Parsley is a grassy species with rich aromatic and phytotherapeutic properties . These virtues have been recognized in this plant since the times of the ancient Romans. There are mainly two species of this Umbelliferae: the widespread Petroselinum Crispum , with curly leaves and the Petroselium Neapolitanum , variant with smooth foliage.
To obtain fragrant aromatic parsley seedlings you can proceed with sowing in the open field or with cultivation in pots, putting into practice simple precautions. However, it must be borne in mind that this herb does not tolerate low temperatures.
Among the curative properties of parsley stand out: the liver purifying action, the regulation of blood pressure, the increase in diuresis and the improvement of digestive function .
These therapeutic qualities are mainly due to the presence of a particular active principle called apiol . However, excessive consumption of Petroselinum both for food use and in the form of a phytotherapeutic preparation should be avoided during pregnancy as it is considered toxic and causes abortive effects .
Parsley – what it is
The parsley is a herbaceous and aromatic plant . Its botanical name is Petroselinum Crispum , whose etymological meaning derives from the Latin petra and selinon which translated means ‘celery that grows among the stones’ while the term crispum refers to the curly shape of the leaves.
It is recognized as a plant aimed at embellishing culinary delights , endowed with interesting phytotherapeutic and magical properties attributed to it since ancient times.
The Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder, the gastronome Marcus Gavius Apicius, the Roman writer Columella, the Spanish theologian Isidore of Seville and the Greek physician Galen all mentioned Petroselinum in their treatises; some for the purpose of enhancing its numerous therapeutic properties, others for culinary purposes .
Parsley is also attributed magical properties : mythology attributed to this plant powers of clairvoyance and was used to carry out love rituals , while the ancient Romans placed a sprig of parsley under the tunics to ward off the evil eye . Instead, the Etruscans used it as an ingredient in ointments with supernatural effects and the Greeks used the plant as an ornament for tombs.
The saying ‘ you are like parsley ‘ arises from the fact that this herbaceous species is used to perform multiple functions in heterogeneous situations.
The nutritional values of parsley
The consumption of 100 grams of product provides just 30 calories . It also contains:
- 87.2 g of water
- 3.7 g of protein
- 5 g of fiber
- 0.6 g of lipids
- 20 mg of sodium
- 0 g of cholesterol
- 670 mg of potassium
- 220 mg of calcium
- 75 mg of phosphorus
- 4.2 mg of iron
- 0.10 g of thiamine
- 0.21 mg of riboflavin
- 0.6 mg of niacin
- 162 mg of Vitamin C
- 943 mg of Vitamin A.
Active ingredients of parsley
The chemical components used for phytotherapeutic purposes are contained in the whole herb including the roots, leaves and fruits.
The main ones are:
- vitamin C, A and K
- minerals (especially potassium, calcium, phosphorus and copper)
- amino acids such as: alanine, cystine, lysine and phenylalanine
The volatile alkaloids give parsley its particular and pleasant scent.
Apiolo: what it is
It is a phenylpropanoid element which constitutes the essential oil of parsley extracted from the fruits of the plant itself.
It owns properties:
- abortive , parsley was used in ancient folk medicine for this purpose. This effect is due to the contractions of the smooth muscle of the uterus induced by the apiolo. The decoction of parsley taken in large quantities gave rise to a strong hemorrhage which allowed to eliminate the fertilized egg. The use of this remedy also had serious consequences for the body, such as: damage to the liver, intestines and kidneys.
Furthermore, the otricresyl phosphate contained in the apiol can cause a severe neurotoxicity capable of paralyzing the lower limbs.
Properties and benefits of parsley
Thanks to this property, it accelerates the healing time of infections affecting the urinary tract and prevents the formation of bladder and kidney stones, by means of its washing action. In addition, it naturally cleanses the kidneys and is able to fight urinary and bladder infections.
Natural remedy for hypertension
The vitamin C contained in parsley in synergy with its diuretic action allows you to lower blood pressure levels and maintain them throughout the day.
It is able to counteract the harmful consequences deriving from the presence of free radicals. Minerals and vitamins contained in considerable quantities within the Apiacea are able to counteract cellular aging and hinder the onset of excessive pressure changes which are particularly harmful to the health of the individual.
Parsley is able to increase appetite and improve digestive function. If eaten raw, it stimulates the production of gastric juices and reduces the formation of intestinal gas . It helps the assimilation of nutrients in the intestine thanks to the presence of enzymes and fibers.
It strengthens the immune system and is an excellent adjuvant in eradicating the flu thanks to the synergistic action of vitamins A, C, K, folic acid and niacin.
It is able to relieve phlogosis (inflammation) located inside the body thanks to the presence of two essential oils: eugenol and myristicin.
It strengthens the bones
Being rich in calcium and vitamins B, C and K, it strengthens the bones preventing the formation of diseases affecting the latter, such as osteoporosis.
