celery seeds (Apium graveolens)
flavonoids, linoleic acid, different volatile oils, and coumarins (see Medicinal Use) (1), amino acids, calcium, choline, essential fatty acids, folate, inositol, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, zinc, vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C, E, K (2), riboflavin, pantothenic acid (12). Two medium stalks of celery pack a real nutritional punch. (7)
For UTIs, antibacterial, colds, flu, water retention, arthritis relief, problems involving spleen or liver, and a diuretic. (1) Studies on animals suggest celery seeds may also lower blood pressure and cholesterol. (1)(2)
Coumarins (also in the celery stalks) are useful in cancer prevention. (11)
For rheumatism, arthritis, & gout. Aids digestion of protein; contains 8 different families of anti-cancer compounds. (2)
An antiseptic, diuretic, menstrual discomfort, anxiety, cancer agents. (3)
The seeds can be used as a carminative & sedative (see Decoction under RECIPES below)(10)
These small seeds are found in the flower of the celery plant, generally brown. (1) They are somewhat astringent (2) and pungent (9).
the root of celery is also edible (celery root/celeriac) and is great in white bean soup.
Leaf celery (A.g.L. var. secalinum) is grown in Asia & the Mediterranean regions for its leaves & seeds. Celery was cultivated for medicinal purposes before 850 B.C. The Italians domesticated celery as a veggie in the 17th century. After years of domestication, selection eliminated bitterness & strong flavors. Strong flavors can also be diminished if grown in cooler climates & blanched. Blanching is the practice of pushing dirt up around the base of stalks while growing to prevent sunlight from turning stalks green. (6)
Celery seeds complement tomatoes & veggie juices (ie, Gazpacho) and potato salads.
Can plan seeds directly in garden when temperatures are above 55 degrees F. Two weeks before planting, put compost in your soil (up to half & half mixture with soil). Use fresh seeds for good germination. Sow 1/10" deep, lightly cover with soil (rake in) & water; don't let soil dry out for about 3 weeks til germination. Once they're about 6" tall, thin to 10" apart, and 18" between rows. Don't throw away the seedlings that you thin - you can put them in (salads, sandwiches, or) soups. Mound soil around young plants to keep roots moist. Water frequently, but do not let soil get soggy. Water daily during dry weather. After seedlings are growing well, apply a side dressing (mix into soil) of nitrogen-rich fertilizer (3 parts seed meal such as alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal or soybean meal which is slow-release to 1 part blood meal which is fast-release). Occasional dressings of sulfate of ammonia is also good. Fertilize every 3 weeks. This site also gives other good tips, so check it out. (12)
Grow in full sun (at least 6 hours/day, or better 10 hours/day). Add mulch (1-2" compost is a good one; apply after soil warms up & seedlings are well established; water first; don't let mulch touch stems - leave a few inches). Mature in 120-140 days. See website for Pests & Disease (which you shouldn't have if you use compost & natural nitrogen-rich fertilizers above). Harvest after they're 1' tall. Companion plants: bush beans, cabbage, onions, spinach, tomatoes. (4)
People using diuretics should consult their doctor, since the herb is also a diuretic. Celery seeds may thin blood, so talk to your doctor first if you're aking blood-thinning meds. Do not eat celery seeds that are intended for planting (because they've been treated). Pregnant women should not take - may cause muscle contractions within uterus. Some people are more sensitive to UV rays, so do nto use sunscreen - photodermatitis within celery seeds may increase sensitivity to sun. Some people are allergic to celery seeds. (1)
7) http://www.michigancelery.com/celeryinfo.htm (also has recipes)
10) Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY, NY: Bantam Books, 1974.
11) Murray, Michael. The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. NY, NY: Atria Books, 2005.
RECIPE(S) OF THE MONTH
DECOCTION: Boil 1/2 t seeds with 1/2 c water for 1 minute. Strain & drink for a sedative. (10)
CHICKEN SPROUT WRAPS:
I don't believe meat combines well with grains, so I wrap my meat sandwiches in lettuce wraps instead. I've had this recipe for years, so I don't remember where it came from, but when I was in Disneyland sometime in the early '80s, we ate at a restaurant inside Disneyland that served these sandwiches on Roman Meal Bread.
2 chicken breasts (bone in; free-range chickens)
2 c boiling water
1/2 t sea salt
1/3 c plain yogurt
1/3 c mayonnaise (homemade* - do not use canola oil which is a GMO)
1 T diced green onion
1/2 t sea salt
dash freshly-ground black pepper
1 c alfalfa sprouts (make your own - it's easy!)
1/2 c thinly sliced celery
1/2 t celery seeds
Radishes, pickles (raw pickle recipe in Organic Gardening magazine, Aug/Sep 2010)
Take skin off chicken. Simmer chicken in boiling water with salt, about 10 minutes, til tender. Refrigerate til cold. De-bone & cube chicken. Combine yogurt, mayo, onion, salt & pepper. Stir in chicken, celery, & celery seeds. Spread on lettuce leaves, topped with some sprouts, then roll up and serve with condiments & potato salad.
*homemade mayo recipe at http://allrecipes.com//HowTo/making-mayonnaise/Detail.aspx