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Parsley

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  • Botanical: Petroselinum crispum
  • Family: Apiaceae
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Parsley

Botanical

Petroselinum crispum

Family

Apiaceae

Known as

Petroselinum hortense, Bittersilche, Bockskraut, Geilwurz, Grönte, Kräutel, Peterle, Peterling, Silk, Stehsalat

Old Use

culinary and medicinal use

Collection Times

April to October

Parts Used

leaves, roots, seed

Aroma

clean

Medicinal

abdominal pain, amenorrhea, bladder disease, bladder stones, blood cleansing, cancer, circulation, constipation, cramps, cramps stomach, cystitis, dandruff, digestion, dropsy, eye inflammation, infections, menstrual cramps, menstruation promotion, perspiration, urinary infections, gynecological issues

Heart & Circulation

dropsy (edema), high blood pressure

Hormone & Sexual Organs

amenorrhea, cramps, gynecological issues, menstruation promotion, menstrual problems, menopausal symptom

Infection & Inflammation

earache, infections intestinal, mouth inflammation

Muscle & Joints

gout, rheumatism

Mind & Nerves

depression, fatigue (exhaustion), loss of appetite

Stomach & Intestinal

bad breath, bladder stones, bladder weakness, cancer, constipation, flatulence, kidney stones, ulcers

Skin & Hair

dandruff, insect bites

Properties

antispasmodic, carminative, depurative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, stimulant, tonic

Description

Parsley is a bright green, biennial, plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.

Where it grows as a biennial, in the first year, it forms a rosette of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers.

The seeds are ovoid, 2–3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apex. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation.

Properties & Uses

Parsley is a commonly grown culinary and medicinal herb that is often used as a domestic medicine. The fresh leaves are highly nutritious and can be considered a natural vitamin and mineral supplement in their own right. The plants prime use is as a diuretic where it is effective in ridding the body of stones and in treating jaundice, dropsy, cystitis etc.

It is also a good detoxifier, helping the body to get rid of toxins via the urine and therefore helping in the treatment of a wide range of diseases such as rheumatism. The seed is a safe herb at normal doses, but in excess it can have toxic effects. Parsley should not be used by pregnant women because it is used to stimulate menstrual flow and can therefore provoke a miscarriage. All parts of the plant can be used medicinally, the root is the part most often used though the seeds have a stronger action.

Parsley is antidandruff, antispasmodic, aperient, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactofuge, kidney, stomachic and tonic. An infusion of the roots and seeds is taken after childbirth to promote lactation and help contract the uterus. Parsley is also a mild laxative and is useful for treating anaemia and convalescents. Caution is advised on the internal use of this herb, especially in the form of the essential oil.

Excessive doses can cause liver and kidney damage, nerve inflammation and gastro-intestinal haemorrhage. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with kidney diseases. A poultice of the leaves has been applied externally to soothe bites and stings, it is also said to be of value in treating tumours of a cancerous nature. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache. It is also said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear.

If the leaves are kept close to the breasts of a nursing mother for a few days, the milk flow will cease. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Petroselinum crispum Parsley for infection of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones

Cautions

Parsley is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine. Excessive contact with the plant can cause skin inflammation. Although perfectly safe to eat and nutritious in amounts that are given in recipes, parsley is toxic in excess, especially when used as an essential oil. Avoid with oedema as may cause sodium and water retention. Avoid during pregnancy as parsley fruit associated with abortions. Avoid with kidney disease. Caution with allopathic medications as associated with serotonin activity

Distribution

Central and South Europe. Naturalized in Britain.

Constituents

Vitamin C, Essential Oils, Apiin, Apiol, Apiolin, Flavonoid, furocoumarines, Glykoside, Myristicin, Salicylate, Thymol, umbelliferone, Violaxanthin, Zink