Parsley is probably one of the most under-appreciated vegetables we know. But let us tell you, if you know the benefits, you will start appreciating it like no other.
Which is why we have this post – here, we discuss the benefits of parsley and how it can make your life better. Keep reading!
Table Of Contents
- What Is Parsley
- Is Parsley Good For You
- What Are The Different Types Of Parsley
- What Is The History Of Parsley
- What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Parsley
- What Are The Health Benefits Of Parsley
- What Are The Benefits For Skin
- What Are The Benefits For Hair
- How To Select And Store Parsley
- How To Use Parsley For Cooking
- Any Parsley Recipes
- Any Fun Facts About Parsley
- Where To Buy Parsley
- What Are The Side Effects Of Parsley
What Is Parsley?
Also called ‘Ajmood’ in Hindi, ‘Achu Mooda’ in Kannada, and ‘Kothambeluri’ in Malayalam, and scientifically known as Petroselinum crispum, parsley is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region and widely cultivated as a spice, herb, and vegetable.
The plant is widely used in Middle Eastern, European, and American cuisines. It is usually bright green and is a biennial plant in temperate climates and an annual herb in tropical and subtropical areas.
That’s a little about the plant. But really, who cares? What’s the big deal?
Is Parsley Good For You?
That’s the entire deal. Its vitamin K content is what will really impress you. It contains 574% of the daily recommended value of the nutrient. And the vitamin C it contains is more than thrice the amount found in oranges. It is also rich in other essential nutrients like vitamin A, iron, copper, and folate. And by the way, parsley contains twice the amount of iron in spinach.
These comparisons will tell you how incredible a food parsley is.
Ah yes, it also contains a unique combination of volatile oils and other compounds that make your life easier. Like, say, eugenol – it works as a local anesthetic and an antiseptic to prevent gum diseases. And there are many others – we will cover them as you read on.
The bottom line – parsley is damn good for you. You bet. And here’s a little something for you – parsley comes in different types.
What Are The Different Types Of Parsley?
Three types, broadly speaking.
Curled leaf – Also called common parsley, this type of parsley is the most common. It is often used as a garnish in soups, stews, and other dishes.
Flat leaf – Also called Italian parsley, it has more flavor than curled leaf parsley. It is also used in stews and soups and even in salads and sauces.
Hamburg – Also called turnip-rooted or German parsley, is a lesser-known variety. It is used not for its leaves but its turnip-like root, which is roasted or fried or chopped up to be added to soups or stews.
Hold on. Parsley has a history of its own. And you got to know it.
What Is The History Of Parsley?
Parsley has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years now. And before being used in cooking, the plant was utilized for medicinal purposes. The ancient Greeks considered parsley to be sacred – they used it to adorn the victors of athletic contests and to decorate the tombs of the deceased.
Using parsley as a garnish in food items can be traced back to the Roman civilization.
The history of the plant is not as important as its future – which lies in its constituents. Now, we look at the composition of parsley – the nutrients that make parsley, parsley.
What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Parsley?
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.8 g||3%|
|Dietary Fiber||3.3 g||8.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.400 mg||8%|
|Vitamin A||8424 IU||281%|
|Vitamin C||133 mg||220%|
|Vitamin E||0.75 mg||5%|
|Vitamin K||1640 µg||574%|
Let’s head to what parsley is known for – its benefits.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Parsley?
1. Fights Cancer
A team of research scientists from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology had stated that the compounds in parsley could help fight cancer (1). Parsley contains a compound called carnosol that has been found to prevent cancer. The compound has also been linked to the treatment of cancers of the breast, skin, colon, and prostate (2).
Parsley is also a significant contributor of flavonoids, compounds that can inhibit cancer cell proliferation. Another compound parsley is rich in is luteolin, a cancer-preventive agent. It interferes with most of the characteristics of cancer cells, aiding in their destruction. It also inhibits the metabolism of those carcinogens that generate active mutagens in liver chromosomes (3).
