Introduction and description
Celery (Apium graveolens) is a plant variety in the family Apiaceae, used as a vegetable.
My father used to grow celery and the ground on which he grew it was ideal being well drained, but moist and very friable. In the UK, the Fens in the East of England is reclaimed marshland and produces almost perfect celery, nutty, crisp, and full of flavour.
When we were children, Sunday supper consisted of things like home made sausage rolls or Cornish pasties, with home grown tomatoes and celery and cheese. We used to eat the root and all of the stem up to the leaves. My Mum used to make soups with the leaves, which are a bit bitter, but make a lovely vegetable broth with onions.
What we didn't know then is how good for you celery is. My brother and I just thought it was a nice food. My father used to blanch his celery by the old method of earthing it up and I still prefer blanched celery to the green celery.
Another variety of Apium graveolens is Celeriac. Where celery is Apium graveolens var dulce, celeriac is Apium graveolens var. rapaceum. Celeriac is also called turnip-rooted celery, because you don’t eat the shoot, you eat the root or bulb.
The bulb tastes exactly like celery root incidentally. So in celeriac you eat the root and use the stalk for stocks, with celery you eat the stalks and use the leaves for stock!
In the Mediterranean Basin, celeriac grows wild and originated there. It seems to do better in less hostile climates, whereas celery does not mind the cold at all, in fact it always seemed to taste better after it had had a hard frost. Hard frosts are quite common in the Fens, the East of England and places like Denmark and the Netherlands, where celery thrives.
One of the strangest uses of celery medicinally recently has been as an anti-dote to the side-effects of pharmaceuticals and toxins, including heavy metals, on men's ability to produce sperm, an erection and self respect!
Many pharmaceuticals and toxins appear to have a quite devastating effect on men's testes, shrinking them, damaging them sometimes irreversibly, or if not completely knobbling them, then making their sperm unviable or damaged - producing damaged babies.
The website eHealthme has a list of drugs as long as your arm that have produced Infertility - see LINK. And there is another list for impotence - see LINK, as such celery may offer real hope to these pharmaceutically altered men. This takes on particular relevance when one sees where testicular cancer is most prevalent - in the countries where pharmaceuticals and toxins predominate, see chart below.
In case you should wonder why Alaska of all places has such a high incidence, it may have something to do with the Red Dog lead and zinc mine.
The use of celery seed for relieving pain was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus around AD 30.
Since my childhood, when the only chest disease we knew of was provoked by the smogs and bad air quality, celery along with peanuts has emerged as a food that can provoke asthma and the most severe allergic reactions; for people with celery allergy, exposure can cause potentially fatal anaphylactic shock.
Celery root—commonly eaten as celeriac, or put into drinks—is "known to contain more allergen than the stalk. Seeds contain the highest levels of allergen content".
As I explain in the section on food allergies and that on asthma and allergies, no food is inherently allergic. We only develop a reaction to it when one of two things happen:
- We overdose on it so much that we in effect poison ourselves, the immune system keeps a memory of the poisoning and its severity and then reacts accordingly
- The vaccine we are injected with has, as one of its excipient ingredients, this same substance. For example a number of vaccines contain peanut oil. The immune system is instructed by the adjuvant in the vaccine to fight everything in the vaccine and so it does - hence peanut allergies [and milk allergies - some vaccines contain milk proteins].
I have not yet been able to work out which of these apply and what is the guilty chemical. Wikipedia provides a handy list of vaccine ingredients, so maybe someone else can spot a similarity with a celery protein I have missed. It may be latex - see Vaccines. Another option is formaldehyde. According to Dr Duke's plant database, amongst the irritants that celery possesses formaldehyde is one chemical:
Apium graveolens L. - Apiaceae Chemicals with Irritant Activity:
If you now turn to the section on E numbers and vaccines, you will find that formaldehyde is E240 and found in :
- Anthrax vaccine
- DTaP vaccines
- DT (diphtheria vaccine )
- Hib vaccine
- Tdap vaccine
- Td vaccine
- Polio vaccine
- Meningococcal vaccine
- Japanese encephalitis vaccine
- Influenza vaccine
- Hepatitis B vaccine
- Hepatitis A vaccine
So there is a likelihood that people who have had these vaccines might develop an allergic reaction. The answer, of course, is to get tested - sooner rather than later.
This too may help those with a better grasp of the subject than me.
Allergy diagnosis relying on the determination of specific IgE is frequently complicated by the presence of cross-reacting IgE of unclear clinical relevance. Particularly, the anaphylactogenic activity of IgE directed to cross-reactive carbohydrate moieties of glycoproteins from plants and invertebrates has been a matter of debate. In this study, we present the biochemical and immunological characterization of Api g 5, a glycoprotein allergen from celery with homology to FAD containing oxidases. Carbohydrate analysis of the allergen revealed the presence of glycans carrying fucosyl and xylosyl residues, structures previously shown to bind IgE. Chemical deglycosylation of the protein completely abolished binding of serum IgE from all 14 patients tested.
