Family Umbelliferae
Parsley
Petroselinum sativum


Other scientific names  Common names  
Petroselinum crispum   Common parsley
Petroselinum hortense   Garden parsley
Carum petroselinum Rock parsley
Apium petroselinum Persely
Petroselinum sativum Petersylinge
  Petroselini herba

Botany
Biennial herb with thin, erect, grooved and angular stems. Leaves are bi- or tri-laterally divided, dark green. Flowers are greenish yellow compound umbels.

Distribution
Cultivated.

Part utilized
Leaves, seeds and roots.

Constituents and properties
• Considered diuretic, emmenagogue, laxativer, hypotensive and tonic; seeds, carminative.
• Considered antibacterial, antiinflammatory, antioxidant.
• Contains apiol and myristicin which stimulates uterine contraction. Extracts of apiol have been tried as abortifacient.

Uses
Folkloric
Tea and juice of the plant used for dropsy, gonorrhea, asthma, coughs and painful menstruations.
Also used for gallstones.
Decoction of seeds used for killing scalp vermin; dried powdered leaves sprinkled on hair or used as ointment for lice.
Bruised leaves applied to contusions.
Juice of leaves used for blepharitis and conjunctivitis.
Poultice of leaves for stings and bites.
Elsewhere, used for dysuria.
Used to induce menstruation.
Decoction of fruits and seeds used for colic, indigestion and intestinal gas.
In Israeli traditional medicine, seeds used for kidney stones and impotence.
In the French pharmacopeia, root and leaves are used for dysmenorrhea and menstrual cramps.
In Turkey, used to reduce blood glucose.
In Brazil, used as a diuretic.
Culinary
A popular decorative green sprig on restaurant entrees.

Studies
Antioxidant: Study showed that parsley oil possessed a certain degree of antioxidant activities in terms of ß-carotene bleaching and free radical scavenging, with negligible metal chelating capacity. Myristicin was found to be the dominant compound that exhibited a moderate antioxidant activity. Results showed PO can be a potential alternative source of natural antioxidants.
Hepatoprotective: Study showed that parsley has a significant hepatoprotective effect in diabetic rats.
Antibacterial: Study of P crispum extract showed inhibitory effect at various concentrations against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It showed inhibitory effect against Br melitensis, E coli and B lichiniformis. Results confirm its use in folk medicine.
Diuretic / Hypotensive: Study of the aqueous extracts of parsley seeds showed diuretic and hypotensive effects in anesthetized Wistar rats, confirming its traditional use in Brazil as a herbal diuretic.

Safety
Likely safe when used in foods.
Classified GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) in the US.
Pregnancy: Likely unsafe. High concentrations are contraindicated during pregnancy because it can be a potential abortifacient and a uterine and menstrual flow stimulant.
Parsley oil, ingested orally can cause severe side effects because of the apiole and myisticin constituents.
Contraindicated in patients with kidney inflammation or disease.
Toxicity includes hemolytic anemia, thrombocytopenic purpura, nephrosis, hepatic dysfunction and kidney irritation.
Source. Natural Medicines. Comprehensive Database

Availability
Cultivated.
Essential oil in the cybermarket.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Natural Medicines. Comprehensive Database
(2)
Evaluation of antioxidant activity of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) essential oil and identification of its antioxidant constituents / Hui Zhang et cal / Food Research International Vol 39, Issue 8, October 2006, Pages 833-839 / doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2006.03.007
(3)
Effects of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) on the liver of diabetic rats: a morphological and biochemical study / S Bolkent et al / Phytotherapy Research • Volume 18 Issue 12, Pages 996 - 999 / DOI 10.1002/ptr.1598
(4)
Antibacterial Activity of Prunus mahaleb and Parsley Against Some Pathogens / S M Seyyednejad et al / Asian Journ of Biological Sciences 1 (1): 52-55, 2008.
(5)
Diuretic and hipotensive activity of aqueous extract of parsley seeds (Petroselinum sativum Hoffm.) in rats / Kleber Eduardo de Campos et al / Rev. bras. farmacogn. vol.19 no.1a João Pessoa Jan./Mar. 2009 /
doi: 10.1590/S0102-695X2009000100010



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