Yet another compound in parsley, called apigenin, has been found to kill over 86% of lung cancer cells in laboratory studies. It is important to note that cooking can destroy most of parsley’s beneficial nutrients. Hence, take a teaspoon of raw parsley every day (4).
2. Fights Inflammation
The apigenin in parsley also has anti-inflammatory properties. And the flavonoids in the vegetable, as per research, are some of the best natural substances to fight inflammation.
Parsley is also used to treat inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, which might also lead to stones and gravel. And the high levels of vitamin C contribute to fighting inflammation.
Parsley contains quercetin as well, another superb antioxidant that fights inflammation. More importantly, it stabilizes the cells that release histamine (a compound that is released in the body in response to injury) in the body – thereby stopping inflammation right in its tracks. Quercetin can also treat a condition called prostatitis, which is the inflammation of the prostate (5).
3. Boosts Immunity
The abundance of vitamin C in parsley makes it the absolute go-to food for boosting the immune system. The essential oils it contains can also suppress an over-stimulated immune response.
These immune-boosting properties of parsley also help heal wounds rapidly.
4. Protects The Heart
Parsley can be a good low-salt addition to your seasoning mixtures, especially if you are using them for seafood. Low salt, as we know, means heart-healthy. You can combine parsley flakes with thyme and garlic powder for a delicious yet healthy seasoning (6). Studies suggest that parsley can be used to treat arterial hypertension, and the resultant cardiac diseases (7).
5. Promotes Bone Health
Parsley contains extremely high levels of vitamin K (we already saw this) that is essential for maintaining bone density and fighting fractures. This mineral works along with calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, and phosphorus – other nutrients important for bone health.
Parsley also inhibits bone resorption (the process where bone cells break down the tissue in bones and release minerals, leading to the transfer of calcium from bone tissue to the blood), which has beneficial effects on the skeletal structure of an individual (8). Though bone resorption is vital, excess of it can lead to complications.
The formation and maintenance of bones are carried out by two types of cells – osteoblasts (that form the bones) and osteoclasts (that resorb bones). An imbalance between these two cell types leads to bone metabolic disorders like osteoporosis and osteopetrosis. Apigenin in parsley can prevent these disorders (9).
6. Aids In Anemia Treatment
Parsley is rich in iron, which explains its role in anemia treatment. Garnishing your dishes with parsley is a simple way to increase your iron intake. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is to begin your day with a parsley smoothie.
Studies show that parsley leaves have potent antianemia properties (10).
Adequate vitamin C levels also support iron absorption. Parsley is rich in vitamin C, promoting better iron absorption – which, in turn, helps treat anemia (11).
7. Exhibits Antibacterial Properties
According to an Egyptian study, parsley exhibits antibacterial properties, especially against the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (12). Even the essential oils from organic parsley can offer antibacterial (and antioxidant) properties (13).
Parsley was also found to be effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria (14). The plant can be considered a potent antibacterial agent, and, as per research, can be used for medicinal purposes.
8. Supports Gland Health
Parsley plays a role in gland health too. Studies show that it has a remarkable ability to reduce swollen and enlarged glands. It can also expel watery poisons and excess mucoid matter.
The herb can also calm adrenal glands. And according to another Egyptian study, the root of parsley contains calcium, iron, and B-complex vitamins – all of which nourish the parathyroid glands (15).
9. Rejuvenates Blood Vessels
Studies show that parsley juice can soothe the blood vessels, particularly the arterioles and capillaries. However, there is little research on this. Do consult your doctor for more information.
10. Treats Diarrhea
The leaves, seeds, and even the roots of the parsley plant are known for being powerful relievers of diarrhea. Certain studies say that drinking parsley as tea can work better for treating diarrhea. The tea enhances the digestion of fats and proteins and even improves intestinal absorption.
