Celery Antioxidant, Antifungal, Fights Metabolic Syndrome

A number of studies have recently shown that celery (Apium graveolens) has some unique medicinal benefits, including being significantly antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifungal. Let’s take a quick look at these studies, as well as a warning about over-doing it.

celery antifungal metabolic syndrome

Research finds that celery is a significant antioxidant that can fight metabolic syndrome and is antifungal.

Celery is a significant antioxidant

There are a number of fruits and vegetables that provide antioxidant properties to our bodies. Antioxidant means that the food neutralizes free radicals in the body.

Free radicals are one of the most harmful elements in our body. Free radicals are the foundation for many of the lethal diseases. These include heart disease, dementia, liver disease and so many others.

Raw celery itself doesn’t have an amazing ORAC number. (ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity.) Its ORAC number is 552 micromoles TE per 100 grams. We can compare this to, for example, raw ginger root’s ORAC, which is 14,840. Or Acai, which has a total-ORAC of 102,700.

But what celery has is a variety of medicinal free-radical compounds, such as:
• apigenin
• beta-carotene
• caffeic acid
• coumaric acid
• ferulic acid
• kaempferol
• limonene
• luteolin
• phthalide
• tannin
• saponin
• sedanenaloide
• sedanolide
• selinene

Each of these has the ability to remove different types of free radicals from the body. In a 2019 study from China’s Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement,1 researchers found an abundance of a special plant antioxidant called ascorbate peroxidase. This is an enzyme that helps synthesize ascorbate as well as scavenges excess hydrogen peroxide.

The researchers found that this special antioxidant was one of the reasons why celery is significantly drought resistant, despite its tremendous retention of water.

The researchers stated that:

“The characteristics of ascorbate peroxidase in celery were different from that in other species.”

A 2017 study from the Kurdistan University of Medical Sciences2 also found celery was a significant antioxidant. They reviewed 980 studies and compiled the data from nine studies showing these antioxidant properties. The researchers concluded that celery “powerful antioxidant characteristics, to remove free radicals.”

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Anti-inflammatory celery fights metabolic syndrome

This was the conclusion of a 2019 review of research from the School of Pharmacy at Iran’s Mashhad University of Medical Sciences.4 Here the researchers found that celery and its compounds had curative abilities against metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes issues. The researchers concluded:

“As a result, the most active ingredients in celery have shown hypolipidemic, antidiabetic, and hypotensive properties.”

According to a 2017 review of research published in Phytotherapy Research, scientists found that celery reduced cardiovascular inflammatory disorders. They found that the flavonoids celery decreased the activity of proinflammatory cytokines.

Celery was also found to reduce oxidative stress in the bloodstream, decreasing cardiovascular inflammation. This lowered the risk of high blood pressure (hypertension), and atherosclerosis. The research found that the phthalides in celery helped expand smooth muscle among blood vessels.

Here the researchers found that celery and its compounds had curative abilities against metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome includes high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and diabetes issues. The researchers concluded:

“As a result, the most active ingredients in celery have shown hypolipidemic, antidiabetic, and hypotensive properties.”

As we’ve discussed in other research, celery seed extract is helpful after a stroke. And celery seed has been shown to boost cognition and slow Alzheimer’s symptoms. (https://plantmedicines.org/celery-seed-may-stop-alzheimers/)

Celery is antifungal

Multiple studies have shown that celery and its extracts have antibacterial and antifungal properties.

A 2019 study from India’s Banaras Hindu University5 tested an essential oil extract of celery against a variety of molds that frequently infect stored food grains.

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The researchers tested the essential oil against Aspergillus flavus. This is a foodborne infection that causes aflatoxin infections that affect grains such as rice and wheat while they are in storage.

The researchers found that the celery essential oil inhibited the fungal infection from stored rice grains. They also found that the compound had high free radical scavenging properties.

A 2019 study from Cameroon’s University of Buea6 tested nine different vegetables and spices for antimicrobial activity. Along with these, the researchers tested celery leaves for their ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

Of the nine vegetables, celery leaves significantly inhibited fungi and bacteria along with wild leeks (Allium porrum) and wild mango leaves (Irvingia gabonensis).

Celery’s antifungal and antibacterial properties were significant:

The researchers reported, regarding the inhibition zones for fungi:

“Irvingia gabonensis and Apium graveolens [celery] showed the highest zones with dose-dependent activity against [fungi] Fusarium solani and F. oxysporum.”

The researchers also noted that celery was rich in protein and zinc.

A warning about overdoing celery

Of late there has been a trend of drinking celery juice every day for weight loss and related benefits. In a 2019 paper from the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, doctors reported that a 36-year old female patient came into a medical clinic with blurred vision, palpitation and nausea. They tested thyroid function and found TSH and T4 were high.

The doctors found the woman had been on a weight loss diet for 78 days. She consumed 26 kilos of celery over that period.

This is not to say that the celery caused the thyroid issue, as thyroid issues are quite common. But the doctors did see a reduction in symptoms as the woman discontinued the celery extract use. The doctors could not find any thyroid-stimulating compound in the celery.

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Celery has some positive benefits. But too much of a good thing can become problematic.

Scientific References

1. Liu JX, Feng K, Duan AQ, Li H, Yang QQ, Xu ZS, Xiong AS. Isolation, purification and characterization of an ascorbate peroxidase from celery and overexpression of the AgAPX1 gene enhanced ascorbate content and drought tolerance in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biol. 2019 Nov 11;19(1):488. doi: 10.1186/s12870-019-2095-1.

2. Kooti W, Daraei N. A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery ( Apium graveolens L). J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Oct;22(4):1029-1034. doi: 10.1177/2156587217717415. Epub 2017 Jul 13.

3. Sowbhagya HB. Chemistry, technology, and nutraceutical functions of celery (Apium graveolens L.): an overview. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(3):389-98. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.586740.

4. Hedayati N, Bemani Naeini M, Mohammadinejad A, Mohajeri SA. Beneficial effects of celery (Apium graveolens) on metabolic syndrome: A review of the existing evidences. Phytother Res. 2019 Aug 29. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6492.

5. Das S, Singh VK, Dwivedy AK, Chaudhari AK, Upadhyay N, Singh A, Deepika, Dubey NK. Antimicrobial activity, antiaflatoxigenic potential and in situ efficacy of novel formulation comprising of Apium graveolens essential oil and its major component. Pestic Biochem Physiol. 2019 Oct;160:102-111. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2019.07.013.

6. Wandji FNB, Achidi AU, Ngemenya MN, Nyongbela KD, Tiencheu B. In vitro antifungal, antibacterial activities and nutritional value of nine Cameroonian edible vegetables. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment. 2019 Jul-Sep;18(3):333-341. doi: 10.17306/J.AFS.0664.


  • Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences, Doctorate in Integrative Health Sciences, Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner, California Naturopath. Diplomas in Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling, Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Colon Hydrotherapy, certificates in Pain Management and Case Management/Contact Tracing. Has authored more than 30 books and hundreds of periodical articles on natural medicine. Recreational activities include surfing, sailing, running, biking, swimming, SUPing, hiking. Contact: [email protected]

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