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Apium graveolens


Apium graveolens


No documentation

Vernacular Name

Celery, celery fruit, celery salt, celery seed, celery seed oil


Apium graveolens is classified as a member of the Apiaceae family.[1] It is a biennial herb that has been used consistently throughout history in medicinal preparations, food flavoring and preparation, and is known in the vernacular as celery. The seeds are typically cultivated in order to form an extract, to make a tea or to mix with salt for use as a flavoring agent; the plant itself (root, foliage and stem) is ingested as part of a normal diet in preparations such as salads, soups, etc. A. graveolenshas a worldwide distribution of growth, including most of the United States, many countries within the Europe, Asia, Africa and parts of India.[2] Epidemiological evidence supports a relationship between ingestion of A. graveolens and a myriad of beneficial health effects, ranging from cardioprotective to anticancer properties.[3]

A. graveolens, or Celery is a flowering biennial from the family Umbelliferae. A. graveolens is most easily identified by its thick, very erect stem, as it has been used as nutrition around the world. The stem itself is thick, fleshy, and separated into a rosette of stalks which come together at the taproot. At its maximum height of 1m, the stalks take on a more definitive, individual, crescent shape.  The leaves of A. graveolens are either pinnate or bi-pinnate, either green or dark-green in color, and with petioles roughly 40cm in length. The deeply lobed leaves are similar in shape to that of parsley, and have both a strong savory scent and taste. The small white flowers bloom in late summer in umbels roughly 5cm across. The umbels are tightly packed, and have a high concentration of the flowers. The seeds of A. graveolens are tiny, brown and ribbed. One thousand of these seeds weigh no more than 0.5g.

Origin / Habitat

A. graveolens is thought to originate in the Mediteranean and now grows in Sweden China, and the United States. Very damp soil, bogs, or streambeds and temperate weather are needed for A. graveolens to grow.  The aromatic A. graveolens plant can grow in full shade or semi-shade and can be harmed by frosts. It is cultivated in bogs throughout the world, in areas with moderate climate.

Chemical Constituents

Flavonoids (luteolin, apigenin)[4]

Phthalides (sedanolide, 3-n-butyl phthalide)[5],[6]

Furanocoumarins (bergapten, xanthotoxin)[7],[8]

Terpenes (d-limonene)[5]

Polyacetylenes (falcarinol, falcarindiol)[9],[10]

Amino acid (L-tryptophan)[6]

Vitamins (alpha-tocopherol)[11]

Plant Part Used

Seed-like fruits

Medicinal Uses


Liver conditions

Pain and inflammation

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis




Blood pressure[4],[9],[12],[13]





Mosquito repellent[4],[9],[10],[14],[15]

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Liver conditions

Pain and inflammation

Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis




Blood pressure[4],[9],[12],[13]


Dosage Range 

1.2-4g of A. graveolens seed per day[2]

Most Common Dosage

Two grams seed per day in divided doses.



Extracts of A. graveolens have been investigated for their hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antihyperlipidemic properties. Studies show that A. graveolens extracts can exhibit a degree of protection against established hepatotoxins, including carbon tetrachloride, acetaminophen (paracetamol), and thioacetamide.[16],[13] The hepatoprotection of extracts of A. graveolens may be attributable to the antioxidant activity conferred upon A. graveolens by its constituents.  Similarly, pretreatment with extract of A. graveolens appears to protect rats from the reproductive toxicity of the anticonvulsant sodium valproate.[17]

Animal models have been used to evaluate the antinociceptive effect of A. graveolens extract through implementation of methods such as acetic acid-induced writhing and hot plate-induced thermal stimulation. In both cases, A. graveolens extract showed a dose-dependent antinociceptive effect.[12] In mice, application of croton oil has been used to induce cutaneous otic edema in order to test the ability of A. graveolens extract to reduce the ensuing inflammation. Concomitant application of A. graveolens extract with the croton oil reduced the expected inflammation with a potency seven-times lower than that of the positive control, indomethacin.[18] In addition, extract of A. graveolens was shown to inhibit nitric oxide in vitro, an established mediator of inflammation. The ability of A. graveolens to modulate inflammation theoretically supports its use in the treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, and bronchitis by traditional medicinal practices.

