Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a small plant mostly found naturally in Mediterranean regions and parts of South Europe; though, it is distributed worldwide now. Fresh parsley (also known as garden parsley) is loaded with minerals and vitamins, such as folate, fiber, iron, manganese, copper, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, vitamins A, B1, B3, C, and K. Parsley leaves have been used as a vegetable, spice, and more commonly as a table garnish in culinary preparations. It is also known for its wide-ranging nutritional and medicinal properties. The most common parsleys used are flat-leaf parsley and curly-leaf parsley.
Parsley and cancer:
According to WHFoods (of The George Mateljan Foundation, a not-for-profit foundation), parsley contains an unusual combination of volatile oils and flavonoids. These volatile oils have shown to be chemoprotective in animal studies by inhibiting cancer formation. Study research at the University of Missouri has shown that certain flavonoids found in parsley prevented the formation of breast cancer cells. Also, according to studies conducted by Chen and others in 2008, which were published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, it was revealed that dietary polyphenols, such as apigenin and luteolin (both found in parsley), may contribute towards cancer prevention and aid in chemotherapy.
The folic acid in parsley can ensure that cell divisions take place in a controlled manner, thus helping reduce the risk for cancer. Specifically, it has been seen that parsley can contribute in helping prevent the development of colon cancer.
Parsley and rheumatoid arthritis:
Another medicinal benefit of parsley is that it has strong anti-inflammatory properties. It is a rich source for vitamin C and hence, it can help the body fight against rheumatoid arthritis affecting multiple body joints (a condition termed as inflammatory polyarthritis), as studies in some animals have shown.
Parsley as a digestive aid:
Individuals suffering from flatulence, indigestion, or even constipation may find relief with parsley, as it is rich in fiber. The antibacterial properties of parsley can help protect the stomach against pathogens such as Helicobacter pylori. Parsley is used to treat and even prevent bladder infections. In the stomach and intestines, parsley can aid in the digestive processes.
Parsley as an antioxidant:
The flavonoids found in parsley are helpful in preventing cell damage due to oxygen radicals. Moreover, vitamin C found in parsley is known to impede the free radicals of the body from contributing to disease development; diseases that include atherosclerosis, asthma, and diabetes, among others.
Similarly, beta carotene (associated with vitamin A in parsley) promotes healthy body immunity and is useful in mitigating the risks for the above-mentioned diseases and disorders.
Parsley and Alzheimer’s disease:
Another health benefit of parsley is that it is very rich in vitamin K. Research has shown that parsley may be useful in fighting brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease, by controlling and reducing the damage of the nerve cells.
Sasaki N, Toda T, Kaneko T et al. Protective effects of flavonoids on the cytotoxicity of linoleic acid hydroperoxide toward rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells. Chem Biol Interact. 2003 Mar 6;145(1):101-16. 2003.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19325799 (accessed on 11/28/2014)
http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100 (accessed on 11/28/2014)
http://naturalsociety.com/parsley-health-benefits-growing-parsley-medicine/ (accessed on 11/28/2014)
http://foodfacts.mercola.com/parsley.html (accessed on 11/28/2014)
Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:
BASIL’S BIG, B. E. N. E. F. I. T. S. Healthy Herbs Do More Than Just Spice Up Your Meals.
Rajeshwari, U., & Andallu, B. (2011). Medicinal benefits of coriander (Coriandrum Sativum L). Spatula DD, 1(1), 51-58.
Dog, T. L. (2006). A reason to season: the therapeutic benefits of spices and culinary herbs. Explore: the journal of science and healing, 2(5), 446-449.
Jarvis, K. (2015, July). Evaluation of 16S rRNA Sequencing for the Detection of Salmonella in Cilantro. In 2015 Annual Meeting (July 25-28, 2015). Iafp.