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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11th WHMonth: KITCHEN HERBOLOGY: PARSLEY

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bagI hope you enjoyed the first week of Women's History Month "Healers Remedies" and have made some of  them a part of your home medicine bag. Starting this second  week we will be focusing on 'Kitchen Herbology' featuring healing foods and spices from the kitchen. 

Feel free to share the wealth of knowledge with your family and friends ~ and to post comments on your personal experiences with the herbs, foods and  remedies ~ so we all can expand the tools in our medicine bags!


Flat and curly leaf Parsley
PARSLEY (Petroselinum crispum) is a popular culinary as well as medicinal herb, which is recognized as one of the functional foods for its unique antioxidants and disease preventing properties. This wonderful, fragrant rich biennial herb is native to the Mediterranean region and belongs to the family of Apiaceae in the genus; Petroselinum. The herb is a small plant with dark-green leaves that resemble coriander leaves, especially in the flat-leaf variety. However, it is milder in flavor than coriander. The herb is widely used in Mediterranean, East European, and American cuisine.

Parsley is an herb whose leaf, seed, and root are used medicinally. (Be careful not to confuse parsley with fool's parsley and parsley piert.)

Parsley is used for urinary tract infections (UTIs), kidney stones (nephrolithiasis), gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, constipation, jaundice, intestinal gas (flatulence), indigestion, colic, diabetes, cough, asthma, fluid retention (edema), osteoarthritis, “tired blood” (anemia), high blood pressure, prostate conditions, and spleen conditions. It is also used to start menstrual flow, to cause an abortion, as an aphrodisiac, and as a breath freshener.

Some people apply parsley directly to the skin for cracked or chapped skin, bruises, tumors, insect bites, lice, parasites, and to stimulate hair growth.

My personal experience with Parsley is for nursing moms - to sweeten and increase the flow of milk when taken as a tea.  And that same tea used as a hot compress helps express milk from the breasts when there is a build up and the milk is not flowing easily.

Parsley's essential oils have been proven to suppress overstimulated immune responses, which makes it a crucial player in the fight against allergies and autoimmune and persistent inflammatory disorders. Eugenol, one of the oils found in parsley, has been shown to have anti-arthritic properties. This oil, combined with the anti-inflammatory benefits of parsley, can significantly reduce joint swelling. Parsley can help protect us from many disorders such as diabetes, colon cancer and asthma.

benefits of parsley
Parsley contains a significant amount of the B vitamin folic acid, also known as folate, which reduces homocysteine (an amino acid that can damage blood vessels) in our bodies, thus lowering the risk of stroke, heart attack and atherosclerosis (thickening of artery walls).

Along with drinking cranberry juice, homeopathic experts list parsley as an antibiotic alternative to be used at the first signs of urinary tract infection. Be sure to check with a doctor if symptoms persist for more than a few days.

Two compounds found in parsley, apigenin and myristicin, boost the production of a liver enzyme which can detox our bodies. Additionally, a report on apigenin found that the compound also improves the effects of some drugs used to treat colon cancer. This is in line with a study published in February 2011 in the journal Clinical and Experimental Metastasis.

Parsley is chock full of chlorophyll, which has antibacterial properties. That is why people eat the parsley sprig from their plates after a meal. It fights oral bacteria that causes bad breath.

Possible side effects

Parsley can cause some side effects. Headaches can occur when first using parsley but often pass as your body becomes accustomed to the compounds. Also, higher levels of parsley can cause loss of equilibrium, so show care when walking until this side effect passes, should you experience it.

Watch for signs of kidney damage when taking parsley supplements. These signs can include severe pain in the flanks, back pain, fever, abdominal swelling and blood in the urine.

In rare cases, seizures can occur when using high amounts of parsley supplements. Seizures can be either convulsions (writhing or jerking movements) or simply loss of awareness.


If any of these problems occur, visit a doctor or emergency room as soon as possible.

More on the health benefits of Parsley:
  • The herb contains no cholesterol; however, it is rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber, which help control blood-cholesterol, prevents constipation, protects the human body from free radicals mediated injury and from cancers.
  • Parsley contains health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
  • The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic use in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics; however, further detailed studies required to establish its role.
  • Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin; and has been rated as one of the plant sources with quality antioxidant activities. Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh, raw parsley, is 1301 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents).
  • The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium. Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme,superoxide dismutase.
  • Additionally, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene,vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina of the eye in the old age population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
  • Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the human body.
  • It is perhaps the richest of the entire herb source for vitamin K; provide 1640 µg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have the potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.