The Health Benefits of Celery Seed

Long used in Indian medicine to lower blood pressure

Celery seeds, tablets, and capsules

 Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Celery seed (Apium graveolens) is a common spice but it is also sold in dietary supplement form. In herbal medicine, celery seed is sometimes used as a diuretic, which can help lower blood pressure. It also has a long history of use in certain systems of alternative medicine, such as Ayurveda, to treat conditions including cold and flu.

Despite this, scientific evidence to support the use of celery seed as a treatment for any health condition is lacking.

Health Benefits

While research on the health effects of celery seed is limited, the seeds of the celery plant are known to contain a number of substances that may influence health.

Celery seed is used by some to treat health conditions including:

In addition, celery seed is said to stimulate digestion and enhance liver health. As a diuretic, it may also help increase the flow of urine, which can reduce water and sodium levels in your body.

To date, there is a lack of scientific studies testing celery seed's health effects in humans. However, some preliminary rodent and in vitro research suggests that celery seed may have a benefit in the treatment of certain conditions.

High Blood Pressure

Celery seed shows promise in the treatment of high blood pressure, according to a preliminary study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food in 2013.

In tests on rats, the study's authors observed that treatment with celery seed extract lowered blood pressure in animals with elevated blood pressure, but had no effect on those with normal blood pressure.

Cancer

Some research indicates that celery seed extract may possess anti-cancer properties. This research includes a rat-based study published in Cancer Letters in 2005, which found that celery seed extract helped thwart the development of liver cancer.

Additionally, a study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention in 2011 found that celery seed extract may help fight stomach cancer. Tests on human cells demonstrated that celery seed extract may inhibit the spread of stomach cancer in part by inducing apoptosis, a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells.

Inflammatory Conditions

Researchers are investigating the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits of celery seed.

A 2017 research review published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine determined that there was enough evidence to suggest celery seed may have healing effects because of its powerful antioxidant characteristics, which can help remove free radicals from the body. But study authors also noted that more studies are needed.

Preliminary research also suggests that celery seed may provide benefits such as reduced inflammation and pain in those with specific inflammatory conditions, including arthritis, and ulcers. The report, published in 2015 in Progress in Drug Research, examined the chemical properties of celery seed and also found it to be a safe treatment for these conditions.

Due to limited research, it's too soon to recommend celery seed as a treatment for any condition. It's also important to note that self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences. If you're considering using it for any health purpose, make sure to consult your healthcare provider.

Possible Side Effects

Although little is known about the safety of long-term or regular use of dietary supplements containing celery seed, there's some concern that this remedy may be harmful to people with kidney inflammation.

In addition, celery seed may interact with a number of medications, including blood-thinning drugs, diuretics, lithium, and thyroid medicine. If you're currently using any of these medications, make sure to consult your physician prior to taking a celery seed supplement.

Celery seed does not come from the familiar vegetable that you eat, but rather from an ancestor of that plant, also known as wild celery or smallage. Despite that, those with an allergy to celery should avoid celery seed. Allergic reactions may be mild (skin inflammation) but can also become severe, even leading to anaphylaxis.

Celery seed is likely unsafe in pregnant women. According to medical sources, it might make the uterus contract and cause a miscarriage. The safety of celery seed in nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions has not been established.

Selection, Preparation, & Storage

Celery seed and celery seed extract are sold in dietary supplement form in many natural-foods stores and other shops specializing in natural remedies. You can also purchase celery seed supplements online. The supplement is generally sold in capsule form.

Celery seed for medicinal use is packaged and sold with a supplement label that states the amount of celery seed provided in each dose. Typically suggested doses range from 600 to 1,000 milligrams (mg). However, there is not enough evidence to determine a safe or effective dose of this remedy.

Celery seed that you buy in the spice aisle of the grocery does not contain a supplement label with dosing information. If you cook with celery seed, store it with your other spices in a cabinet or drawer away from heat and light.

Keep in mind that according to guidelines from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is illegal to market a dietary supplement product as a treatment or cure for a specific disease, or to alleviate the symptoms of a disease. Beyond that, however, dietary supplements are largely unregulated overall. In some cases, a product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In others, a product may be contaminated with other substances.

While consumers face such risks when purchasing any dietary supplement, these risks may be of greater magnitude in the purchase of Ayurvedic products (particularly those containing a variety of herbs). To stay on the safe side, it's best to look for products that have been certified by ConsumerLabs, U.S. Pharmacopeia, or NSF International. These organizations don't guarantee that a product is safe or effective, but they do provide a certain level of testing for quality.

Common Questions

What does celery seed taste like?
Celery seed is known to have a strong flavor that many describe as earthy, grassy, and bitter. Celery seed is often used for pickling vegetables or brining.

Are there substitutions for celery seed in recipes?
Celery salt usually contains celery seed and makes a good replacement for those who find 100% celery seed's flavor too overpowering. Some cooks also use dill if they don't have celery seed on hand.

Are there other natural ways to manage blood pressure?
A major risk factor for heart disease, high blood pressure can be managed by following a balanced diet low in sodium and saturated fats, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol intake, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, and practicing stress-reducing mind-body techniques.

For more help in keeping your blood pressure in check, there's some evidence that natural remedies like garlic and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial. In addition, maintaining optimal levels of vitamin D and drinking green tea may help control your blood pressure.

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  1. Moghadam MH, Imenshahidi M, Mohajeri SA. Antihypertensive effect of celery seed on rat blood pressure in chronic administration. J Med Food. 2013;16(6):558-63. doi:10.1089/jmf.2012.2664

  2. Sultana S, Ahmed S, Jahangir T, Sharma S. Inhibitory effect of celery seeds extract on chemically induced hepatocarcinogenesis: modulation of cell proliferation, metabolism and altered hepatic foci development. Cancer Lett. 2005;221(1):11-20. doi:10.1016/j.canlet.2004.07.030

  3. Gao LL, Feng L, Yao ST, et al. Molecular mechanisms of celery seed extract induced apoptosis via s phase cell cycle arrest in the BGC-823 human stomach cancer cell line. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2011;12(10):2601-6.

  4. Kooti W, Daraei N. A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery ( Apium graveolens L). J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(4):1029-1034. doi:10.1177/2156587217717415

  5. Powanda MC, Whitehouse MW, Rainsford KD. Celery Seed and Related Extracts with Antiarthritic, Antiulcer, and Antimicrobial Activities. Prog Drug Res. 2015;70:133-53. doi:10.1007/978-3-0348-0927-6_4

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