Likewise, basophils from a patient allergic to mugwort pollen and celery were stimulated only by native Api g 5, whereas the deglycosylated allergen did not trigger release of histamine. IgE inhibition immunoblots showed that native Api g 5 other than the deglycosylated protein completely inhibited IgE binding to high molecular weight allergens in protein extracts from birch pollen, mugwort pollen, and celery. A similar inhibition was accomplished using the IgE binding oligosaccharide, MUXF, coupled to bovine serum albumin. All these observations taken together confer convincing evidence that IgE directed to cross-reactive carbohydrates is capable of eliciting allergic reactions in vivo. PMID: 12958180
Just as a little final bit of information. Celery is an alternative to the palm tree, as a symbol of kundalini experience. Maybe this is why, in the television program Doctor Who, the Fifth incarnation of The Doctor (played by Peter Davison), was noted for wearing a stalk of celery on his lapel, claiming it at one point to be an excellent 'restorative' or maybe the writer knew about the testicular activity ..... or both!!
You can stuff celery to make an appetiser or snack, you can liquidise it with spinach and yoghurt to make a lovely drink.
You can eat it in a salad with apples and nuts or chick peas; or with potatoes and sweetcorn. You can use it on a simple cheese board with biscuits.
It goes well in most winter style stews with squashes and game meat; and not a few summer stews with new potatoes spring onions and chicken. One of the nicest stews I have had used chicken legs, walnuts [added at the last minute], light stock, orange rind cut into thin strips and celery strips.
And here is a very nice recipe from those good folks at Ocado
Baked marrow with two cheeses and celery
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small onion , chopped
- 2 celery sticks , trimmed and chopped
- 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
- 50g frozen sweetcorn
- 50g frozen peas
- 50g fresh breadcrumbs
- 100g Lancashire cheese, crumbled or grated - you could use Cheshire
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley or chives , chopped
- 1 pinch salt, to season
- 1 pinch ground black pepper , to season
- 1 marrow , cut into 8 slices and deseeded
- 50g Red Leicester or mature Cheddar, grated
1 Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Lightly grease a large baking dish or baking sheet with a teaspoon of the olive oil.
2 Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan and saute the onion, celery and pepper for 3-4 minutes, until softened. Remove from the heat and stir in the sweetcorn and peas. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the breadcrumbs, then stir the rest into the vegetables with the Lancashire or Cheshire cheese and chives or parsley. Season.
3 Arrange the marrow slices in the baking dish or on the baking sheet. Pack with the vegetable mixture. Sprinkle with the reserved breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
4 Cover with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes, removing the foil for the final 10 minutes so that the tops brown.
You can put it in wraps, and here we have Stilton and Celery wraps courtesy of the British cheese board.
"Spread an equal amount of soft cheese over each wrap. Scatter shredded lettuce, celery and onion over each wrap - but not too close to the edge, add crumbled stilton and roll up.
Cook's Tip: Before you eat the wraps, make sure that the Stilton has had time to reach room temperature for a full, mellow flavour."
What is good about celery is that it goes with just about anything and tastes delicious.
It goes with olives, especially black olives and red peppers.
But it also goes with green peppers and can be used with granny smith apples [or similar green apple] to equally good effect.
Celery sticks stuffed with peanut butter are a good picnic staple for children of all ages.....
A julienne [sticks] of potato and celery, dotted with butter and a little water, wrapped in foil and slow cooked in the oven make a lovely vegetable side dish.
Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice, either as whole seeds or ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. Celery salt is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning. Celery, onions, and bell peppers are the "holy trinity" of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. Celery, onions, and carrots make up the French mirepoix, often used as a base for sauces and soups. Celery is a staple in many soups, such as chicken noodle soup.
According to Dr Duke's plant database, the different parts of the celery plant each have different chemicals and thus different properties.
He lists well over 800 items, too many to list here and there is no point as you can go to Dr Duke's database to get the full list.
The list I have shown here was derived from the USDA Nutrient Database. It comes from Wikipedia and they have added Percentages, which are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
12 kcal (50 kJ)
2.97 g (including fibre)
Vitamin A equiv.
