Curly Parsley

Super Herbs – Parsley

Parsley  it is an extremely nutrient herb that has been used for more than 2,500 years as an important medicine aswell as being used as a garnish, which most people today discard. In this post I hope to show you how wonderful this herb is for your health and wellbeing, and encourage you to grow and use more in your day to day meals.
Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) is a low-sodium, low-calorie, and fat-free food. The two most common types that are readily available are the crisped-leaf variety  characterized by it’s bright green furled leaves, and the Italian variety which has less of a bitter taste with an overall stronger parsley flavour. Both are rich in a number of nutrients such as Vitamin C, folic acid and iron, chlorophyll, carotenes and fibre.  Parsley is also a good source of minerals including magnesium, calcium, postassium and zinc.1

Health Benefits

The main health benefits of parsley are:

  • Diuretic – prevents problems such as kidney stones and bladder infections keeping the body’s kidney’s working smoothly by increasing urine production1,2
  • Carminative – settles an unhappy stomach, and indigestion, is also known to reduce constipation1,2
  • Nerve stimulant – strengthens the adrenal glands and benefits the optic and brain nerves1,2
  • Anti-oxidant – helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress thereby reducing the chance of chronic diseases1,2,3
  • Anti-cancer – the volitile oil components; myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene; have all shown anticancer effects1,2,4
    “Regular addition of P. crispum in the daily diet as food or supplements can help strengthen the antioxidant systems of the body and reduce the effects of free radical‐induced carcinogenesis, cancer and subsequent metastasis caused by prolonged and excessive oxidative stress.” Tang et al, 2015.
  • Breath freshener – counteracts halitosis1,2
  • Hypoglycemic  reduces blood glucose levels 3,5
  • Detoxifier – detoxifies and promotes the chelation heavy metal2,6
  • Hypotensive – due to diuretic effect but also thins the blood
  • Emmenagogue –  encourages menstrual bleeding, by stimulating uterine contractions and can be used to promote menstruation in delayed menses or amenorrhea
    NOTE: therefore not recommended for pregnant women
  • Nutritive – supplies a good variety of valuable micro and macro nutrients, these include Vitamins A, B1, C, K, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and manganese

Interesting Parsley Uses

  • Traditionally used for alcoholism
  • The Leaves of Parsley laid to the Eyes that are inflamed with heat or swollen, doth much help them, if it be used with Bread or Meal.
    – Culpepper, The English Physician, 1652
  • Increase femal libido – Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Peter, K. 2004
  • Inhibits the secreation of histamine, so useful topically for hives and eczema – Handbook of Herbs and Spices, Peter, K. 2004
  • Parsley juice applied to skin spots reduces their colour

How much

In order to get the health benefits from parsley either drink 2-3 cups of tea made from 2-4 grams of fresh or dried parsley leaves or eat 1-2 ounces of fresh or lightly cooked parsley daily. You can also use  2-3 grams of dried parsley root.

  • Added to vegetable juices or smoothies
  • Chop into salads: e.g. chopped fennel, orange, cherry tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and parsely leaves
  • Create Tabbouleh: combine parsley with bulgur wheat (or your choice of grain), chopped garlic, mint leaves, lemon juice and some olive oil
  • Create a parsley pesto
  • Add to grilled fish

Fun Parsley Facts

  • Historically if someone was said to be “in need of parsley”, they were usually very ill and not likely to survive, as parsley was sprinkled onto corpses to reduce the smell
  • The Greeks didn’t use parsley in cooking it was revered as a symbol of oblivion and death, a funeral herb. The Greek legend says that parsley sprung up where the blood of Archemorus (Greek hero) was spilled when he was eaten by serpents
  • The Romans used parsley to ward off intoxication, and to hide the smell of alcohol on the breath
  • In Tudor times parsley was used to cure baldness

Here’s an old recipe using parsley as a cardiovascular tonic.

St. Hildegard of Bingen wrote about the tonic effects of parsley on the cardio-vascular system in the 12th century. A recipe for parsley wine that’s been passed down is:

Parsley Tonic Wine

  • 12 sprigs of parsley
  • 1 quart of white or red wine
  • 2 tablespoons of white-wine vinegar
  • 9 ounces of honey

Put all the ingredients except the honey together into a soup pot. Boil for 10 minutes then add 9 ounces of honey.

Strain and pour into bottles. Take 1 tablespoon 3x a day.

-Robin Rose Bennett, Plant Healer Magazine #6

Parsley is very easy to grow and does very well on your kitchen window sill, where it can be added to food fresh. I hope this short article has inspired you to add it into your diet.

References

  1. Pizzorno, J & Murray, M (2005). The encyclopedia of healing food. London; Piatkus
  2. Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition, (3rd Ed). Berkerly, CA: North Atlantic Books. 
  3. OPRICĂ, L., & VOCHITA, G. (2014). Biochemical changes in two parsley (Petroselinum crispum L.) varieties during saline stress. Iranian Journal of Public Health, 43(12), 1718–1719.
  4. Tang, E. L., Rajarajeswaran, J., Fung, S., & Kanthimathi, M. (2015). Petroselinum crispum has antioxidant properties, protects against DNA damage and inhibits proliferation and migration of cancer cells. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 95(13), 2763–2771. http://doi.org/10.1002/jsfa.7078
  5. Abou Khalil, N. S., Abou-Elhamd, A. S., Wasfy, S. A., El Mileegy, I. H., Hamed, M. Y., & Ageely, H. M. (2016). Antidiabetic and antioxidantimpacts of Desert Date (Balanites aegyptiaca) and Parsley (Petroselinum sativum) aqueous extracts: Lessons from experimental rats. Journal Of Diabetes Research, 20168408326. doi:10.1155/2016/8408326
  6. Maodaa, S. N., Allam, A. A., Ajarem, J., Abdel-Maksoud, M. A., Al-Basher, G. I., & Wang, Z. Y. (2015). Effect of parsley (Petroselinum crispum, Apiaceae) juice against cadmium neurotoxicity in albino mice (Mus Musculus). Behavioral and Brain Functions : BBF, 12, 6. http://doi.org/10.1186/s12993-016-0090-3