The Health Benefits of Celery Seed

Close-Up Of Celery Seeds In Wooden Spoon On Table

Michelle Arnold / EyeEm / Getty Images

Celery seed (Apium graveolens) is a natural substance sold in dietary supplement form. Celery seed does not come from the familiar tall green plant that we eat, but rather from an ancestor of that plant, also known as wild celery or smallage. The seeds are often used in cooking, for pickling and flavoring food.

In herbal medicine, celery seed is sometimes used as a diuretic. It also has a long history of use in certain systems of alternative medicine, such as Ayurveda, to treat conditions including cold and flu. However, 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. It's also said to act as a diuretic (i.e., a substance that helps increase the flow of urine).

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. In the study, 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, but studies in humans are lacking.

For example, a 2017 research review published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine determined that there was enough evidence to suggest celery may have healing effects because of its powerful antioxidant characteristics. Antioxidants that 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 in the treatment of certain inflammatory conditions. A 2015 report published in Progress in Drug Research examined the chemical properties of celery seed and determined that it may be a safe treatment for inflammatory conditions including arthritis, ulcers, and other conditions.

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 celery seed supplements.

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.

Due to the 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.

Selection, Preparation & Storage

Celery seed and celery seed extract are sold in dietary supplement form in many natural-foods stores and other stores 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. However, there is not enough evidence to determine a safe or effective dose of the product.

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 FDA guidelines, it is not legal 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. In some cases, the product may deliver doses that differ from the specified amount for each herb. In other cases, the 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, The U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention, 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 and grassy and bitter. Celery seed is often used for pickling vegetables or for brining.

Are there substitutions for celery seed in recipes?

Celery salt usually contains celery seed and makes a smart replacement. Some cooks also use dill if they don't have celery seed on hand.

Are other natural ways to manage blood pressure?

A major risk factor for heart disease (the leading cause of death in the U.S.), high blood pressure can be managed by following a balanced diet low in sodium and saturated fats, maintaining a healthy weight, limiting your 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.

Was this page helpful?

Article Sources

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.