Lipid-lowering effects of A. graveolens extract have been supported by animal studies where rats were fed a diet known to induce hyperlipidemia in conjunction with administration of A. graveolens extract.  When compared to control animals receiving only the high-fat diet, the experiment group showed reduced total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides.[19]

A. graveolens is comprised of several bioactive substances of significance. Of the most notable components comprising A. graveolens, the flavonoid class has been shown to decrease platelet aggregation.[3] Competitive radioligand binding assays have indicated that inhibition of platelet function appears to be mediated through antagonism of the thromboxane A2 receptor by apigenin and luteolin (primary flavones found in A. graveolens).[3],[20] Through this mechanism, expression of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors in the arachidonic acid cascade is altered so that fibrinogen cannot link adjacent platelets together to produce aggregation.[21] Also, apigenin has been shown to potentiate the effects of aspirin in the inhibition of platelet aggregation.[20] The anti-aggregatory effects of flavonoids on platelets, in addition to their antioxidant, vasodilatory and antiatherogenic actions, have conferred cardioprotective properties upon this classification of bioactive substances.[22]

Traditional botanical therapy has involved the use of A. graveolens concoctions for the treatment of cancer. Animal studies completed to date have provided support for use of A. graveolens as an anticancer agent. Specifically, mice treated with an established tumor-inducing agent, benzo[a]pyrene, displayed reduced tumor incidence after treatment with two bioactive constituents of A. graveolens oil (sedanolide and 3-n-butyl phthalide) in comparison to control animals.[5] One of the flavones found in A. graveolens, luteolin, has been shown to induce apoptosis, reduce tumor growth, and even sensitize tumor cells to the effects of cytotoxic chemotherapeutic agents.[4] Of the polyacetylenes found in A. graveolens, falcarinol has shown pronounced cytotoxic effects in lymphoblastic leukemia cell lines.[10]

A. graveolens and its flavonoid constituents have been investigated as neuroprotective agents against neurodegenerative pathologies that result from inflammatory etiologies. Extracts of A. graveolens leaves and roots have been shown by both in vitro and in vivo experiments to protect against oxidative stress and these antioxidant effects may be a result of the flavonoid content within A. graveolens.[23] Luteolin and additional flavonoids have been shown to reduce the release of reactive oxygen species and to increase expression of enzymes (i.e. superoxide dismutase) that protect against oxidative damage thereby displaying antioxidant properties.[14] In addition, the flavonoids apigenin and luteolin exhibit high biological activity and pronounced anti-inflammatory effects.[22]

A. graveolens seeds have been shown to possess concentration-dependent mosquitocidal (Aedes aegypti), nematicidal and antifungal activity.[6],[15] Recent research investigated the crude seed extract of A. graveolens in order to define parameters of protection against Aedes aegypti.[24]  Resultant bioassays indicated that the crude seed extract was larvicidal, slightly adulticidal and possessed repellent properties for 2.5-3 hours post-topical application of the extract. These properties are particularly pertinent to areas where the mosquito is an established vector for viral infection leading to illnesses such as yellow fever or dengue / dengue hemorrhagic fever and prevention of such infections depends in part on use of insect repellent.


No documentation

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Anti-arthritic agents

Hypotensive agents

Cholesterol-lowering agents

Anticoagulant agents

Antiplatelet agents

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents

Antimicrobial agents

Interferon preparations

Chemotherapeutic agents


Serotonin-altering agents (certain antidepressants, migraine medications, etc.)

Agents with antioxidant properties

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Allergic reactions to A. graveolens have been well documented in literature. The symptoms associated this allergy may range in severity; from urticaria and angioedema to symptoms such as anaphylaxis. Furthermore, a cross-sensitivity has been found to exist between pollen allergies and an allergy to A. graveolens.[27] A. graveolens is contraindicated patients who have pollen allergies, specifically birch.

Contamination by external stimuli can create a phytoalexin response in A. graveolens that can increase the concentration of certain naturally occurring bioactive substances that can increase to potentially toxic levels, producing photosensitization and photodermatitis. Those working with or around A. graveolens are typically the patients presenting with photodermatitis.[7]


Those who are pregnant or breastfeeding or plan to become pregnant should not use A. graveolens due to the potential for uterine stimulation and abortifacient effects. Insufficient information exists concerning the use of A. graveolens in pediatric patients; therefore, caution should be exerted regarding the use of any supplementation within the pediatric population.[2]

Age limitation

A. graveolens supplements have been shown to have an irritating effect on the kidney and metabolism appears to be reduced in elderly patients.[2] Patients who have a history of liver or kidney problems should not use celery unless directed to do so by their medical practitioner. Ingestion of celery even at normal doses may inhibit Cytochrome P450 drug metabolism; thus, altered pharmacokinetic parameters would be expected to manifest in patients.[25],[26]

Adverse reaction

A. graveolens should be used in caution with patients taking serotonin-altering agents as A. graveolens have been shown to contain L-tryptophan, the precursor essential for synthesis of serotonin.[6]

