Parsley is the world’s most popular herb and is native to the Mediterranean. It has been around for thousands of years and was used medicinally before being used for consumption. Today it is grown world-wide for its aromatic edible leaves which may be used fresh or dried in soups, salads and a wide variety of other food dishes such as potatoes, fish, stews, and vegetables. It’s popularly used as a garnish for many dishes.
Parsley belongs to the family of Apiaceae. Its botanical name is Petroselinum crispum.
Parsley is a great source of vitamins A and C, some complex B vitamins, vitamin K, minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, anti-oxidants and fiber. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties as well and it’s an antioxidant. And parsley leaves contain a significant amount of protein!
Here are just some of parsley’s health benefits:
Parsley is rich in a flavonoid known as apigenin which has been shown to reduce certain cancers, such as skin, breast and prostate cancer. (A flavonoid is a water-soluble plant pigment beneficial to health.)
Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. Folic acid helps regulate Homocysteine, an amino acid in the blood. Too much Homocysteine is related to a higher risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease (fatty deposits in peripheral arteries).
Parsley might help boost the immune system. Parsley essential oil has been proven to suppress an overstimulated immune response, which makes it a crucial player in the fight against allergies, auto-immune and persistent inflammatory disorders.
Parsley contains an oil called eugenol that’s been proven in studies to help lessen the swelling and pain related to arthritis.
Parsley is rich in the antioxidant lutein, which protects against macular degeneration.
A diet high in vitamin K may help reduce the risk of bone fractures for older adults and the two main components of bone tissue are calcium and magnesium, which are also found in parsley.
Urinary Tract Infection
Besides drinking cranberry juice, some say eating parsley at the first signs of urinary tract infection will help alleviate symptoms.
Parsley is full of chlorophyll, helping to fight the bacteria in your mouth.
Parsley is high in iron and vitamin C. Iron builds blood while vitamin C helps the body to absorb iron.
The easiest way to receive parsley health benefits is by simply eating it. Just nosh on sprigs throughout the day! The best way is to juice it. One or two ounces a day to drink would do you wonders.
Alternately, you can make a tea using 2 tablespoons of fresh parsley per 2 cups of water. Steep for several minutes before straining.
You can also just add parsley to your foods.
Parsley can be easily grown at home on a sunny windowsill or in your yard during the summer. Some outdoor plants can stay green throughout the winter if adequately mulched. If not, it is a biennial and should come back the following spring.