Improve brain function
By affecting the formation of some neurons, it improves memory , alertness and learning. It is also able to carry out an adjuvant action in the treatment of autonomic disorders such as:
- Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Increase hair growth
The properties of parsley increase the growth of the hair stem through a simple massage carried out with the fresh leaves of the medicinal plant. Moreover, this umbellifera stimulates the microcirculation and gives a strong and shiny appearance to the dull hair.
Parsley is a remedy for:
- strengthen the bones
- eradicate inflammation
- improve digestion
- counteract free radicals
- lower the pressure
- stimulate diuresis
- improve memory and concentration.
Contraindications of parsley
Parsley must be introduced into our body with caution and in moderate quantities.
In fact, an excessive use of this umbellifer is to be considered toxic . This aspect is due to the coexistence of the apiol component and a substance with narcotic effects: mistricin.
In the event of an overdose, these particular essential oils are to be considered directly responsible for the onset of certain pathologies, such as:
- liver disease
- kidney disorders
- polymenorrhea: onset of the menstrual cycle within a short period of time.
Side effects are increased when this aromatic plant is consumed after cooking .
Pregnancy and parsley
The use of Petroselinum during pregnancy should be avoided especially when the intake takes place in large quantities or through the administration of phytocomplexes extracted from the officinal plant.
The reason is identified in the mistricin component which, being responsible for a series of contractions of the uterine muscles , generates abortive effects.
Parsley: uses in herbal medicine
The Petroselinum is used in herbal medicine in cutting herbal tea for preparing decoctions and infusions . But also in the form of essential oil and food supplements in capsules or non-alcoholic solution depending on the pathology to be treated.
The herbal tea or decoction , which includes parsley as the main ingredient, is mainly used for:
- digestive difficulties
- muscle spasms
- stimulate diuresis
- promote menstrual flow.
Diuretic parsley decoction
- dried parsley root: 6 g
- water: 150 ml.
Procedure: bring the parsley root added to the water to a boil, let it boil for about 10 minutes. Then, remove the mixture from the heat and wait another 10 minutes. Filter it and sweeten it to taste with honey or maple syrup.
Parsley essential oil has properties:
- stimulants of blood and lymphatic circulation
- promotes digestion
- increases intestinal motility.
Dosage : 1-2 drops to mix in a tablespoon of honey or a sugar cube.
In order to avoid intoxication due to an inappropriate use of the remedies based on Petrolinum crispum, it is advisable to strictly follow the advice of the herbalist.
Use parsley for beauty
Infusion to give shine to the hair
- fresh parsley leaves: 10 g
- water: 150 ml.
Prepare the infusion and let the water boil with the finely chopped parsley. Meanwhile, wash your hair with shampoo.
Once the mixture has rested for 10 minutes, proceed to filtering. Wait for the liquid to cool and rub it on the scalp , massaging it. Then rinse the hair with hot water and detangle it with a brush. Repeat the shampoo in order to remove all traces of the phyto preparation from the hair and proceed with drying as usual.
Buying guide for herbal tea and parsley essential oil
Most herbal preparations based on parsley can be found at health food stores, drugstores and organic shops online. The essential oil can also be purchased in pharmacies .
Prefer the herbal tea cut from the organic cultivation of the medicinal plant and make sure that the drug has been stored in special dark-colored and airtight containers.
To avoid the formation of microorganisms and molds on the dried plant, the herbal tea should be stored for a maximum period of 6 months away from sunlight and heat.
To buy a good essential oil you need to evaluate the characteristics shown on the label. So, pay attention to:
- origin : the part of the plant used in the extraction process must be explicitly mentioned;
- purity : evaluate the existence of the 100% pure wording to ensure that the product has not been mixed with water or synthetic compounds
- quality seal : there must be an indication of the origin from organic farming with a reference code such as EU-Bio that certifies compliance with the regulations.
Furthermore, the Latin and Italian botanical name of the medicinal plant must be mentioned in the leaflet.
You use parsley in the kitchen
The parsley is considered one of the herbs most exploited culinary art since the times of the ancient Romans. The plant uses fresh leaves and cut stems.
Its flavor is delicate with a fresh and woody texture and its use is versatile . In fact, it lends itself to embellishing various foods, such as:
- fish and meat dishes
- stewed potatoes
- mushrooms cooked in a pan
- seafood salads.
Recipes with parsley
1 – Salad of kamut, walnuts and parsley
Kamut salad with nuts and parsley is a first plate ideal as an alternative to the pasta or to another salad cereals. Also good cold, it is perfect to take with you to work for a light lunch break, but also nutritious and very satiating. Kamut provides you with all the energy of carbohydrates, while walnuts make you full of minerals, fibers and “good” fats.
Total calories: 926 / calories per person 155
Ingredients for 6 people
- 480 g kamut
- 70 g walnuts already cleaned
- 20 g parsley
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- Salt to taste
- pepper as needed
Cook the Kamut in plenty of boiling salted water, as you do for durum wheat pasta.
