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Apium graveolens is a plant species in the family Apiaceae, and yields two important vegetables known as celery and celeriac. Cultivars of the species have been used for centuries, whilst others have been domesticated only in the last 200-300 years.
Apium graveolens is used around the world as a vegetable, either for the crisp petiole (leaf stalk) or fleshy taproot.
In temperate countries, celery is also grown for its seeds, which yield a valuable volatile oil used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. Celery seeds can be used as flavouring or spice either as whole seeds or, ground and mixed with salt, as celery salt. Celery salt can also be made from an extract of the roots.
It is used as a seasoning, in cocktails (notably to enhance the flavour of Bloody Mary cocktails), on the Chicago-style hot dog, and in Old Bay Seasoning. Celery is one of three vegetables considered the holy trinity (along with onions and bell peppers) of Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine. It is also one of the three vegetables (together with onions and carrots) that constitute the French mirepoix, which is often used as a base for sauces and soups.
The use of celery seed in pills for relieving pain was described by Aulus Cornelius Celsus ca. 30 AD.
The whole plant is gently stimulating, nourishing, and restorative; it can be liquidized and the juice taken for joint and urinary tract inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis or urethritis, for weak conditions and nervous exhaustion.[verification needed]
The seeds, harvested after the plant flowers in its second year, are the basis for a homeopathic extract used as a diuretic. The extract is believed to help clear toxins from the system, so are especially good for gout, where uric acid crystals collect in the joints, and arthritis. They are also used as a mild digestive stimulant. The extract can be combined with almond or sunflower oil, and massaged into arthritic joints or for painful gout in the feet or toes.[verification needed]