Is herbal therapy safe in obesity? A case of Apium graveolens (Celery) induced hyperthyroidism

An interesting case report - though the conclusion maybe somewhat speculative. Don't take it too seriously without further reports. I shall certainly continue to consume my modest but regular consumption of celery.

It is a classic to suggest that it takes more calories to eat and digest celery than it supplies!

ARYA Atheroscler. 2016 Sep; 12(5): 248–249.

PMCID: PMC5403020

Is herbal therapy safe in obesity? A case of Apium graveolens (Celery) induced hyperthyroidism

Hojjat Rouhi-Boroujeni,1 Masih Hosseini,2 Mojgan Gharipour,3 and Hamid Rouhi-Boroujeni4

1Member of Student Research Committee, Medical Plants Research Center, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

2Medical Plants Research Center AND Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran

3PhD Candidate, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

4Internist, Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Shahrekord University of Medical Sciences, Shahrekord, Iran


Apium graveolens is one of the well-known herbs used for the treatment of different; however, allergic reactions have been reported after its use. This report aimed to demonstrate the A. graveolens induced hyperthyroidism after its oral consumption for weight loss.


Mr. A, 48-year-old, with no history of any thyroid diseases, was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism due to daily consumption of 4 g of dried celery leaves for 45 days. After cessation of consumption and treatment with methimazole, the symptoms remitted. Then, the medication was discontinued when the lab tests and ultrasound were normal and indicated the patient’s definite recovery. In 2 months follow up of, he was normal and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T4, T3, anti-TSH receptor, anti thyroperoxidase and antithyroglobulin were in normal ranges.


Hyperthyroidism may be induced by consumption celery. Although many studies have reported side effects such as allergic reactions for this herb, this is the first report of hyperthyroidism induced by celery in which the patient recovered after discontinuing the medication. Therefore, it can be assumed that celery induces hyperthyroidism as a side effect of this herb if it is used for a long term.

Keywords: Hyperthyroidism, Celery, Obesity, Case Report

Full paper here:

19 Replies

Celery was also made one of the allergens which has specifically to be identified on all retail food. I seem to remember that there is an area in Europe, maybe somewhere round France/German borders, where celery allergy is particularly high for genetic reasons.

I had never been aware that celery was a common allergen until I saw it appearing on lists of food ingredients in bold.

Nor I!

How common is allergy to celery? No one knows for sure, although estimates suggest that celery allergy is one of the more common pollen-related food allergies among adults in central Europe. For example, one study found that five out of 107 cases of severe anaphylaxis in France in 2002 were due to celery (Moneret -Vautrin et al 2004). The prevalence of celery allergy in the UK is unknown.

Importantly, we must treat celeriac as celery for allergy considerations.

I wish I liked celery a lot more than I do. Perhaps it could be used to fine tune Free T3 levels. So, on busy days I need the leaves off 5 sticks of celery, and on quiet days I would only need the leaves off 2 sticks of celery. :D

I can't say I find your link terribly convincing, I have to be honest. It sounds like the patient had lots of allergy problems with eating celery. I suspect the allergy and its effects may have had more to do with the change in TFT results than the celery directly.

I am not completey convinced either - but it seemed interesting!

Oh yes, I found it interesting too. :)

I can't stand celery. The smell of it makes me sick and hurts my nose so much. Maybe its nature's way to warn me to stay away from it as I am already skinny :D


I am not sure if I am allergic to it, as I have no cross - reaction to any other food or pollen. But something in it is repulsive. It has irritated my nose a bit always as the smell is stinging.

Once I made celery soup for my sister in law and I felt nauseous and my nose was aching. Not stuffed nor sneezing, just stabbing pain. Was awful. I had to put cotton balls into my nose to be able to be in same room and took long time before it stopped smelling in my nose. Yack.

Fried salmon can have the same effect too and I can eat fish just normally, it's just the smell.

Celery I do not choose to eat as to me it tastes bad anyway.

Tho since I have optimised B12 my nose is less sensitive but haven't tried with celery. Not tempted to tho :D

delicious21 ha ha I can sympathise with that. When my hypo was really bad I would get hungry but be so indecisive that I was unable to decide what to eat. Now I am so boring I like eating the same things every day perhaps to avoid stuff that upsets me and to not have any choice to cause mental paralysis 😂🤣😂

I'm not keen on celery other than using a dash of celery salt and a stick of celery used as a swizzle stick in a bloody Mary or bloody Caesar.


Vodka and clamato juice.


No, Bloody Mary is vodka and tomato juice.


Clamato is a mixture of clam and tomato juice.

I wonder how the dried leaves induced hyperthyroidism.

Would the occasional stick boost our thyroid medication efficacy.

It's very nice cooked as well as raw! I have no aversion to it at all.

I really don't think that ordinary consumption levels would be an issue. Surely, if they were, other people would have been saying so?

Modest amounts of raw celery or some cooked (e.g. roasted alongside other vegetables and a joint) to make gravy - lovely. Braised celery or celery soup - no thank you.

The heart of celery stick eaten raw dipped into a bit of salt.... Lovely! And if it's going to help my hypothyroidism by making me more hyper- so much the better! As humanbean says, we may be able to fine-tune our T3 this way and that can only be a good thing.

I have eaten celery for most of my life. in fact I had a stick for my lunch. I use it in casseroles as well. If you like it and it agrees with you why not?

Raw, braised, made into soup... i'll eat celery any way it comes!

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