Celery is used practically in every modern cuisine along with such familiar to everyone and widely used parsley, dill, and onion; however, this is not what makes this aromatic plant so specific: the unusual thing about celery is that it had been known as a valuable medicinal herb long before discovering its pleasant taste and prior to its entering the cuisines of many peoples. No wonder, these days celery is paid so much attention to by the scholars, not traditional herbalists alone.
Celery (Apium graveolens) from the Apiaceae (carrot) or Umbelliferae family is a biennial herbaceous plant, which grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches. It has a fleshy bulbous root and a rosette of dark-green opposite pinnate leaves, which leaflets are wedge-shaped and coarsely-toothed. They closely resemble the leaves of parsley. The stalks of the plant are fleshy, fragrant (as well as the whole herb), and slightly salty to taste. Wild celery tastes bitter, but its cultivated varieties are grown not to be that bitter.
On the second year of growth celery sends up an erect angular branched flowering stem 1 to 3 feet high. The white or greenish flowers bloom from July to November and then give raise to tiny ribbed, elliptic-ovate seeds.
Celery is said to be indigenous to the Mediterranean region in Europe and northern Africa. Nonetheless, some biologists state that it also grew originally in the areas as far as Himalayas.
The plant grows best in the cool climatic conditions on the rich and fertile soils with much moisture. At the same time, it needs good drainage and flourishes if additional fertilizing is present.
For the stalks of celery to be softer and less bitter the plant is blanched to be protected from the sun.
Root and leaves with stalks are most often used in the traditional folk medicine, but celery seeds are also used to make home remedies.
Decoctions, teas, essential oils and extracts are made of celery to be used for medicinal purposes. Definitely, the plant may also be consumed raw in salads and thus promote health benefits.
Celery has large amounts of vitamin C, and this is, probably, the most known fact about the plant. Due to this component remedies, made of celery, are mighty immune system supporters and the means to fight viruses and bacteria. Moreover, vitamin C deposits are said to help lessen free radicals damage in the body, which may lead to the inflammatory diseases as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Celery constituents coumarins also fight free radicals, preventing the development of cancer. Besides, they stimulate certain white blood cells, which function is to protect the body from harmful cells, including cancerous ones. Moreover, celery contains one more type of ingredients beneficial for the human body– acetylenics. They prevent cancer by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.
Active constituents called pthalides, found in celery, help relax muscles around arteries and promote their dilation. This reduces the risk of hypertension and strengthens cardiovascular system. The same components along with large amount of calcium are believed to reduce stress hormones; as a result, celery works as an effective nervous system stabilizer and a sedative.
Pthalides may play a significant role in reducing bad cholesterol in the body by promoting bile acid production.
Herbal remedies containing celery are good diuretics, since they possess power to regulate fluid balance by increasing urine production and thus eliminating access fluid from the body. The main constituents, which turn this process on, are potassium and sodium found in celery.
Besides, celery is a good source of vitamin A, B1, B2, B6, molybdenum, manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
Taking into account chemical profile of celery, it is easy to believe that it may be helpful in the fight against many diseases, since it is rich in different beneficial components, which, working together, can ensure positive influence on the human body.
Celery can promote cardiovascular health by preventing high blood pressure and reducing the level of bad cholesterol. It is helpful in soothing nerves and eliminating headaches and pain of different origins. It is a means, which protects against cancer, urinary tract infections, inflammatory conditions (arthritis, rheumatism, asthma, etc.) and kidney and gallbladder diseases. The plant is also useful when fighting obesity, since it requires more calories to digest celery than the plant can bring to the body.
Celery also promotes menstruation and sexual health. It is even said that this plant contains hormone andorsterone, which is released by the sweat glands of a person who takes celery or remedies made of it. Thanks to this hormone a man, consuming the plant, may become more sexually attractive for women.
Thus, celery seems to be an extraordinary plant, which can guarantee a sound mind and a sound body, as well as healthy sexual relationships and happy private life.
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