Parsley is well-known as a food garnish, but it’s actually more than that. Unfortunately, though, it is often overlooked and seen only as a meal decoration.
This herb apparently not only enhances our meals’ flavor and appearance but also offers tons of nutritional benefits. Parsley contains essential nutrients that promote immune and bone health among others.
If you want to know more about parsley and how it’s good for you, read on. This article will dig deeper into parsley’s amazing health benefits, and how you can successfully incorporate it into your diet!
Parsley: Interesting Facts
Parsley served a different purpose during ancient times. It wasn’t used in cooking, instead, it was considered as a funeral herb. The Greeks made fashion wreaths made of parsley, which were offered for graves.
There are also many superstitious beliefs surrounding parsley. For one, it was believed that its seeds travel to hell and back seven times during its germination period before it sprouts. Some superstitious farmers avoid uprooting parsley because of this, while others refuse to cultivate the herb altogether.
- Parsley contains antibacterial and antifungal effects. Parsley tea boosts blood circulation. Parsley leaves can help treat superficial wounds, while its roots’ juice can minimize swelling.
- Pregnant women, however, are advised against taking parsley because it encourages contractions of the uterus, which may lead to miscarriage.
What is Parsley?
Parley is an herb that has either flat or curly leaves. It comes in three varieties: Crispum, Neapolitanum, and Tubersum.
Crispum is the most common parsley. Its leaves are bright green and curly, and it comes with a fresh, crispy taste.
Typically added to dishes to bring more texture and color, this type of parsley is a known kitchen staple. It is best added just before serving the food to brighten up sauces, salads, and other dishes.
Neapolitanum, on the other hand, has flat leaves and a stronger taste.
Otherwise known as the Italian parsley, Neapolitanum has a sawtoothed leaf pattern more delicate than the crispum variety. Because of this, they are not ideal for garnishing.
Tuberosum is relatively a new parsley species, cultivated for its roots’ nutty flavor. This variety includes the German and Hamburg parsley, which are slowly gaining popularity.
Since its leaves have a bit too strong flavor, its roots take the spotlight. Its delicious taste is perfect for purees, stews, salads, and soups.
These three varieties are very different from Aethusa cynapium, more commonly known as Fool’s Parsley. This plant can easily be mistaken for parsley, but it is not safe for human consumption.
Fool’s Parsley has poisonous alkaloids, which can cause severe poisoning when taken even at small amounts. Consuming high amounts of Fool’s parsley may even lead to death.
What are the Uses of Parsley?
Looking back at ancient history, you’ll get a grasp of the extensive use of parsley. Here’s a list of the many ways that parsley can be used until today.
Parsley for bad breath
Even during ancient times, parsley has been used to get rid of alcohol smell from the mouth. Today, it is still used as a household remedy for bad breath.
There are no studies conducted yet regarding parsley’s effectivity on eliminating bad breath. But other studies suggest that parsley can be an effective tool in removing foul sulfur compounds.
It is also believed that the chlorophyll levels in parsley may play a part in this regard due to its anti-bacterial properties.
Parsley as a diuretic herb
Parsley contains diuretic properties, which help treat high blood pressure. The herb was also used to accelerate the removal of toxic elements from the digestive system, and to cure fluid retention or edema.
It is essential to keep in mind, though, that high blood pressure may lead to other serious health conditions. It is best to consult with your physician first if you’re planning to use parsley for medicinal purposes.
Parsley as a medical treatment
Parsley leaves were also used in the treatment of insect bites, skin parasites, contusions, and even tumors.
It was also traditionally used to cure various diseases of the spleen, liver, and prostate. History also showed that the herb was likewise used in treating arthritis, anemia, and even certain cancers.
Parsley was also utilized as a scalp lotion to promote hair growth. But, while there is a generous range of parsley uses for medical treatment, no clinical trials have been made yet to confirm these.
Parsley in therapeutic applications
Parsley was also said to be beneficial in treating allergies.
A 1984 study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology revealed that the herb prevents the secretion of histamine, which triggers the symptoms of allergy.
Parsley is also considered a helpful herbal remedy for hay fever. Studies conducted on lab animals also revealed that parsley can reduce blood sugar, suggesting that the herb can be used as a natural remedy for diabetes.
Parsley as a food
Today, parsley is widely used to garnish and add texture and flavor to our meals. The herb also plays a major role in certain cuisines such as the Lebanese, particularly in its national dish, tabbouleh.
What are the Health Benefits of Parsley?
With the essential nutrients that it contains, parsley proves to be more than just a decorative herb. Below are some of the parsley health benefits:
Parsley improves your immunity
Parsley is beneficial in regulating your immune system. Its essential oil has been shown to curb an over-stimulation of the immune response, protecting your body against chronic inflammatory and autoimmune disorders, and allergies.
Parsley reduces swelling and pain
The herb is also able to reduce the swelling and pain commonly linked to arthritis. Parsley has eugenol, volatile oil that is considered anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Because of this, parsley can help suppress the swelling and pain in the joint.
Parsley gets rid of bad breath
Parsley apparently is good in ridding your mouth of bad breath as well. The herb acts as a natural toothbrush due to the chlorophyll it contains, which has anti-bacterial properties. Chowing down parsley helps remove germs in your mouth.
Parsley helps regulate menstruation
Parsley also has apiole oil, which helps control estrogen production in the body. Women whose estrogen levels are high may experience severe menstruation. Regulating estrogen can help make menstruation more tolerable.
Parsley combats diseases
Parsley also contains vitamin C, an essential vitamin that helps neutralize free radicals that cause various diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and atherosclerosis.
Parsley guards your blood vessels
The herb is also a rich source of folic acid, which helps decrease homocysteine, a common amino acid in the blood. Having high levels of homocysteine increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Parsley reduces your risk of cancer
Consuming parsley can also prevent your risk of cancers like prostate, digestive tract, breast, and skin cancers. Parsley is likewise a rich source of apigenin, a common dietary flavonoid that contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties.
Parsley promotes bone health
Vitamin K deficiency has been linked with a higher bone fracture risk. Consuming foods that are rich in vitamin K such as parsley can help enhance bone health by helping the body to absorb calcium better.
A meta-analysis concluded that consumption of dietary vitamin K can reduce your risk of fractures. Eating ten sprigs of parsley is sufficient to meet the recommended daily intake (RDI) of vitamin K.
How Can You Add Parsley to Your Diet?
Fortunately, we can enjoy these parsley benefits by adding this nutrient-dense herb to our diet! What’s more, it’s easy to include in our dishes! Wondering how to use parsley? Below are some simple ways how:
You can make a parsley condiment for your sandwich or any dish of your liking! To do this, simply chop into fine pieces of fresh parsley, spring onions, and then shred some organic cheese.
Toss in some vinegar and olive oil and mix them all together. This will definitely give any dish an extra delish factor.
You can also add some parsley to your burgers, sandwiches, and pita pockets.
Top your favorite homemade pizza with some fresh parsley.
Chop some fresh parsley and sprinkle it on top of your pasta dish or salads.
You can also add some parsley to your pesto sauce.
Parsley is not just a great food decoration but is also a natural breath freshener and remedy for a number of health conditions.
Adding parsley to your diet proves to be a wise choice especially if you’re looking for nutritious food staples.
But while it’s been said to help prevent and cure various ailments, it’s still best to ask your doctor if you have any plans of using this powerful herb for medicinal purposes.