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Apium graveolens

Apium graveolens                                            Common name: Celery seed, Wild celery

Family: Apiaceae

Part used: Fruit (seeds) & root

Constituents:  Volatile oils (limonene, selenine, phthalide compounds), flavonoids (apigenin, apiin, isoquercitin), furanocoumarins, fatty acids (linoleic, myristic, oleic, palmitic, stearic), alkaloids

Actions: Sedative, anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, carminative, diuretic, uricosuric, anti-rheumatic, anti-gout, antispasmodic, stimulant, hypotensive, bitter, digestive tonic, galactagogue, uterine stimulant

Medical uses: This herb alkalizes the body as a whole and detoxifies with specificity to the musculoskeletal system. It promotes the elimination of uric acid and waste products and so is helpful in cases of gout and rheumatism. The alkaloids in Apium appear to have depressant, traqnquilizing effects on the CNS.  These actions are useful in nervous restlessness and spasmodic tension. As a diuretic is particularly suited to arthritic conditions, including those of an autoimmune nature. Can be used both topically and internally.

Pharmacology:

  • Volatile oils and alkaloids are calming to the CNS
  • Phthalide compounds are antispasmodic, sedative, diuretic & hypotensive
  • Flavonoids are diuretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, anti-platelet
  • Alcohol extract of seed is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and stimulate circulation to and through the kidneys by mildly irritating them and promoting excretion of uric acid.

Pharmacy: Dried fruit: 2g, TID. Infusion: 2 tsp crushed seeds/cup, infuse 15 min, TID. Decoction: 1/2 tsp crushed seeds/cup, simmer 10 min, TID. Fresh seed juice: up to 90ml QD. Tincture: (1:1, 90%), 0.3-1.2ml TID.

Contraindications: Due to the irritating effect of the volatile oils, is contraindicated in acute kidney conditions.  The volatile oils have an empirical emmenogogue and possible abortifacient effect and should be avoided during pregnancy.  Emperical evidence also suggests increased photosensitivity due to the furanocoumarins.

Toxicity:  Apium has high sodium; monitor those with hypertension or fluid retention. Celery pickers can develop photodermatitis after handling celery infected with fungus, which induces the celery to produce high levels of psoralens.

Interactions: None reported.

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