Parsley is one of the world’s most popular culinary herbs. It’s also one of the world’s most effective home remedies for a host of ailments. Parsley belongs to the Apiaceae plant family that includes root vegetables like carrots and celery as well as herbs such as anise, cumin and dill. Parsley is a biennial plant, which means it produces after the second year of planting. It’s commonly grown in gardens and planters worldwide.1,2,4
Although parsley also has nutritional value in its root, most of the food and health benefits are found in the parsley leaf. There are three types of parsley:
- Curly leaf parsley is usually used as a garnish.
- Flat leaf or Italian parsley is more commonly cooked into sauces or used in salads as the taste is less bitter and more flavorful.
- A far less known form of parsley is the turnip-root or Hamburg parsley that is used in Europe and the Mediterranean.
Historically, parsley leaf was used for medicinal purposes long before its value as a nutritional food was recognized. The ancient Greeks used parsley leaf to decorate athletes and to make wreaths for tombs. The Romans also used parsley leaf as a decoration and it wasn’t until the middle ages that parsley leaf began appearing as a food seasoning and parsley leaf health benefits were noticed. 2
Parsley Leaves Health Uses and Health Benefits
Parsley leaf is loaded with vitamins and nutrients. Parsley is exceptionally high in vitamin K with over 500% of the recommended vitamin K daily intake in a single serving. Vitamin C in parsley leaf is also exceptionally high with a single serving containing three times as much vitamin C as an orange. Parsley leaf benefits also include having twice the concentration of iron than spinach. 3
Other ingredients in parsley leaf include vitamin A, copper, manganese, folate and the flavoids crisoeriol, apin, luteolin and apigenin. Volatile oil components include alpha-thujene, eugenol, myristicin and limonene that give parsley leaf one of the highest antioxidant counts among plants. Parsley leaf has a high oxygen radical absorbance capacity that makes it an effective combatant in the prevention and treatment of many cancer forms. 3,4
Parsley leaf benefits and medicinal uses include treatments for digestive disorders, cardiac disease, hypertension, urinary tract disease, diabetes, nervous conditions and dermal conditions. 3,4
Other parsley leaf medicinal uses:
- Angina - Angina is the chest pain symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease. Parsley leaf has known abilities to dilate blood vessels and relieve discomfort from angina.
- Bedwetting - Bedwetting is involuntary nocturnal urinary incontinence and is common in children and teenagers. Bedwetting is sometimes associated with constipation. Eating parsley leaf helps to relieve constipation and may be helpful in reducing bedwetting incidents.
- Bell’s Palsy - Bell’s Palsy is a condition where part of the face muscles are temporarily paralyzed. Anti-inflammatory properties in parsley leaf may relieve muscle paralysis and be an effective natural treatment for Bell’s Palsy.
- Bladder Cancer - Bladder cancer first forms in the lining of the bladder and has a high success rate in early stage treatment. Volatile oils and flavonoids in parsley act as antioxidants that kill free radicals that are a known cause of bladder cancer.
- Cellulite - Cellulite is fat that collects in pockets below the skin and is more prevalent in women than men. Parsley leaf acts as a detoxifying agent and diuretic, flushing excess water, toxins and fats from the body. Parsley also reduces blood glucose levels which is a known factor for weight gain risk.
- Colorectal Cancer - Colorectal or colon cancer is where tumors form in the lining of the large intestine. It’s a slow-moving form of cancer and may be controlled by the antioxidant and free radical killing health benefits found in parsley leaf.
Parsley Leaves Side Effects and Precautions
There are very few parsley leaf side effects. Parsley leaf is considered safe in normal food amounts however due to small amounts of naturally-occurring oxalates, parsley leaf may elevate the level of uric acid and give discomfort to gout and kidney stone sufferers. 4
Parsley leaf side effects may raise hormone levels and should be avoided by pregnant women as a precaution. 4