Most often found in fresh salads and as an uneaten garnish in restaurants, Parsley, latin name Petroselinum sativum, has been used in classical folk medicine for over 2,000 years, and traditional folk healers have discovered applications for virtually every part of this carrot-like plant.
Parsley seeds have been used as a carminative to relieve gas and stimulate digestive action, while the root has been employed for its mild diuretic activity, helping to increase urine output and rid the body of excess fluids.
The leaves and root have been recommended for treating urinary tract infections, and the entire plant is claimed to stimulate digestion and to act as an expectorant to aid in the elimination of mucus, thus aiding congestion. Folk healers have also found parsley to be an effective emmenagogue to stimulate the uterus and aid menstrual flow.
As a food, parsley is an excellent breath freshener, and nutritionally it is a good source of iron, beta carotene and vitamins B1, B2 and C. Laboratory research has supported many of the healing claims of parsley. Essential oils extracted from parsley have been shown to lower of blood pressure and to act as a mild sedative.
Volatile oils contained in parsley seeds have also proven to support claims for aiding digestion and increasing urine output. Parsley also contains apiol and myristicin, mildly toxic terpenes known to stimulate the uterus. Folk healers have also used parsley as an abortifactant, and under no circumstances should parsley volatile oils be administered to pregnant women. Otherwise, parsley is not toxic and appears free of adverse effects.