time you’re in the kitchen, try spicing up your recipes with some celery seeds to reap those benefits!