11. Aids Digestion
Parsley is used to treat indigestion and other related conditions like flatulence and colic (16). The pro-digestive abilities of parsley can also be attributed to its fiber content. The fiber helps the food move smoothly through the digestive tract (17).
Parsley is also known to support circulation. And the herb’s laxative and diuretic properties aid digestion (18). Apiol, the oil extracted from parsley seeds was also found to aid digestion.
12. Regulates Cholesterol Levels
One reason parsley works great in regulating cholesterol levels is its fiber content. Studies show that aqueous extracts of parsley possess hypocholesterolemic properties, which can be attributed to the flavonoids the herb contains. Flavonoids decrease the biosynthesis of cholesterol and help lower blood cholesterol levels as a consequence (19).
13. Improves Ear Health
Parsley is one of the herbs that can help clear inner ear fluid. As parsley naturally moves mucous throughout the body, it can help the fluid flow out of the ear more effectively. Drinking raw parsley juice can offer the beneficial effects. But consult your doctor first as the juice was found to cause an upset stomach in some people.
14. Treats Edema
Being a natural diuretic, parsley flushes out excess water from the body. It also flushes out excess salt from the body, which otherwise leads to edema.
One Iranian study suggests that parsley can even help treat renal disorders caused by an extreme case of edema (20).
It is also important to talk to your doctor about fluid retention as it can be caused by different conditions. Parsley sure can help with sodium and water retention, but exercise caution before taking any kind of supplements (21).
15. Improves Kidney Health
Since parsley is a diuretic and helps flush fluids out of the body, it sure can have a beneficial effect on the kidneys – as it can also flush out germs in the process. Two ingredients in parsley oil can be credited for the herb’s diuretic properties – apiol and myristicin.
The herb can also help rid the body of kidney stones and gallstones.
But keep in mind that excessive use of parsley oil can put your kidneys at risk.
16. Improves Liver Health
Parsley can exhibit excellent hepatoprotective effects, especially in the case of diabetic individuals. In one Turkish study, diabetic rats treated with parsley showed significantly lower levels of blood glucose and enhanced liver health (22).
According to another nutritional report, parsley helps open the obstructions in the liver and spleen (23).
17. Treats Menstrual Problems
The two volatile oils in parsley, apiol and myristicin, are responsible for its emmenagogue effects. Though there is no strong evidence that says if parsley can stimulate menstrual flow, one study of a Russian drug containing 85% parsley juice states that it could be used for inducing labor. However, numerous herbalists and practitioners of alternative medicine use parsley for treating menstrual issues.
18. Treats Night Blindness
Night blindness is caused by a deficiency in vitamin A, and parsley, being rich in this vitamin, can aid in the treatment of the condition. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, retinol, which is a metabolite of vitamin A, combines with opsin to form rhodopsin. Opsin is a pigment in the eye retina and rhodopsin is a chemical involved in night vision (24).
19. Improves Oral Health
Though more research is required, certain studies have shown that parsley can help reduce bad breath through a process called enzymatic deodorization. Another set of studies says that parsley might be a temporary cure for bad breath, but it may not offer a permanent solution.
More interestingly, bad breath is also caused by a number of intestinal disorders. Some of these include systemic diseases like gastrointestinal or upper respiratory tract disorders and microbial metabolism from your tongue – and parsley might help treat a number of these conditions, indirectly improving bad breath too (25).
20. Good During Pregnancy
Parsley is a good source of iron, a mineral important during pregnancy (26). The herb also can ease pregnancy.
What Are The Benefits For Skin?
The skin care properties of parsley are not much recognized and are highly underrated. The skin benefits of this herb can be attributed to its antioxidant properties and high amounts of vitamin C it contains. The herb helps heal wounds, has anti-aging benefits, and even helps prevent acne and zits.
