If you're at all like us, you've maybe wondered why restaurants keep putting parsley on your plate while expecting you not to eat it, but that's probably about all the thought you've given to poor, underestimated parsley. As it turns out, this sharply flavored green may turn out to be a rather potent detoxing agent.
Natural garden parsley (Petroselinum hortense) is a biennial plant that grows a large taproot in the first year and flowers in the second. It is grown in different varieties that favor differently shaped leaves or a more developed taproot, but all have approximately the same remedial qualities.
NB: Parsley in large quantities is not safe for pregnant women.
Preparation: The leaves, roots, and seeds of the parsley plant are all used medicinally. Parsley tea made from the roots and leaves is the most common medicinal preparation, but the seeds are also harvested for extraction of apiol, a therapeutic essential oil long used to treat amenorrhea and historically as a way to terminate a pregnancy.
Natural Parsley Cures: In addition to being an emmenagogue, parsley is a proven diuretic, so it can be very beneficial to the kidneys and bladder. Increased urination can help clean out urinary tract infections. Parsley can also help settle a spastic bladder. It is furthermore rich in B Vitamins as well as offering Vitamin A and more Vitamin C than oranges-which nutrients are of obvious benefit. Specific remedies include applying crushed parsley to a bruise to help the black-and-blue mark disappear faster. It can also be applied to areas of swelling to reduce inflammation. Parsley can be chewed to combat bad breath and when eaten or parsley tea is drunk, it can settle the stomach and reduce gas and bloating.
Parsley and Cancer: One chemical component of parsley, apigenin, reduces the number of new blood vessels that form around a cancerous tumor, helping to starve the growth of cancer cells.
Parsley and the Liver: As a diuretic, parsley can help flush toxins from the body, a boon to our critically important hepatic organ. More specifically, it seems to also contain antiviral agents particularly effective against viruses that attack the liver. For this reason, parsley is strongly recommended for those afflicted with Hepatitis A, B, or C.