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What Is Celery Seed Extract?
Worried about your blood pressure rising? Got gout? Plagued by arthritis? Wondering if a stressful job might give you an ulcer? Celery seed—the fruit of the common, everyday vegetable—can come to the rescue.
While most of us know celery as a crunchy snack often slathered with peanut or other nut butter—or as an ingredient that adds flavor to soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes—that’s only part of its history. Archaeologists have unearthed medical texts that describe celery seeds as a pain reliever in ancient Rome. And for thousands of years, Eastern medicine has used the seeds to treat many ailments, including colds, flu, digestive troubles, diseases of the liver and spleen, water retention, and different types of arthritis, including gout.
Now, the seeds’ healing powers are gaining recognition in the Western world. And celery seed extracts in supplements offer a concentrated and convenient way to benefit.
Did You Know?
A study of 70 people suffering from arthritis pain found that 75 mg of a celery seed extract taken for three weeks reduced pain and improved flexibility of joints.
Celery Seed as a Diuretic to Reduce Blood Pressure
Both celery and celery seeds act as a diuretic, helping to eliminate excess water and salt that make blood pressure rise. This is also how many prescription blood-pressure medications work, but the drugs also cause side effects because they disrupt the body’s balance of sodium and potassium and reduce blood flow to the brain. Celery does the job without disturbing the body’s natural mineral balance, doesn’t reduce blood flow to the brain, and doesn’t cause any other adverse effects. In addition, celery seed extract helps dilate blood vessels, another mechanism that lowers blood pressure.
A study of 30 people with moderately elevated blood pressure tested 75 mg of a celery seed extract twice daily (once in the morning and again in the evening). Blood pressure began to drop after a few weeks of supplementation, and at the end of six weeks, it had fallen, on average, from 139/85 to 131/76.
Celery and its seeds contain phthalides, a specific category of plant nutrients. Although other plants also contain phthalides, the unique composition of these compounds in celery produces its health benefits. One phthalide, 3nB (short for 3-n-butylphthalide), is found only in celery, and is believed to be the key component that lowers blood pressure. The blood-pressure study referenced above used an extract standardized to contain 85-percent 3nB.
Celery Seed Used to Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Pain
Temporary inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to injury—when you cut a finger, the redness around it means your body is working to heal the cut. But chronic inflammation is a key component of chronic pain. Anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat arthritis and other pain suppress some of the production of inflammation in a way that leads to side effects and health risks, but celery works in a different manner.
Rather than blocking internal processes, celery seed extract restores balance to the body’s prostaglandins, natural chemicals that influence inflammation. By balancing, rather than blocking natural processes, the extract can bring relief without harmful side effects. In fact, a study of 70 people suffering from arthritis pain tested 75 mg of a celery seed extract for three weeks and found that the extract reduced pain and improved flexibility of joints.
Celery Seed for Gout and Ulcers
Many people have experienced relief from gout by taking celery seed extract. Gout can develop on its own or can be triggered by diuretic drugs that lower blood pressure, because the drugs raise levels of uric acid. When uric acid forms crystals, they cause severe pain, often in the big toe.
While celery seed extract is a diuretic, it has the opposite effect on uric acid. Lab analyses of celery seed have found that it contains luteolin, a substance that reduces unhealthy levels of uric acid by blocking an enzyme that contributes to its overproduction.
Celery seed is also an ancient remedy for poor digestion, and more recent examinations of its components have found that it can help prevent or relieve stomach ulcers. Lab analyses show that it inhibits H. pylori bacteria, which can cause ulcers in the lining of the stomach.
How to Use Celery Seed Extract
Celery seed extract is available as an individual supplement and is also found in formulas. For extracts standardized to contain 85% 3nB—noted in the Supplements Facts—the usual dose is 75–150 mg, twice daily. For other extracts, follow product directions.
To relieve gout, some people take much higher doses, such as 500 mg or 1,200 mg daily. It usually needs to be taken on an ongoing basis to prevent gout from recurring. Some formulas combine celery seed with tart cherry extract, which also reduces uric acid and helps relieve gout and other types of pain.