encyclopedia

Parsley Herb and Root

Scientific Names:
Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill [Fam. Apiaceae]

Forms:
Fresh or dried parsley herb; parsley root

Traditional Usage:
– Amenorrhea

– Antioxidant

– Antimicrobial

– Antispasmodic

– Bone and Joint Problems

– Breathing Disorders

– Bronchitis

– Colic

– Coughs

– Cramps

– Diuretic

– Dyspepsia

– Expectorant

– Flatulence

– Indigestion

– Menstrual Difficulties

– Myalgia

– Urinary Tract Conditions

– Urinary Tract Gravel

– Vascular Disorders

Overview:
Parsley herb, Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill [Fam. Apiaceae] is commonly used as a food and spice around the world and is listed in the British Herbal Compendium as a diuretic, carminative and spasmolytic. Parsley herb also has therapeutic indications in France for topical use on dry, chapped skin and insect bites, and for internal use in treating painful menstrual periods. Parsley root is also listed in the German Commission E Monographs as a diuretic (though irritation of kidney tissues), for treating and preventing urinary tract conditions and urinary tract gravel. Parsley is also traditionally used as an expectorant and treatment for bronchitic cough, as well as for treating bone and joint complaints. Parsley herb is a superior food medicine containing high levels of fiber, provitamin A carotenoids, vitamin C, folate and other antioxidants. The dark green leaves and stocks are also generously endowed with calcium and boron for preventing osteoporosis. It would take about three ounces of dried parsley to provide the three milligrams of boron deemed useful in raising estrogen levels, which is more than most people want to consume, but every sprig helps. Bright green parsley, as a rich source of the green plant pigment, chlorophyll, is also recommended as a powerful breath freshener. Herbalist recommend chewing on parsley after meals, after drinking coffee or after eating or drinking anything that might cause bad breath. The tea is also anti-microbial and antiseptic. Modern herbalists recommend parsley for preventing vascular disease and note that the herb, as with other plants in the carrot family, contains 15 compounds that act much like calcium channel blockers. Dr. James Duke, author of The Green Pharmacy, states that vegetarians who eat lots of carrots may have lower levels of vascular disease partly due to these compounds, which are also found in parsley.

Active Ingredients:
Parsley herb contains: Approximately 0.3-0.7% essential oil with the main compound being the myristicin (20%); apiole (18%); beta-phellandrene (12%); p-mentha-1,3,8-triene and other predominantly monoterpene compounds. The herb also contains flavonoids including, largely, apigenin (eg. Apiin = apigenin-7-apiosyl-glucoside) and luteolin. The herb also contains traces of furanocoumarins including bergapten. Parsley root contains up to 0.5% essential oil with the same constituents as listed above, as well as polyynes including falcarinol.

Freeze-dried parsley contains: Water 2.0%; Protein 31.3%; Total lipid (fat) 5.2%; Carbohydrate, by difference 42.4%; Fiber, total dietary 32.7%; Ash 19.1%. Minerals: Calcium, 176mg/100g; Iron, 53.9mg/100g; Magnesium, 372mg/100g; Phosphorus, 548 mg/100g; Potassium, 6300mg/100g; Sodium, 391mg/100g; Zinc, 6.1mg/100g; Copper, 0.46 mg/100g; Manganese, 1.34 mg/100g; Selenium, Se 32.3mcg/100g; Vitamin C, 149.0mg/100g; Thiamin 1.04 mg/100g; Riboflavin 2.3 mg/100g; Niacin 10.4 mg/100g; Pantothenic acid 2.5 mg/100g; Vitamin B-6 1.4mg/100g; Folate, 1535mcg/100g; Vitamin A, 63240 IU; Vitamin A, RE 6324mcg; regular dried parsley Vitamin A, 23340; Vitamin A, RE 2334; Vitamin E, 1.8 mg (ATE). Lipids: Fatty acids, total saturated 0.05g; Total monounsaturated 0.02g; Total polyunsaturated 0.17g. Amino acids: Tryptophan 0.5g; Lysine 3.1g; Methionine 0.2g; Cystine 0.02g; Phenylalanine 0.08g; Tyrosine 0.06g; Valine 0.13g; Arginine 0.14g; Histidine 0.05g; Alanine 0.12g; Aspartic acid 0.2g; Glutamic acid 0.38g; Glycine 0.10g; Proline 0.11g; Serine 0.10g. [USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (July 2001)]

Suggested Amount:
The daily dose of parsley herb is 2-4g taken three times daily, or other preparations taken correspondingly. To prepare an infusion: Pour approximately 150ml of boiling water over parsley herb and after about 10 minutes pass through a tea strainer. Unless otherwise prescribed, a moderately warm cup of the freshly prepared infusion is drunk between meals three times a day. Parsley root is recommended with the dosage of 2-4 grams taken three times daily directly or as an infusion, or other preparations taken correspondingly.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
Parsley herb and root, taken medicinally in therapeutic dosages, are contraindicated during pregnancy and in people suffering from nephritis.

Side Effects:
In normal dosages, none known. Parsley herb and root can cause allergic reactions of the skin and mucosa in susceptible persons. Phototoxicity is also possible if excessive amounts are taken, due to the presence of furanocoumarins.

References:

Bradley PR (ed). 1992. Parsley herb. In British Herbal Compendium. Volume 1. A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth, Dorset, pp. 168-169.

Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 53; 56; 101; 115; 255; 352. Rodale Press.

De Smet, P., Keller, K., Hansel, R. and R. Chandler (eds.) 1993. Adverse Effects of Herbal Drugs. Springer-Verlag New York Berlin Heidelberg. Pp. 61.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, and Phillipson JD. 1996. Herbal Medicines. A Guide for Health Care Professionals. The Pharmaceutical Press, London, pp. 203-204.

Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Petroselini radix – Parsley Root (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 71-372.