Synonyms, Apium petroselinum
Action: Diuretic, emmenagogue, stomachic, carminative, tonic.
Systems Affected: Stomach, liver, gall-bladder, kidneys, bladder,
Preparation and Dosage (thrice daily): Dried root, dose 2-5 grams by
decoction. Dried leaves, dose 2-5 grams of infusion.
Parsley is native to Europe but has been introduced to most parts of
the world and is now extensively grown in gardens and as a
commercial crop. It has been used as a food, as a garnish and as a
medicinal plant since the time of the Greeks and Romans. It is
probably the best known of all garnishing herbs and a number of
varieties exists. The curly form is most favoured in
English-speaking countries, but at least three other forms are
commonly cultivated: the Neapolitan or celery-leaved; the
fern-leaved; and the Hamburg or turnip-rooted.
Parsley seed is notoriously difficult and slow to germinate, taking
up to eight weeks. The plain-leaved varieties withstand extremes of
cold and dryness better than the curly-leaved varieties.
Parsley is rich in iron, calcium and other minerals, as well as
vitamins and various trace elements. The essential oil contains
apiol, which stimulates appetite and increases blood-flow to the
digestive tract, uterus and mucosae, and myristicin, also found in
The decoction of the root stimulates kidney and bladder function,
and is thus used to treat fluid retention, aching back in the lumbar
region, gravel and stone in the kidneys and retention of urine.
A strong decoction of the root is used to regulate the flow in
suppressed or irregular menstruation. Parsley also exerts an
influence on the liver and gall-bladder and is sometimes combined
with other herbs in treating jaundice and gall-stones.
The leaves are sometimes prepared as an infusion but are best taken
fresh, as a salad vegetable. Their mineral and vitamin content is a
useful adjunct in treating anaemia and general debility. For
medicinal purposes the root is normally gathered when two years old.
Cautionary Notes: Parsley should not generally be taken where kidney
inflammation exists, as it may over-stimulate and exhaust kidney
function. It is important to take the proper dosage of Parsley, as
very large doses taken frequently or for extended periods of time
may cause abortion and polyneuritis. Excessive quantities of apiol
and myristicin can induce fatty degeneration of the liver and
kidneys and gastrointestinal haemorrhage.