Separately, clean and chop the onion, then brown it with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil in a non-stick pan (if you don’t like the intense flavor of the onion you can replace it with shallots or fresh leeks).
After a few minutes, before the onion gets too golden, add the coarsely chopped walnuts and the chopped parsley.
Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring and check for salt.
If you like, add a little pepper too.
When the Kamut is cooked, drain it and pour it into the pan together with the other ingredients: mix everything over low heat.
Kamut with walnuts and parsley is ready, you can serve it hot accompanying the cereal with grated Parmesan or pecorino. If you serve it cold, you can add a drizzle of raw oil at the last.
Another suggestion for presenting this dish: pour the Kamut into small oiled oven dishes sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
Bake for 10 minutes at 200 degrees.
2 – Potatoes with parsley
The parsley potatoes is a side dish easy and quick to prepare and delicate flavor, suitable for every season. In the summer you can serve them cold and in the hot summer, to get the most out of your parsley-flavored potatoes . Cut them into chunks or slices, according to your tastes, and complete them with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Total calories: 1040 / calories per person 260
Ingredients for 4 people
- 1 kilo of potatoes
- 3 tablespoons of oil
- Salt to taste
- parsley to taste
Peel and rinse the potatoes .
Put them whole in a saucepan and cover them completely with water. Boil them for at least 40 minutes after the water begins to boil.
Once removed from the water, let them cool before cutting them coarsely. To season the potatoes, use oil , salt and a good handful of chopped parsley .
3 – Sardines with parsley
The sardines with parsley are quick idea to prepare a second alternative. Rich in beneficial properties , sardines are precious allies for our health, and together with parsley they create a very light and very tasty dish.
Total calories: 620 / calories per person: 155
Ingredients for 4 people
- 400 g fresh sardines already cleaned
- 2 lemons zest
- 50 g chopped parsley
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 tablespoons white wine
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
Prepare the sauce by blending the parsley, pepper, garlic clove and thinly grated lemon zest. Also add the white wine, lemon juice and oil.
Cook the sardines in a non-stick pan (or grill) for one minute on each side.
When ready to serve, pour a little sauce on the plate, place the sardines on top and toss with more sauce. Complete with a pinch of salt and the lemon zest cut into strips.
Parsley belongs to the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, which also includes carrots, fennel, celery and cumin : plants that share a characteristic umbrella-shaped inflorescence.
It is a herbaceous native to Western Asia and the Mediterranean and lies in the wild near walls and rocks located in woods and meadows. It prefers the thermperate climate , as it does not tolerate low temperatures.
The most common species is the Petroselinum Crispum.
The plant reaches 70 cm in height and is made up of erect tubular stems. The root is taproot with a fleshy consistency. The serrated bright green leaves are equipped with petioles and divided into three segments with a triangular appearance.
Long stems support the inflorescences of the plant painted green-white and peep out in the summer .
There are two main existing parsley species, distinguished by the type of foliage:
curly-leaf parsley, the so-called Petroselinum Crispum
the Italian variant with flat leaf, the Petroselinum Neapolitanum.
The biological cycle of this Umbelliferae is perennial when it grows spontaneously and every two years if cultivated.
How to grow the parsley plant
The aromatic parsley plant lends itself to being grown both in the garden, inserting it in your own home garden, and in pots. By following the simple precautions indicated below, you can obtain lush aromatic plants to be used to embellish your culinary recipes .
Sowing in full field
For this Apiacea, it is necessary to proceed with the insemination in the period from February to September , preferably in a soft soil, sufficiently drained and enriched with organic matter.
Proceed to uproot weeds from the soil and incorporate slow-release granular fertilizer. Subsequently, it is necessary to carry out a broadcast sowing which consists in evenly distributing the seeds in the ground with the help of common gardening tools.
The seeds placed in the ground must be covered with a thin layer of soil with the help of a rake. Water everything gently with the rain method or drip irrigation.
To ensure good seed germination, watering must take place daily for 20 days.
Incorporate a clayey substrate consisting of soil combined with manure or compost in a medium-sized pot . Proceed to distribute the seeds evenly, the standard duration of germination is about one month. To speed up the timing, place the seeds in a glass filled with water and leave to rest for one night. After that, immerse them to 1 cm deep. With this technique, the leaves will pop out after just 4 weeks.
Proceed with watering regularly to ensure a good and constant humidity of the soil. In June , pruning should be done to allow the leaves to grow again .
- Place the parsley seedlings in an area exposed to full sun or slightly shade. If you are in places where torrid heat reigns, the advice is to guarantee the plant a partial coverage from the sun’s rays.
- After about 70-90 days , the parsley can be harvested. In June, pruning should be done to allow the leaves to grow again.
- Petroselinum must be inseminated under the influence of the crescent moon which will facilitate the development of the plant.
- If you want to cultivate this Apiacea in the winter period , proceed with the insemination in the two months before the frosts.