Parsley leaves are used as garnish and condiment and are included in many recipes. It is rich in vitamins A and C, as well as many other nutrients. Parsley is used as a diuretic, helping the body to release excess water. Increased urine production can also wash out toxins; and this aids in the treatment of gout, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Urinary tract and kidney infections may be treated with parsley, especially the root. Parsley can also stimulate the menstrual process and help relieve menstrual problems, such as tension and pain. It may be taken after childbirth to help in milk production and in contracting the uterus. Finally, chewing on a parsley leaf freshens the breath, due to the aromatic oils.
Common Name of the Herb: Parsley
Latin Name: Petroselinum crispum
Parts Used: Taproot, leaves, and seeds (actually fruits)
Actions: Diuretic, expectorant, emmenagogue, carminative, tonic
Preparation and Use: pour a cup of boiling water onto one teaspoon of parsley roots and/or leaves. Let it infuse for five to ten minutes. This may be drunk three or more times per day.
Cautions and Limitations of Use:
- The oil from parsley can stimulate the uterus; therefore it is unsafe for pregnant women in large quantities. Avoid the seeds altogether.
- Caution for all herbs and foods: Stop using if you experience symptoms of allergy. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. People who are allergic to other foods in the carrot family (such as celery, parsnip, dill, fennel, anise, caraway, cumin, or coriander) may be allergic to parsley.
- Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications, regarding possible interactions.
- If in doubt about the safety of any herb, consult a doctor with special knowledge and experience with herbs.
- Constituents: Apiol and myristicin, glycoside apiin, starch, limonene, 1,3,8 p-menthatriene,
- Growing the Herb: plant parsley in autumn or spring in partial shade. It needs rich, well-drained humus. Cut the flower heads of the plant in its second year to encourage new leaf growth.
- How to Gather: Roots are harvested in autumn from two year old parsley plants. The leaves can be used all year round.
- Other English Common Names: Garden parsley, common parsley, and curled parsley
- Where it Grows: Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Europe, but today it can be found almost everywhere.
- How to Identify: Parsley has vibrant green leaves. There are two common varieties of leaf, the flat and the curly. The flowers are yellow and have multiple tiny heads.