21. Reduces Wrinkles, Fine Lines, And Scars
Since vitamin C is not naturally present in the body, we need to consume it in sufficient amounts through food. The high amount of vitamin C in parsley nourishes the skin from within to reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
Consuming parsley stimulates the production of collagen in the skin and promotes cell reproduction and repair. This leads to faster growth of new skin, which results in blemish-free, even, and smooth skin – and more importantly, elimination of wrinkles and fine lines.
Parsley also contains a high amount of antioxidants, which protect our skin from free radical damage and delay the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles.
22. Improves Wound Healing
Parsley contains beta-carotene, which is converted to vitamin A for proper maintenance and skin repair. Thus, eating parsley improves the skin’s elasticity, which delays wrinkles and speeds up the wound healing process.
23. Erases Under-Eye Dark Circles
Parsley works wonders to erase under-eye dark circles. It contains a high amount of vitamin C, chlorophyll, and vitamin K, which help to lighten the skin under the eyes and even reduce puffiness. Using parsley for this remedy is quite simple.
Just squish a handful of parsley to release its juice. Mix with a teaspoon of yogurt and apply the mixture to the regions under your eyes. You can even soak cotton balls in parsley juice and keep them under the eyes for 10 minutes.
Do this twice a week to reduce dark circles.
24. Provides Antibacterial And Antifungal Protection To Skin
The volatile oils in parsley, eugenol particularly, provide antibacterial and antifungal effects that are useful for treating acne, pimples, and skin infection and disinfecting pores. Parsley oil is easily available in the market. Never apply parsley oil directly to the face as it can burn the skin.
Dilute it with a carrier oil like olive or almond oil and then apply it to the face. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then rinse off.
25. Offers Clear And Glowing Skin
Consuming parsley abundantly helps to balance excess sebum secretion in oily skin. It further helps to clear the pores, which might otherwise lead to acne outbreaks. The zinc in parsley controls skin inflammation and promotes skin regeneration. It also reduces redness and diminishes acne blemishes.
You can also prepare a parsley toner to get glowing skin.
Take a bundle of parsley leaves and mash them using a fork to extract the juice. Add distilled boiling water to it and leave it aside to let it cool. Now, add one tablespoon of lemon juice, three drops of tea tree oil, and three drops of rosemary essential oil to it. You can even store it in the refrigerator. When required, dip a cotton ball in the toner and apply it to the face in circular motion.
This toner is highly clarifying. It helps to balance the pH levels of the skin and kill acne-causing bacteria. It will also treat oily skin and skin inflammation.
26. Improves Overall Skin Health
Parsley contains minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, and zinc – which are essential for maintaining healthy skin. Extract the juice from the leaves and mix it with 200 ml of water. Drink this concoction daily to get healthy skin.
27. Prevents Acne And Zits
Individuals with combination and oily skin types can prepare this homemade toner to prevent acne and zits.
Take some parsley in a bowl and mash it using a spoon or fork. Add two teaspoons of honey to it and mix it thoroughly till the honey turns green. Apply it to the face and wash it off after 10 minutes. Follow it up with a moisturizer of your choice.
Both honey and parsley contain antibacterial properties that treat pimples and keep the skin smooth and nourished. Use fresh parsley leaves instead of dried parsley for preparing this pack.
28. Can Be Used As A Homemade Facial Treatment
You can also use dried parsley as a facial treatment.
Take a spoonful of dried parsley leaves and add them to 200 ml of water. Boil for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the stove and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
You can use this water to rinse your face once or twice a day. Prepare a fresh rinse daily to obtain maximum benefits.
29. Prevents Dark Spots And Skin Discoloration
Parsley is beneficial in reducing the appearance of dark spots and skin discoloration. A face pack containing parsley, honey, and lemon juice can effectively erase dark spots and treat skin discoloration.
Take one medium-sized bundle of parsley leaves and soak it in warm water. Chop finely and then crush in a mortar. Add one teaspoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of raw honey and mash well. Cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser and then apply this pack to the face, focusing on the blackheads. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse. This face pack will refresh and revitalize the skin.
