We all know Parsley as a pretty little herb that lends a sprinkling of color and taste to our favorite dishes. But the therapeutic aspects of parsley, which has been around for more than 2000 years, are almost unknown and rather unappreciated. Parsley or garden parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a species of Petroselinum in the family Apiaceae, and is widely cultivated as a herb, a spice, and a vegetable. The word “parsley” is a merger of the Old English petersilie and the Old French peresil. Though available in a variety of shapes and sizes the two most popular types of parsley are curly parsley and Italian flat leaf parsley. The Italian variety has a more fragrant and less bitter taste than the curly variety. A recent addition has been Turnip-rooted (or Hamburg) parsley that is cultivated for its roots, which resemble salsify and burdock. Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region (southern Italy, Algeria, and Tunisia) of Southern Europe. Prior to being using in culinary dishes, parsley for ages has been highly regarded as a medicinal herb. The practice of using parsley as a garnish actually has a long history that can be traced back to the civilization of the ancient Romans. The Romans introduced the herb to England during their colonial rule. Early British immigrants to the Americas introduced it as a culinary herb around the 17th century and is widely spread today.
15 FRESH REASONS TO CHEW ON PARSLEY
- Anti-Inflammatory: Eugenol, one of the oils found in parsley, and Vitamin C, have excellent anti-arthritic and anti inflammatory properties, which prevent bone problems such as osteoartharitis and joint pains. Parsley’s essential oils suppress overstimulated immune responses, avoiding allergies, and autoimmune and persistent inflammatory disorders.
- Boosts Immunity: Parsley is also enriched with potent anti oxidants- vitamin A and vitamin C, which support the immune system. Vitamin C enables the production of collagen that helps to protect muscle and connective tissue to help maintain healthy skin. Vitamin A helps fight cancers and viral infections while supporting heart and eye functions.
- Fights Bad Breath (Halitosis): Parsley is chock full of chlorophyll, which has antibacterial properties that fights oral bacteria that causes bad breath. Also the purifying and cleansing effect of parsley juice makes a good remedy to clean up the toxic colon which is the primary cause for bad breath.
- Boosts Liver Health: Apigenin and myristicin, two compounds found in parsley, boost the production of a liver enzyme which helps detox the liver and effectively our body.
- Anti Anemia: The high chlorophyll content from parsley is an excellent blood purifier and builder. The vitamin C and iron content makes iron absorption more effective and increases the hemoglobin count.
- Prevents Atherosclerosis: Parsley’s vitamin C prevents the hardening of the arteries, dissolves the sticky plague, and maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels.
- Avoids Menstruation Disorders: Parsley leaves consumed in the days before menstruation can help increase urination and eliminate excess fluid that cause bloating or water retention. Also Apiole oil in parsley, a constituent of female sex hormones estrogen, makes it effective in regulating monthly periods.
- Strengthens Bones: Parsley contains Vitamin K which is responsible for the synthesis of a protein called osteocalcin that increases your bone density.
- Anti Cancer: Parsley essential oils contain organic compound-myristicin, flavonoid- apigenin, and anti-oxidants- monoterpenes, phthalides and polyacetylenes, which activate enzymes to help neutralize carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) that can lead to breast, skin, prostate and colon cancer.
- Cardiovascular Support: Parsley contains a significant amount of the B vitamin folic acid, also known as folate, which controls your blood pressure and reduces homocysteine (an amino acid that can damage blood vessels) in our bodies, thus lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis (thickening of artery walls).
- Rich in Antioxidants: Parsley contains antioxidants such as, luteolin and flavonoids that help prevent free radicals formation in the body. In addition Luteloin also increases the body’s metabolism.
- Detoxifier: The diuretic effect of healing compounds in parsley, myristicin and apiole, help increase urine flow, remove infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract and prevent kidney stones and various urinary tract problems.
- Prevents Hair Loss: Parsley essential oil, when massaged into the scalp, may reduce hair loss. Sipping its juice also helps stimulate and maintain hair growth.
- Vision health: The high carotenoids (precursor of A vitamin) in parsley makes it a particularly healing food for vision health.
- Wound healing: The excellent source of histidine in parsley is the essential amino acid necessary for growth and repair of tissues, aiding the healing process post surgery.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Oxalates: Parsley is among a small number of foods that contain measurable amounts of oxalates, naturally-occurring substances found in plants, animals, and human beings. Individuals with already existing and untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid eating parsley.
- Pregnancy: Excessive consumption of parsley should be avoided by pregnant women. It is safe in normal food quantities, but large amounts may have uterotonic effects. Parsley has been used to cause an abortion and start menstrual flow.
- Allergies: In some people, parsley can cause allergic skin reactions. Consuming very large amounts of parsley can cause other side effects like “tired blood” (anemia) and liver or kidney problems.
- Skin sensitivity: Parsley seed oil applied to the skin can cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun and cause a rash. Not enough is known about the safety of applying parsley root and leaf to the skin.
- Fluid retention (edema): There is a concern that parsley might cause the body to hold onto sodium (salt), and this increases water retention and worsen high blood pressure symptoms.
- Kidney disease: Avoid if you have kidney disease as some elements in parsley are aggravate these ailments.