Apium graveolens L. (Celery seed) FE 1:1 60% 1L

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Apium graveolens

Common Name: Wild Celery, Smallage
Family: Apiaceae

Part used: Seeds; also leaves and stems in food.  The roots are also sometimes used in food.

Botanical description: A biennial plant, smelling strongly of celery. It can grow up to a metre. The plant is hairless and has solid stems with deep grooves. The leaves are divided into several leaflets which are palmate and have a serrated edge. The small white flowers are held in umbels which arise from the stem at the leaf stalks. The seeds or fruits are small and round.

Harvesting, cultivation, habitat: The seeds are harvested from June to September. The leaves and stems are best harvested before flowering and should be used fresh. It is native to Northern Europe, the British Isles and found around the coast in Ireland. It should not be confused with water dropwort hemlock which does bear a resemblance but does not smell of celery and is highly toxic.

History, Folklore, taste, energetics: The wild plant is recorded as being used widely as vegetable and condiment in ancient Egypt, by the Greeks and Romans. The wild type (much more strongly flavoured than the cultivar selected for it stems and sold as celery, or the one selected for its roots and sold as celeriac) is still widely used on Asian and Caribbean cooking and is considered far superior in those regions. It is a nourishing herb and contains apiole (an essential oil constituent) which is a stimulating nervine and helps lift the mood. The seed has traditionally been used either as a substitute for salt or in combination with salt to add savour.  It is salty, and warming.

Constituents: Volatile oil (apiole, terpenes, phenols), sedanonic acid and its lactones; some fixed oil, minerals.

Actions:  Diuretic, urinary antiseptic, aperient, removes acid waste via the kidneys. Stimulating nervine.

Traditional and current uses: Particularly used for rheumatism, gout and arthritis as it helps flush out acid water. For urinary infections and cold conditions of the kidneys. Fibrositis and perhaps other inflammations exacerbated by excess acid in the system. As part of an alkalizing diet.