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What is Celery?
Belonging to the Umbelliferous family together with fennel, carrots and parsley, celery is a vegetable that originally comes from the wild celery of the Mediterranean. For many years, the seeds of celery have been highly valued for their medicinal properties. Recently, there has been a rising popularity of the healing properties of celery seed extract for gout pains and symptoms.
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Celery Seed Extract as Herbal Medicine
Celery seed may not be a really popular remedy for gout within the Western world but it has been used by Ayurvedic medicine from the East since ancient times. Celery seeds have medicinal properties to treat poor digestion, colds and flu. It can likewise combat water retention and diseases of the internal organs, specifically the spleen and the liver.
But one of the most highlighted properties of celery seeds is its beneficial effect on several types of arthritis, including gout. Celery seed extract attacks gout by reducing the swelling in the affected joints and, at the same time, cleansing the kidneys and the renal system of excessive uric acid.
What is the agent in celery that can treat gout symptoms? The healing factor of celery that allows it to combat gout is the compound 3-n-butyl-phthalide or 3nB.
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The 3nB Compound
The unique characteristic flavor and aroma of celery is due to the 3nB compound. The work of scientists on the medicinal effect of celery, particularly its beneficial effects to high blood pressure and arthritis, led to the discovery of the 3nB. Researchers from the University of Chicago identified 3nB as the factor in celery that significantly lowered blood pressure among hypertensive patients.
Aside from lowering blood pressure, 3nB has also been discovered to be an anticancer phytonutrient and a detoxification agent. The most popular medicinal property, however, is celery’s power to provide pain relief from gout and other forms of arthritis.
Researches revealed that 3nB has a profound effect on the prostaglandin system of the body, the system controlling pain and swelling. Its diuretic effect also helps flush out excess uric acid in the body. These are the reasons behind its positive effect to gout symptoms.
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Scientific Findings of the Efficacy of Celery Seed Extract
Pilot medicinal researches from India and Australia evaluated the effect of celery extract in the treatment of rheumatism including osteoarthritis and gout. Subjects of the study reported significant pain relief after three weeks of taking celery seed extract. Maximum pain relief is achieved after six weeks of treatment. It should also be noted that some subjects reported improvements with continuous treatment for the long term.
No side effects were observed except for the celery’s diuretic effect. Nevertheless, this side effect is particularly beneficial for gout patients. Through this diuretic effect, the compound 3nB reduces the production of uric acid by inhibiting the enzyme xanthine oxidase.
Based on such studies as references, Australian doctors are now starting to prescribe two tablets of celery seed extract standardized to contain 85 percent 3nB and other phthalides for gout patients.
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Based on positive clinical trials, the use of celery seed extract for gout is now proven effective to replace conventional medications, especially allopurinal and NSAIDs.The extract is safe and has no side effects to the body. It has to be noted, nonetheless, that celery seed extract can only control pain with continued use. The pain has a tendency to recur when one stops taking it.
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Le Q. T. & Elliott W.J. Hypotensive and Hypocholesterolemic Effects of Celery Oil May Be Due to BuPh. Clin Res 1991;39:173A.
Soundararajan S., Daunter B., Ajvine. Pilot Biomedical Study for Pain Relief in Rheumatic Pain. School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 1991-92.
Venkat S, Soundararajan S, Daunter B., & Madhusudhan S. Use of Ayurvedic Medicine in the Treatment of Rheumatic Illness. Department of Orthopaedics, Kovai Medical Center and Hospitals, Coimbatore, India, 1995.
Mother Nature: http://www.mothernature.com/Library/Bookshelf/Books/23/95.cfm
University of Maryland Medical Center: http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/celery-seed-000231.htm