• The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World
  • The Fantastic Spices World

CELERY ( Apium graveolens L. )
Names in Other Languages:

English Celeriac (root celery)
French Céleri
German Sellerie, Eppich
Spanish Apio
Italian Sedano
Turkish Kereviz
Japanese Serori

FAMILY: Apiaceae

ORIGIN:   CIt is cutivated in the Mediterranean region and Europe.



Celery stalks
GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

Celery grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and is composed of leaf-topped stalks arranged in a conical shape and joined at a common base. The stalks have a crunchy texture and a delicate, but mildly salty, taste. The stalks in the center are called the heart and are the most tender. [1]

USEFUL PARTS:

Leaves and root; both are used as vegetable or spice. Celery fruits, often termed seeds, are a strong though rather uncommon spice.

SENSORY PROPERTIES:

All plant parts are strongly aromatic.



MAIN CONSTITUENTS:


Celery leaves
Celery is a very good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, folate, molybdenum, manganese and vitamin B6. Celery is also a good source of calcium, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, magnesium, vitamin A, phosphorus and iron.

Celery contains approximately 35 milligrams of sodium per stalk, so salt-sensitive individuals can enjoy celery, but should keep track of this amount when monitoring daily sodium intake. [1]

Celery oil is dominated by terpenes, mostly limonene (70 to 80%) and the sesquiterpenes β-selinene (10%) and humulene; but its characteristic fragrance is caused by phthalides (3-butylphthalid and its 5,6-dihydro derivate sedanenolid).

The furano-coumarin bergaptene is a potent photosensitizer and may cause photo-dermatitis (skin irritation by light) in field workers. [2]



MAIN USES IN FOOD PROCESSING:

The leaves of celery are used as a garnish similar to parsley and often cooked in soups or sauces to improve the taste. The root is suitable fort he latter purpose. Additionally, the cooked root can be eaten as a vegetable. The fruits that are sometimes incorrectly called "celery seeds" have a similar but much stronger aroma. They can be ground and mixed with salt to make dosage easier. The fruits are slightly bitter, which limits their usage, but they are a great addition to cooked vegetables. The dried fruits are used as a culinary spice and in spice mixtures. Celery fruits are sometimes found in commercial curry powder.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:

Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including phthalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer prevention.

--> Rich in Vitamin C

Celery is a good source of vitamin C that helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. As free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques that may rupture causing heart attacks or stroke, vitamin C is beneficial to promoting cardiovascular health. Owing to the multitude of vitamin C's health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes including heart disease, stroke and cancer. [1]

--> Potential Blood Pressure Benefits

Celery has a potential for reducing high blood pressure and it contains active compounds called phthalides, which can help relax the muscles around arteries and allow those vessels to dilate. With more space inside the arteries, the blood can flow at a lower pressure. Phthalides also reduce stress hormones, one of whose effects is to cause blood vessels to constrict Celery has a reputation among some persons as being a high-sodium vegetable, and blood pressure reduction is usually associated with low-sodium foods. [1]

--> Cholesterol-lowering Benefits and Diuretic Activity

Celery has cholesterol-lowering activity.The seeds of celery widely used as a diuretic and celery is rich in both potassium and sodium, the minerals most important for regulating fluid balance, stimulates urine production, thus helping to rid the body of excess fluid. [1]

--> Promote Optimal Health

Celery contains 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.[1]

REFERENCES and SOURCES:

[1]http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=14#descr

[2]http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Apiu_gra.html

http://www.aidanbrooksspices.blogspot.com/2007/10/celery.html

• Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210.

• Finkelstein E, Afek U, Gross E, et al. An outbreak of phytophotodermatitis due to celery. Int J Dermatol 1994 Feb;33(2):116-8 1994.

• Khaw KT, Bingham S, Welch A, et al. Relation between plasma ascorbic acid and mortality in men and women in EPIC-Norfolk prospective study: a prospective population study. European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Lancet. 2001 Mar 3;357(9257):657-63 2001. • Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA et al. Plasma vitamin C modifies the association between hypertension and risk of stroke. Stroke 2002 Jun;33(6):1568-73 2002.

• Tsi D, Tan BK. The mechanism underlying the hypocholesterolaemic activity of aqueous celery extract, its butanol and aqueous fractions in genetically hypercholesterolaemic RICO rats. Life Sci 2000 Jan 14;66(8):755-67 2000.

• Wood, Rebecca. The Whole Foods Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall Press; 1988 1988. PMID:15220.