Wild celery is found throughout Europe, around the Mediterranean, and in parts of Asia. The leaves, stalks, root, and seeds are edible. In Western cuisine, the stalks of its domesticated relative are commonly eaten raw alone or in salads, or as a cooked ingredient in various recipes. Celery seed has also been used as a diuretic and to treat gout.
Allergy to celery is fairly common, as celery contains an allergen similar to the birch pollen allergen. Both raw and cooked celery may cause reactions that range from contact dermatitis to anaphylactic shock. Celery contains the chemical psoralen. Contact with or ingestion of cooked or raw celery followed by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (such as from tanning) may cause an acute skin reaction, with symptoms including swelling and redness or, with ongoing exposure, excess skin darkening at the contact site.
The ancient Greeks and Egyptians cultivated celery, which was probably originally used as a medicine. Some Egyptian tombs also contained celery leaves and flowers.
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These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation)
According to preliminary research, an herbal product containing celery may be useful for painful menstruation. Research evaluating celery alone for this use is needed.
High blood pressure
According to preliminary research, celery may lower blood pressure. Caution is warranted, as celery may contain sodium. High-quality research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
Preliminary research suggests that a celery extract may be an effective mosquito repellent. Additional research is needed in this area.