30. Acts As An Effective Cleanser
Blend a handful of parsley leaves with yogurt. Grind thoroughly to form a smooth paste. Add one teaspoon of oatmeal and a few drops of tea tree oil. Apply the mask on a clean face and neck and leave it on for 15 minutes. Wash it off and pat dry.
Apply this face pack thrice a week to remove dead skin cells and accumulated dirt from the face.
31. Soothes Irritated Skin
Rub dried or fresh parsley leaves on irritated skin or insect bites to soothe skin irritation. When dealing with boils, boil parsley leaf in water and apply it on the affected areas for a few hours. It also helps to fade freckles and spots. Application of parsley seed oil can help to heal bruises.
What Are The Benefits For Hair?
32. Controls Hair Loss
Parsley is rich in other important nutrients that address a number of nutritional deficiencies that lead to hair loss or weak hair. Parsley has been traditionally used as a hair tonic to disinfect the scalp and control hair loss. It contains apigenin, an antioxidant flavonoid that controls hair fall through the regulation of TGF-beta1 gene.
Puree a handful of parsley sprigs and add 100 ml of water to it. Apply this tonic to wet scalp, wrap your hair in a towel and allow it to sit for an hour. Wash it off with shampoo.
33. Helps Maintain Natural Hair Color
Parsley contains a high amount of copper, which helps to retain the hair’s natural color. It can be applied topically or can be added in large amounts to your diet.
34. Promotes Hair Growth
Parsley is highly beneficial in promoting hair growth.
Rub powdered parsley seeds on the scalp and massage your scalp gently with it. This will stimulate scalp circulation and promote hair growth. Repeat this method twice a week for two months to get long and straight hair.
35. Helps Treat Dandruff
Wash your hair with an infusion of parsley leaves to get rid of dandruff.
You saw the ways parsley can make your life better. But what about selecting the right kind of parsley? How about storing it?
How To Select And Store Parsley
Both fresh and dried parsleys are available throughout the year in all supermarkets. Choose fresh parsley over the dried one as fresh parsley is superior in flavor and aroma. Choose parsley that is dark green, has firm stems, and looks fresh and crisp. Organically grown parsleys are the best as they are not irradiated and are free from harmful pesticides and insecticides residue. Avoid buying parsley with wilted or yellow leaves, mold, and dark spots.
It is very important to store parsley properly. Otherwise, the herb can become slippery and wilted. Do not store parsley under direct sunlight as it can dry its leaves. Wash the leaves under running water thoroughly to remove pesticide residue, dirt, and yellow leaves. Repeat the washing process again and then shake excess water off the leaves. Lay them on a kitchen towel and gently dab them to remove the remaining water. Place the leaves in a ziplock or plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. This will keep the leaves crisp, and they will easily last for 10 days. Whenever you require it, just open the bundle, take out the parsley you need and then rewrap it and keep it in the refrigerator.
You can also keep it immersed in water in the refrigerator to keep it fresh for a longer period. All you need to do is cut off the small section of the parsley stem. Take a glass of water and place the leaves in the water with the leaves standing upwards. Do not wash the parsley leaves before immersing them in the water. Replace the water every 2 to 3 days to prevent bacterial growth.
Wash the parsley thoroughly before using it every time. Place it in water for a while to allow the sand and dirt to dislodge. Remove the leaves from the bowl and then wash them with clean water. Parsley can be stored for around two weeks in the refrigerator.
Selection and storage are one part. Using parsley in cooking is another.
How To Use Parsley For Cooking
Parsley is commonly used in soups, salads, savory and baked dishes to add flavor and aroma. It can add color and flavor even to the most ordinary and basic dishes. Parsley is an essential component in French cuisine as it is extensively used to prepare soup, stew, and stock. It is also used as a garnish in Middle Eastern cuisine like hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabbouleh. It is a staple in Italian cuisine and is used in the preparation of pizzas, pasta, and lasagna. Parsley leaves are also added to homemade spaghetti and salsa sauce. It makes the food look more appealing and appetizing and brings out the flavor of fresh vegetables.
