Parsley Leaf

Health Benefits of Parsley
Used for over 2,000 years, parsley has a number of medicinal purposes. Since it is anti-inflammatory and diuretic it has been used to treat many different ailments throughout the body. Traditionally, parsley properties have been used for:

Preventing urinary tract infections. Parsley properties include diuretic and antibacterial actions, which have been traditionally used to prevent and treat bladder and kidney problems.

Treating anemia. Parsley nutritional benefits are commonly reaped in culinary ways, for treating the weakness and fatigue related to iron deficiency,

Additionally, the medicinal properties of parsley are highly effective for treating respiratory conditions, such as asthma, running nose, and congestion. It is also said to help in treating inflammatory diseases, such as gout, rheumatism, and arthritis.

Furthermore, research supports parsley benefits for alleviating PMS cramps by inducing menstruation, as well as for aiding bone formation and reducing blood pressure.

Medicinal Uses of Parsley in the Past
Parsley was probably not used extensively as medicine in ancient times but there exist some historical mentions of it as a medicinal herb.

parsely herb
Parsleu (Petroselinum crispum) – Illustration ©the herbal resource
The Roman physician Galen (130 AD – 200 AD) prescribed it for “falling sickness” (epilepsy) and as a diuretic in the case of edema and Pedanius Dioscorides (40 – 90 AD), a Greek physician and botanist, describes the herb as a diuretic and as a remedy for irregular menstruation.
The German writer, composer and philosopher Hildegard of Bingen (1098 – 17 September 1179) recommended compresses of parsley to treat arthritis and that the herb should be cooked in wine against chest pain.

Over the centuries the herb has been used traditionally to treat various ailment and diseases.

Externally, the herb was used to treat insect bites, injuries and get rid of lice, and internally as a treatment for dysentery, gallstones, and jaundice.

Parsley seeds were even used as a remedy against the plague and once it was used as a replacement for quinine to treat malaria.
In the 1800s and 1900s, parsley was listed in Pharmacopoeias as a laxative and as a diuretic agent that could be used as a treatment for kidney problems and edema caused by heart failure.

A Plant Loaded With Nutrients
Parsley is rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, potassium, zinc, and phosphorus. It also contains high levels of folic acid (B vitamin) and the vitamins A, B, C, and K.

Studies have shown that vitamin K is vital in bone formation, protects against osteoporosis and is very beneficial for the circulatory system and the nervous system.

Five grams of parsley usually covers the daily requirement of vitamin A, and 25 grams of the fresh herb cover the daily requirement of vitamin C.

Parsley is an excellent source of dietary fiber but also calcium which makes it a good chose for those who are not very keen on consuming dairy products.

100 g of the fresh herb gives 36 kg calories, mostly in the form of carbohydrates, with 3.6 g of fiber.

The furanocoumarins found in the leaves have antimicrobial properties and the high content of antioxidants, vitamin C and carotenoids makes the herb helpful in strengthening the immune system and build up resistance against infections and diseases.

Some studies have suggested that parsley may limit the harmful effects of some known carcinogenic substances. This is probably due to the chlorophyll content of the herb, but other substances, such as vitamin C, flavonoids and carotenoids may also play a part.

Additionally, it has been found that the substances myristiecin, limonene, eugenol and alfathujen present in the essential oil of parsley have an anti-cancer effect.
As the fresh herb is high in iron and that its content of vitamin C increases the iron uptake, it can be useful in the treatment of anemia (anemia). The herb also contains the much needed folic acid, a vital building block of the red blood cells.

Parsley increases the secretion of digestive fluids which may lead to better digestion, improved nutrient uptake, and less intestinal gas production. It may also be used as a remedy for colic and other digestive problems.

Parsley for a Fresh Breath
Chewing on parsley to get rid of garlic breath is a well-known household remedy. While studies have not been able to prove that parsley is effective in this regard it may at least have some effect due to the high chlorophyll levels found in the herb.

Chlorophyll is a compound known to have anti-bacterial properties so to use parsley to get rid of bad breath might be worth a try.

A Diuretic Herb
Parsley has diuretic properties and has been used to treat fluid retention (edema or dropsy) and to speed up the elimination of harmful toxins from the digestive system.

Medical doctors often prescribe diuretics as a treatment of high blood pressure, and German doctors, who are known to use medicinal herbs to great extent, often recommend a tea made from the seeds as a treatment for high blood pressure.

It should be kept in mind that high blood pressure may cause serious health problems so any use of parsley as medicine should be done in consultation with a professional health care worker.

Other Therapeutic Applications
A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology showed that parsley inhibits the secretion of histamine, a substance produced in the body that is responsible for triggering allergy symptoms.

The herb may therefore be helpful as a herbal remedy for hay fever.

Animal studies have shown that the herb reduces blood glucose levels which indicate that it could be used as a natural treatment for diabetes.