Celery Seeds

Apium graveolens, celery seeds

Apium graveolens-Celery Seeds

Family: Umbelliferae

Other Names: Smallage, Wild Celery, Ajmod, Ajwain-ka-patta ,(Indian), Apium celleri, Apium decumbens, Celeria graveolens, Carum graveolens

hazardsmallIf the plant is infected with the fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, skin contact with the sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people. This is more likely to happen to Caucasians  Allergic responses include anaphylaxis in sensitive individuals. Cross-allergenicity between celery, cucumber, carrot, watermelon and possibly apples. Avoid during pregnancy as emmenagogue, abortifacient and uterine stimulant activity reported.

Habitat: Cultivated widely. The wild variety grows in marshy places.

Description of Celery seeds:

Apium graveolens is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist soil.

Apium graveolens, celery seedsCultivation of Celery:

Prefers a rich moist soil in sun or semi-shade, but with some shade in the summer. It is tolerant of saline soils. The plants are fairly hardy, though they can be damaged by hard frosts. Wild celery is the parent of the cultivated celery (A. graveolens dulce) as well as celery leaf (A. graveolens secalinum) and celeriac (A. graveolens rapaceum). This entry only deals with the wild celery, the other plants are dealt with separately. A very aromatic plant, the aroma being most noticeable when the foliage is bruised.

Propagation of Celery:

Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. If seed is in short supply it can be sown in a cold frame in spring. The seed can harbour certain diseases of celery, it is usually treated by seed companies before being sold but if you save your own seed you should make sure that only seed from healthy plants is used.

Companion plant:

The growing plant is a good companion for leeks, tomatoes, French beans and brassicas.

Collection: The seeds should be collected when ripe in the autumn.

Culinary uses of Celery Seeds:

Edible Parts: Leaves;  Root;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Leaves – raw or cooked. Mainly used as a flavouring in soups etc. They can be eaten raw but have a very strong flavour. They are toxic if consumed in large amounts.

Seed – a flavouring. Used in small quantities to flavour soups and stews. An essential oil from the seed is also used as a flavouring.

Root – cooked.

Apium_Graveolens_botanicalMedicinal uses of Celery seeds:

Anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, carminative, anti-spasmodic, nervine.

Part Used: Dried ripe fruits.


Celery Seeds find their main use in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. They are especially useful in rheumatoid arthritis where there is an associated mental depression. Their diuretic action is obviously involved in rheumatic conditions, but they are also used as a urinary antiseptic, largely because of the volatile oil apiol.


In rheumatic conditions they combine well with Bogbean. They appear to work better in combination with Dandelion.

Preparations & Dosage of Celery Seeds:

Infusion; pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonfuls of freshly crushed seeds. Leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture; 1-4 ml three times a day.

Other uses:

Essential Oil
The growing plant is an insect repellent, it repels the cabbage white butterfly so is a good companion for brassicas.

celery fairyEsoteric uses of Celery Seeds:

Mental and psychic powers, concentration. Burn with orris root to increase psychic powers. Use in sleep pillow to induce sleep. Chew celery seed to aid in concentration.

The Chemistry:
  • Volatile oil, containing d-limonene, with[[alpha]]-selinene, santalol, [[alpha]]- and [[beta]]-eudesmol, dihydrocarvone.
  • Phthalides; mainly 3-n-butylphthalide, ligustilide, sedanolide, and sedanenolide.
  • Coumarins; bergapten, isoimperatorin, isopimpinellin, apiumoside & celeroside.
  • Flavonoids; apiin and apigenin
  • Fixed oil, fatty acids.