Parsely, More Than An Herb!
Do you even think about this herb (aside from when you see it used as a garnish when you dine out)? Exactly!
Heck, up to five years ago I didn’t even think it was edible.
And yet it’s one of the most popular herbs in the world and used throughout the Mediterranean, Levant and Middle East. In the Greek language parsley means “rock celery” and it just happens that they are, in fact, relatives.
Let’s start with this: parsley energizes, cleanses and refreshes the body.
It’s an excellent source of vitamins K, C, and A and folate; it’s filled with volatile oils like myristicin (see below) which is also high in anise, nutmeg and dill. So, parsley makes a very powerful essential oil, and, in fact, has been reported to have hallucinogenic properties if used in high amounts (no. don’t. Hallucinating is a symptom of poisoning.).
In culinary and juicing amounts parsley has tonic (‘enlivening and strengthening’) effects. Parsley has a wide range of pharmacological activity — verified to modern medicine’s satisfaction — including antioxidant and hepatoprotective properties, as well as an ability to protect the brain.
But wait, there’s more!
It also has antidiabetic, spasmolytic, immunosuppressant (great for allergies!), anti-platelet, gastroprotective, cytoprotective, laxative, estrogenic, diuretic, hypotensive, antibacterial and antifungal activities. Whew! Pretty cool, huh?
That’s a lot, so let’s break it down into basics.
3 WAYS YOU CAN BENEFIT FROM PARSLEY
- It Strengthens Your Lungs and Removes Free Radicals
You might be remembering myristicin and wondering “What’s that?!” Here’s the deal: myristicin has been shown to inhibit tumor formation in the lungs.
Amazingly, ancient medieval physicians would choose it because it’s shaped like bronchial fingers in the sponge-like tissues of our lungs, modern studies know it as an anti-parasitic agent, and it’s used to treat chronic bronchitis, bronchial asthma, and dyspepsia.
Medical researchers qualify foods that contain myristicin as “chemoprotective” for their ability to neutralize particular types of carcinogens such as those in cigarette and charcoal grill smoke.
Plus … get this: a 2013 study indicates that parsley (in particular) carries a compound called apigenin — it is proven to both kill lung cancer cells (up to 86% in lab test) and act as a cancer preventive. That makes apigenin a naturally occurring, plant-derived cancer cell-killing flavonoid.
If you have a history of inhaling carcinogens, consider adding parsley to your juicing ritual. It could be beneficial.
And parsley, when used alone or ingested along with the active enzymes of glutathione-S-transferase, attaches to oxidized molecules (a/k/a free-radicals, which speed up the cellular aging process) and removes them.
- The Urinary System, Bladder and Kidney Cleansing
Parsley provides a healing compound called apiole, which helps to increase urine flow and remove infection-causing bacteria from the urinary tract. This unique diuretic effect is cleansing and also helps prevent kidney stones and other urinary tract issues.
According to Ayurveda medicine, if you are in search of a diuretic – then parsley is an exceptional choice because unlike other diuretics that waste your minerals through urine production, parsley juices promote water excretion without a loss of electrolytes! This process is called aquaresis.
This means that parsley is ideal for your spring cleansing ritual.
Alternatively, want to fit into that suit or dress for a special occasion? A little parsley juice each day for a week before the event drains excess weight and will help your clothes fit just-right!
- Blood Purification
Chlorophyll in parsley helps to alkalize the body, form new red blood cells and purify the blood by removing heavy metals and neutralizing free radicals to strengthen the heart.
Polyacetylene found in parsley contains anti-platelet aggregation properties, which help prevent symptoms of cardiovascular disease and stroke (but can also be dangerous to hemophiliacs). Parsley also contains a host of beneficial flavonoids, and, interestingly, is used by diabetics in Turkey to reduce blood glucose, too.
When you eat or juice parsley, you’re also getting eugenol, which is yet another potent volatile oil (eugenol is also in cloves and tulsi aka ‘holy basil’). So, when you juice or blend it, you’re giving your body the tools it needs to fend off undesirable foreign bacteria in the gut such as candida. Personally, I’ve noticed that it helps calm my Crohn’s disease flareups but have been unable to identify the pathway or a supporting source for my anecdotal experience.
In researching information for this article, I discovered other volatile oils in parsley that may help to balance blood sugar, boost immunity, improve mental function, and protect against chemical damage in the liver, cells, gut and much more. Better yet, they seem far more credible and researched than many other juices and herbs I’ve researched, so allow me to encourage you to search for more! And, on that note . . .
HERE’S WHERE YOU CAN HELP…
For two years, I’ve scoured the internet seeking sources that can back up the health and benefit claims of fruits, vegetables, and supplements (sometimes called “boost”).
In the chart below are the health claims I and others have discovered about parsley. Where you see a footnote, you’ll find a link to the source. If there is not a footnote, then that means that the specific health claim is made, but neither I nor anyone I know has been able to locate sources of research or credible anecdotes to back up the claim.
If you are aware of a direct source of research or anecdotes to back up the claims, please post them in the comments. I’ll check them out and if they meet our standards, I’ll make sure that they’re included in the next edition of the blog and give you a shout-out!
Reported Health Benefit Claims of Parsley:
That’s quite a powerful health package for something that you — and almost everyone you know — is removing from your entrée and setting to the side of your plate as just another pretty green ornamentation. I suggest you start adding that parsley, regularly, to your diet!