Read More

  1) Botanical Info

  2) Safety

  3) Essential Oil

  4) Native American Herbs



  1. United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Service. The PLANTS Database. Available from: [Accessed on 2 April 2009].
  2. Gruenwald J. (ed). PDR for Herbal Medicines. 2nd Edition. Montvale, New Jersey: Medical Economics Company; 2000:172-174.
  3. Guerrero JA. Flavonoids inhibit platelet function through binding to the thromboxane A2 receptor. J Thromb Haemost. Feb 2005;3(2):369-376.
  4. López-Lázaro M. Distribution and biological activities of the flavonoid luteolin. Mini Rev Med Chem. Jan 2009;9(1):31-59.
  5. Zheng GQ. Chemoprevention of benzo[a]pyrene-induced forestomach cancer in mice by natural phthalides from celery seed oil. Nutr Cancer. 1993;19(1):77-86.
  6. Momin RA. Antioxidant, cyclooxygenase and topoisomerase inhibitory compounds from Apium graveolens Linn. seeds. Phytomedicine. May 2002;9(4):312-318.
  7. Beier RC. Natural pesticides and bioactive components in foods. Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 1990;113:47-137.
  8. Lombaert GA. Furanocoumarins in celery and parsnips: method and multiyear Canadian survey. J AOAC Int. Jul-Aug 2001;84(4):1135-1143.
  9. Christensen LP. Bioactive polyacetylenes in food plants of the Apiaceae family: occurrence, bioactivity and analysis. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 7 Jun 2006;41(3):683-693.
  10. Zidorn C. Polyacetylenes from the Apiaceae vegetables carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, and parsnip and their cytotoxic activities.  J Agric Food Chem. 6 Apr 2005;53(7):2518-2523.
  11. Ching LS. Alpha-tocopherol content in 62 edible tropical plants. J Agric Food Chem. Jun 2001;49(6):3101-3105.
  12. Atta AH. Anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory effects of some Jordanian medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. Mar 1998;60(2):117-124.
  13. Singh A. Hepatoprotective activity of Apium graveolens and Hygrophila auriculata against paracetamol and thioacetamide intoxication in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 15 Dec 1995;49(3):119-126.
  14. Sharma V. Modulation of interleukin-1beta mediated inflammatory response in human astrocytes by flavonoids: implications in neuroprotection. Brain Res Bull. 15 Jun 2007;73(1-3):55-63.
  15. Momin RA. Mosquitocidal, nematicidal, and antifungal compounds from Apium graveolens L. seeds. J Agric Food Chem. Jan 2001;49(1):142-145.
  16. Ahmed B. Hepatoprotective activity of two plants belonging to the Apiaceae and the Euphorbiaceae family.  J Ethnopharmacol. Mar 2002;79(3):313-316.
  17. Hamza AA. Apium graveolens modulates sodium valproate-induced reproductive toxicity in rats.  J Exper Zool. 2007;307A:199-206.
  18. Mencherini T. An extract of Apium graveolens var. dulce leaves: structure of the major constituent, apiin, and its anti-inflammatory properties. J Pharmac Pharma. 2007;59:891-897.
  19. Tsi D. Effects of aqueous celery (Apium graveolens) extract on lipid parameters of rats fed a high fat diet. Planta Med. Feb 1995;61(1):18-21.
  20. Navarro-Núñez L. Apigenin inhibits platelet adhesion and thrombus formation and synergizes with aspirin in the suppression of the arachidonic acid pathway. J Agric Food Chem. 14 May 2008;56(9):2970-2976.
  21. Rang HP, Dale MM, Ritter JM, Gardner P.  Pharmacology: hemostasis and thrombosis. 4th Edition. New York: Churchill Livingstone; 2001.
  22. Benavente-García O. Update on uses and properties of citrus flavonoids: new findings in anticancer, cardiovascular, and anti-inflammatory activity.  J Agric Food Chem. 13 Aug 2008;56(15):6185-6205.
  23. Popović M. Effect of celery (Apium graveolens) extracts on some biochemical parameters of oxidative stress in mice treated with carbon tetrachloride. Phytother Res. Jul 2006;20(7):531-537.
  24. Choochote W.  Potential of crude seed extract of celery, Apium graveolens L., against the mosquito Aedes aegypti (L.) (Diptera: Culicidae). J Vector Ecol. 2004;29:340-346.
  25. Lampe JW. Brassica vegetables increase and apiaceous vegetables decrease cytochrome P450 1A2 activity in humans: changes in caffeine metabolite ratios in response to controlled vegetable diets. Carcinogenesis. Jun 2000;21(6):1157-1162.
  26. Jakovljevic V. The effect of celery and parsley juices on pharmacodynamic activity of drugs involving cytochrome P450 in their metabolism. Eur J Drug Metab Pharmacokinet. Jul-Sep 2002;27(3):153-156.
  27. Bohle B. The impact of pollen-related food allergens on pollen allergy. Allergy. Jan 2007;62(1):3-10.

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