- Family Umbelliferae
- Petroselinum crispum
- Common Parsley, Hamburg Parsley, Persely, Petersylinge, Rock Parsley
- Excessive consumption of the seeds can be toxic.
- Do not take seeds during pregnancy or if suffering from kidney disease.
Native to Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, parsley is a well-known biennial (sometimes an annual) herb, growing to a foot in height. It has an erect stem, bright green compound, smooth or crinkled leaves, umbels of small white flowers, and tiny ribbed seeds. It is cultivated everywhere for culinary use.
Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, parsley was used as a diuretic, digestive tonic, and menstrual stimulant, more so than a culinary herb.
In Rome, the herb was associated with the queen of the underworld and used in funeral ceremonies.
It was introduced into Britain in 1548.
Native Americans used the leaves in compresses to treat insect bites and stings, as well as swollen glands. The Cherokee used the herb to treat kidney and bladder problems.
- digestive aid
- promotes menstruation
- uterine stimulant
- volatile oil (including 20% myristicin, 18% apiole, plus many other terpenes)
- coumarins (including bergapten)
- vitamins ( including A, C, E, niacin, and riboflavin)
- minerals (including iron, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus)
- Leaves, root, seeds
- The flavonoids are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
- Myristicin and apiole have diuretic and uterine stimulant properties.
- Bergapten, a furocoumarin, is responsible for photosensitivity in some people.
The root is more commonly prescribed in herbal medicine than the seeds or leaves. It is taken for flatulence, cystitis, rheumatic conditions, and to promote menstruation and relieving its pain.
The seeds have a much stronger diuretic action than the leaves and may be substituted for celery seeds in the treatment of gout, rheumatism, and arthritis. Both act by encouraging the flushing out of waste products from inflamed joints and removing them via the kidneys.
It is also effective when used topically.
Because of its chlorophyll content, parsley is used most often as a breath freshener, and has the ability to mask strong odours, including that of garlic.
Highly nutritious, parsley is considered to be a natural vitamin and mineral supplement.