has a long and prestigious history of use, first as a
medicine and then later as a food. The initial mention
of the medicinal properties of celery leaves dates back
to the 9th century B.C., when celery made an appearance
in the Odyssey, the famous epic by the Greek poet,
Homer. The Ancient Greeks used the leaves as laurels to
decorate their renowned athletes, while the ancient
Romans used it as a seasoning, a tradition that has
carried through the centuries.
It was not until the Middle Ages that celery's use
expanded beyond medicine and seasoning into
consideration as a food. And while today, for most
people thoughts of celery conjure up images of dips and
crudit' platters, eating this delicious crunchy
vegetable raw did not really become popular until the
18th century in Europe. Celery was introduced in the
United States early in the 19th century.
Celery's beneficial blood pressure-reducing action has
long been recognized by Chinese medicine practitioners,
and now scientists have discovered how it works.
Celery contains active compounds called pthalides, which
relax the muscles of the arteries that regulate blood
pressure, allowing these vessels to dilate. Pthalides
also reduce stress hormones, one of whose effects is to
cause blood vessels to constrict. When researchers
injected 3-n-butyl phthalide derived from celery into
test animals, the animals' blood pressure dropped 12 to
14 percent. In humans, an equivalent dose would be
supplied in about 4 stalks of celery
In studies of animals specially bred to have high
cholesterol, celery's cholesterol-lowering activity has
been demonstrated. In eight weeks, aqueous solutions of
celery (like celery juice) fed to specially bred high
cholesterol animals significantly lowered their total
cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion.
Celery contains cancer preventing compounds called
coumarins that help prevent free radicals from damaging
cells, thus decreasing the mutations that increase the
potential for cells to become cancerous. Coumarins also
enhance the activity of certain white blood cells,
immune defenders that target and eliminate potentially
harmful cells, including cancer cells. In addition,
compounds in celery called acetylenics have been shown
to stop the growth of tumor cells.
The strong diuretic (water removing) powers of celery
enable it to be used in the control of health problems
such as arthritis and rheumatism. Sufferers cannot have
too much and may consume the vegetable cooked or raw, or
in juice form which is the most health effective
treatment of all.
A tablespoonful of honey in celery juice, sipped slowly,
will very effectively reduce the appetite if taken
before a meal, and makes a delightful drink. You can
take the same mixture as a nightcap when it will help
you to relax into a soothing and restful sleep.
Those who take the juice who have in the past suffered
from a tendency towards stones in the gall bladder or
the kidneys usually find that these painful deposits do
not form again. It seems likely that this effect is
related to the anti-arthritic properties of the juice.
Celery has been one of those foods recommended by many
nutritionists and doctors specializing in treating
children and adults suffering with ADD and ADHD.
removing the acid causing junk foods and introducing
mineral-rich alkaline foods like Celery can lead a child
out of this condition. Celery juice has a calming
effect on the nervous system probably due to its high
concentration of organic alkaline minerals, especially
The Juicing Book by Stephen Blauer, Avery Publishing Group Inc., NY, 1989
Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices by John Heinerman, Parker Publishing Company, NY, 1994
Celery, 2002-2005 The George Mateljan Foundation
Health benefits of celery juice, 2004.