Easy to grow and extremely low in calories, celery has long been favoured by vegetable gardeners and slimmers alike. Its fresh taste and crunchy texture makes it a natural addition to salads; it can be steamed, lightly boiled or braised to add to a cooked meal; freshly juiced it makes a healthy, revitalising drink; and as a snack it will befriend many different companions from cream cheese to peanut butter.
Celery, though, has hidden talents. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and has been used for centuries to treat the painful conditions of rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
Herbalists often advise gout sufferers to drink a tea brewed with celery seeds. To make the tea, one teaspoon of these seeds, available in health food stores, should be infused for ten minutes in a cup of boiling water. One cup a day may be taken, not only for gout but also for rheumatism or arthritis.
Celery is thought to be effective for these complaints because in addition to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is also a natural diuretic which helps the body release the toxins associated with inflammatory conditions.
As a diuretic, celery is very popular with those who wish to shed excess weight, although perhaps not all dieters realise just what happens when they eat it. Celery certainly does promote the elimination of fluid from the body, but it also contains a high concentration of calcium in a form that is available to be used immediately rather than taking time to be metabolised. This calcium stimulates the endocrine system to break up accumulated fat in the cells which can then easily be eliminated.
Celery’s other qualities include its pain relieving properties, again beneficial to sufferers of inflammatory conditions. The oil also has a mild tranquilising effect and can be used in the natural treatment of nervous complaints and to help lower blood pressure.
Digestive health can be improved by celery; it helps release trapped wind in the intestines and so remedies flatulence.
An essential oil distilled from celery seeds has a warm and spicy scent. As an aromatherapy treatment, celery seed oil is used for the same conditions as the seed infusion, and for someone with arthritis, for example, the anti-inflammatory action of the oil combined with the massage therapist’s touch is particularly beneficial.
It is important to note that celery should not be used as a treatment, either internal or external, during pregnancy, since a constituent of celery seeds is known to be a uterine stimulant.
All in all, celery is a vegetable worth its weight in gold. Soothing, pain relieving and fat busting – and all with a crunch!