Parsley – A Wonderful Culinary and Medicinal Herb
Parsley is an herb belonging to Apiaceae family, whose native origin are Eastern Mediterranean regions such as: Algeria, Lebanon, and De Candolle of Turkey; however it has spread to other parts including Germany, Hungary, California, France and Belgium. Parsley`s leaves, root and fruits have been used for several centuries in traditional medicines.
The leaves of parsley have been described as pinnate decompound by the Botanists, symbolizing that they are separated with their appearance slightly similar to feathers. The fruits of parsley, which are generally called seeds, are incredibly small, oval-shaped and grayish color. Other names of Parsley are: Flat-leaved Parsley, Curly Parsley, and Common Parsley.
Constituents: According to Parsley’s chemical analysis, it has been revealed that this an herb contains volatile oil, myristicin, apiole and other coumarines (counting bergapten), terpenes, flavonoids, vitamin A, vitamin E, phthalates, vitamin C and vitamin E in addition to high quantities of iron. The flavonoids contained in parsley possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties while myristicin and apiole possess diuretic attributes. The volatile oil is essential in facilitating relief from cramps and flatulence as well as being uterine potent stimulant.
Medicinally Attributes of Parsley and Their Uses
Parsley leaves have varied uses, including culinary, nutrient, as well as medicinal. For example, the fresh Parsley leaves are considered to be very nourishing and may be used to supplement natural vitamins and minerals. Alternatively, the fruits or seeds of the herb consists of a very powerful diuretic action and thus can be used instead of (Apium graveolens) celery seeds for treating gout, arthritis, and rheumatism by eliminating waste substances contained in gentle and swollen joints via the kidneys. ( Further reading on gout remedies here.) Additionally, the roots are used as treatment for varied diseases such as: cystitis, rheumatism, flatulence, as well as menstrual stimulant.
Several studies have indicated that volatile oil contained in Parsley is essential in slowing down of tumor growth especially those found in the lungs while on the other hand, stimulating glutathione-S-transferase enzyme, leading to facilitation of molecule called glutathione to attach to and combat oxidized molecules. While Myristicin is considered toxic in nature, it is also capable of combating carcinogens, including benzopyrene (carcinogen in cigarette smoke). This helps in fighting of prostate and colon cancer.
Anti-oxidants in parsley e.g. luteolin, helps in getting rid of free radicals responsible harming body cells through stimulating them to undertake oxidative stress. Luteolin stimulates carbohydrate metabolism while at the same time acting as an anti-inflammatory agent in the body.
Both vitamin C and luteolin, in parsley works as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent inside the body, thereby enabling the body to fight against any inflammatory problems such as: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Vitamin A and C helps in fortifying the body`s immune system, while vitamin C alone is vital for Collagen, the major structural protein found in connective tissues. This helps in speeding up the healing of wounds as well as maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
Lastly, parsley is essential for culinary uses such as garnishing of flavorful dishes as well as preparation of salads.
Parsley home remedies are prepared in different ways, for instance, preparation of parsley tea for treating water retention it involves: mixing of fresh parsley leaves measuring 2 teaspoons with a cupful of hot water, allowing them to steep for about 5-10 minutes, followed by straining the residual. The recommended dosage in this case is three times daily.
Parsley is ingested in two forms i.e. Tincture whose recommended dosage is 2 ml- 4ml, three times daily, or inform of an infusion, whose recommended dosage is a cup equivalent to 250 ml, three times in a day.
Side Effects Associated With Parsley
Side effects associated with Parsley are broadly classified into two major groups including:
- Side effects on pregnant woman: pregnant women are exempted from consuming parsley as this could lead to uterine bleeding, thereby increasing miscarriage risks. Studied indicates that parsley tea stimulates the flow of blood towards uterus and cervix, vital parts of reproductive systems of a pregnant women. Additionally, parsley causes uterus muscle and several allergic reactions towards the mucous membrane.
- Tea Overdose: Overdose of tea prepared using parsley is associated with side effects such as: headaches, bloody stools, excessive weight loss, nausea, confusion, renal damage, convulsions of muscles, loss of balance etc. psoralen contained in parsley tea causes photodermatitis responses on the body