Flat leaf parsley is mainly used for garnishing purpose as they have a stronger aroma, while curled parsley is used for adding flavor to soups and stews as they blend easily with any type of soup. Curly parsleys are also added to salads and sandwiches because of their crunchy texture. Discard the stems and finely chop the leaves before adding it to your dish. Parsley should be added towards the end of cooking process to retain its taste, color, and nutritional value. It is one of the only herbs that taste worse when cooked.
Now that you know how to use the herb for cooking, how about checking out a couple of popular recipes?
Any Parsley Recipes?
1. Parsley Tea
What You Need
- 250 ml of purified water
- ¼ cup of fresh parsley leaves
- Bring the purified water to a boil using a tea kettle.
- Rinse the fresh parsley leaves under cool, running water.
- Steep the leaves in the boiling water for about 10 minutes.
- Strain the leaves and enjoy.
2. Almond-Crusted Salmon
What You Need
- ½ cup of almonds
- 2 tablespoons of parsley
- 1 teaspoon each of sea salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of grated organic lemon zest
- 4 salmon fillets
- 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
- 4 cups of spinach
- Grind the almonds in a food processor.
- On a plate, mix the almond powder with parsley, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
- Dredge the salmon in the almond mixture on both the sides.
- Over medium heat, heat the oil on a large skillet. Add the salmon and cook for about 5 minutes on each side.
- Serve topped with lemon juice.
All of that is the serious side of parsley. But how about checking out the fun side of the herb?
Any Fun Facts About Parsley?
- The ancient Romans loved parsley so much that no salad was ever served without it.
- The ancient Greeks believed parsley sprung from the blood of Archemorus, a hero who, according to legend, was killed by a dragon.
- In the ancient times, corpses were sprinkled with parsley to eliminate the stench.
- Parsley arrived on the British shores in the 16th
- Since parsley is difficult to grow, it was believed that the herb could be grown only by witches or the evil.
The facts are fine. But where can you get parsley from?
Where To Buy Parsley?
You can find parsley in your nearest supermarket. Look for the crisp and dark green variety.
We saw all that is good and glorious about parsley. But this super-herb does have its share of side effects.
What Are The Side Effects Of Parsley?
Parsley can have side effects if consumed in excess. Following are the side effects.
- Skin Sensitivity
Applying parsley seed oil to the skin can make it sensitive to the sun and cause rashes – in certain individuals. Hence, check with your doctor before use.
- Issues Regarding Pregnancy And Breastfeeding
Though safe in normal amounts, excess intake of parsley during pregnancy or breastfeeding can cause complications.
- High Blood Pressure
In certain cases, parsley might hold on to excess sodium in the body and elevate blood pressure levels. Hence, practice caution and consult your doctor if you have problems with blood pressure.
- Kidney Disease
Though parsley does improve kidney health, certain studies show it can worsen the condition. Talk to your doctor.
- Interactions During Surgery
Parsley might lower blood glucose levels and interfere with blood sugar control during surgery. Stop use at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Let’s not keep parsley under-appreciated any longer! Include the herb in your diet – it would be one of the wisest decisions in your life.
Also, tell us how this post has helped you. Do comment in the box below.
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
How much parsley is safe to drink daily?
There is no specific amount as such. But you can consume up to 2 to 3 cups a day. Consult your doctor for further details.
Is parsley good for cleaning your kidneys?
It sure is. But in certain individuals, the herb can aggravate kidney disease. Take precautions.
Can parsley be eaten raw?
How to use parsley as a diuretic?
You can simply take parsley tea.
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- “The behavior of dietary fiber in the gastrointestinal tract…” Wageningen University, The Netherlands. 2017 November.
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