(NaturalNews) Celery has a long history of use and is truly an ancient healing food. At first glance celery may seem rather unimpressive, but the more you look into its background and medicinal uses the more you realize that we must have been misinformed on the usefulness of this plant. Traditionally celery, or Apium Graveolens, was used to treat an array of ailments and was very bitter in taste. It is believed to have originated from the Mediterranean basin, and has been harvested since about 850 B.C. Its medicinal properties are believed to be from its volatile oils which are found in all parts of the plant, but seem to be concentrated in its seeds. Ayurvedic physicians used celery to treat colds, flu, water retention, poor digestion, arthritis, liver, and spleen ailments.
Our common celery stalk is mostly composed of about 83% water and a healthy amount of fiber. This is well known. What is not well know is the fact that celery also contains many micronutrients which it receives from rain, sunshine, and the soil medium from which it is grown. We have been led to believe that celery does not have much to it when in fact celery truly contains a wealth of health improving nutrients that we can obtain from it. Celery has a profile that is much more than water and fiber!
The effects of celery on the body are diuretic, expectorant, carminative, anti-asthmatic, and digestive aid. Celery is a good source of vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber. It also contains molybdenum, manganese, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and tryptophan. Celery also contains about 35 milligrams of a beneficial sodium complex; this is useful in reducing stomach acid levels and raising our hydrochloric acid levels which in turn improves digestion.
Celery has been used for many years in Chinese medicine to alleviate high blood pressure, and this practice is beginning to pick up steam in America. It is believed that the phthalides in celery relax the arteries and allow the vessels to dilate which enables the blood to flow more freely. These phthalides also relieve our stress hormones and in turn the less stressed our body is the lower our blood pressure becomes. Celery is also a very good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium, all of which have been associated with reduced blood pressure.
Celery is also a good source of vitamin C, and along with that comes all the benefits that vitamin C carries with it. Some of these benefits include a boost in the immune system and a reduction in the symptoms and severity of colds. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant which has been shown to lower inflammation in many cases such as arthritis and asthma. Vitamin C is crucial in the production of collagen.
Celery contains compounds called coumarins that help in the prevention of free radicals, thus decreasing the potential for cells to become cancerous due to mutation. Coumarins also have been shown to enhance the activity of certain types of white blood cells, immune defenders that target harmful cells, including cancer cells. In addition, compounds in celery called acetylenics have been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells.
Celery is just one of the many ancient healing foods from our past. As our methods of researching whole foods develop, we are finding out more and more about what we are eating for dinner, and as we have just found out, celery is truly much more than just water and fiber!
Brett Brown is a contributing journalist with a strong desire to help others receive factual information in the health industry. He also writes for and updates his own blog on a regular basis which can be found at: http://rawhealthforce.blogspot.com