(3%) 22 μg
(2%) 0.021 mg
(5%) 0.057 mg
(2%) 0.32 mg
(6%) 0.074 mg
(9%) 36 μg
(4%) 3.1 mg
(2%) 0.27 mg
(28%) 29.3 μg
(4%) 40 mg
(2%) 0.2 mg
(3%) 11 mg
(3%) 24 mg
(6%) 260 mg
(5%) 80 mg
(1%) 0.13 mg
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
References and further reading
- Effect of Koen--Chai or Chinese celery (Apium graveolens) on spermatogenesis. Visutakul P, Morakotpand P, Watanawanapongs R, Chungcharoen D. J Med Assoc Thai. 1979 Apr;62(4):164-73. No abstract available. PMID:221607
- Celery - The Healing power of Herbal teas – Ceres Esplan 019450
- Celery as an anti-dote to infertility caused by epilepsy drugs 012444
- Celery as an anti-dote to the infertility caused by toxin DEHP 012445
- Celery as vasodilator and anti-hypertension agent 012446
- Culpepper's Complete Herbal on Celery 012442
- Dr Duke's list of 20 plants to help with headaches 018056
- Dr Duke's list of anti-anxiety activity for celery 012413
- Dr Duke's list of anti-depressant activity for celery 012447
- Dr Duke's list of anti-fungal activity for Celery 012438
- Dr Duke's list of anti-impotence activity for Celery 012432
- Dr Duke's list of Anti-inflammatory activity for Celery 018099
- Dr Duke's list of anti-psoriasis activity for Celery 012423
- Dr Duke's list of anti-viral activity for celery 012395
- Dr Duke's list of cystine containing plants to boost the immune system 012486
- Dr Duke's list of mercury chelating plants 017825
- Dr Duke's list of myorelaxant activity in Celery 012451
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing ARGININE 017958
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing GLYCINE 017955
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing HISTIDINE 019061
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing LYSINE 017957
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing NICKEL 021500
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing PHENYLALANINE 017936
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing PROLINE 017956
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing SELENIUM 020550
- Dr Duke's list of Plants containing SULFUR 021408
- Dr Duke's list of plants for Superactivity Arteriosclerosis/Atherosclerosis 017744
- Dr Duke's list of plants having chemicals with vasodilatory activity 017836
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anti-aggregate activity 017520
- Dr Duke's list of plants with AntiADHD activity 018403
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiaflatoxin Activity 018393
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antialopecic Activity 018420
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiasthmatic Activity 018412
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiasthmatic activity 018347
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiatherogenic and Antiatheroscleroticactivity 018349
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antibacterial activity 018352
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antibrucellosic activity 018358
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticalculic activity 018361
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (cervix) activity 018454
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (kidney) activity 018460
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticancer (prostate) activity 018465
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Anticold activity 018430
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidote (Cadmium) Activity 018329
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidote (Mercury) activity 018376
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antidysmenorrheic Activity 018474
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiedemic activity 018443
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiflu activity 019584
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiglaucomic activity 019952
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antigranulocytopenic activity 018418
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antikeratitic Activity 019936
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antimalarial activity of high chemical potency 018058
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antimelanomic activity 024204
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antipneumonic Activity 018416
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antipolyneuritic activity 022051
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antistaphylococcic Activity of high potency 018275
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antitubercular activity 018399
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Antiuremic activity 018429
- Dr Duke's list of plants with hemopoietic effects - 2 All plants with activity 012485
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Metal chelating ability from FERULIC ACID - PART 1 018253
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Myorelaxant Activity 019681
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Radioprotective activity 018062
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Superactivity Premenstrual Syndrome/PMS activity 019158
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Tranquilizer activity 018138
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Trichomonicide activity of high chemical potency 018066
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with Varroacide activity 018928
- Dr Duke's list of Plants with [Natural] Nematicide activity of high chemical potency 018293
- Dr Duke's list of sedative activity in Celery 012450
- Dr Duke's list of vasodilatory activity for Celery 012449
- Dr Duke's Plants with Antiplatelet activity 017519
- Dr Duke's Plants with Hyperuricemic Activity from the chemical ADENINE 016806
- Dr Duke's top 20 plants for constipation 017656
- Dr Duke's top 20 plants with laxative properties 017657
- Dr Duke's top 40 plants containing Boron 017974
- Dr Dukes list of plants with high Antiestrogenic activity 017912
- Dr Duke’s list of Plants containing BENZYL-BENZOATE [as scabicide] 021369
- Management of Usr-i-Tamth (Menstrual Pain) in Unani (Greco-Islamic) Medicine 019911
- Mrs Grieve on Wild Celery 012443
- Omega-3 and omega-6 content of medicinal foods for depressed patients: implications from the Iranian Traditional Medicine 017018
- Prevention of selenite induced oxidative stress and cataractogenesis by luteolin 017697
- Relation of raw and cooked vegetable consumption to blood pressure: the INTERMAP Study 017745
- Root vegetables and leukemia 005538