Celery appears to have been known to the ancient Hindus. The Arabians probably obtained their knowledge from the Greeks. Mohammad Husain, who wrote in India about one hundred and twenty years ago, informs us that 'Karafs' is the celery of the Europeans and the Udasaliyun of the Greeks.
It is native to Europe and now naturalized and occurring wild in the foothills of the northwestern Himalayas and the outlying hills of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It is largely cultivated in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
It is an erect, annual or biennial herb. The roots are numerous, succulent and well developed. The stem branches are angular or fistular, conspicuously jointed. The leaves are oblong to obovate, pinnate or trifoliolate. The leaflets are ovate to sub-orbicular and 3-lobed. The flowers are white or greenish white and very small. The fruit (commonly called seed) is a schizocarp consisting of two mericarps, sub-orbicular to ellipsoid, greyish brown to brown with pale ridges, aromatic and slightly bitter.
The fruits contain apiin, apigenin and chlorogenic acid.
No adverse effect was reported on use of this plant as medicine in recommended doses.
Celery seeds are credited with stimulant and carminative properties and are prescribed as nervine, sedative and tonic. They are prescribed as a decoction or as a liquid extract. The fatty oil from the seeds is used in many medicinal preparations as an antispasmodic and nerve stimulant. The roots are credited with diuretic property.