5 things you should know about Parsley

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a plant from the Mediterranean region that is commonly used as a garnish or ingredient in a wide number of recipes.

Parsley contains compounds that have specific health benefits.


1. Diuretic

Parsley is a natural diuretic (a stimulant to pass urine). Parsley reduces the absorption of sodium, and with it water, by the kidneys. The water then flows out as urine. Diuretics are commonly used to treat high blood pressure and heart disease. Parsley then could be used as a supplement to pass urine. If you are taking pills to help pass urine, avoid taking them with parsley as your blood pressure may drop and you may feel dizzy.


2. Anti-cancer

One of the most interesting compounds found in parsley is a flavonoid (plant metabolite) known as apigenin. While its mechanisms of action are still poorly understood, a number of studies have shown that apigenin has anti-cancer effects. It disrupts the formation of blood vessels serving a growing tumor (‘anti-angiogenic’), and therefore contributes to reducing the growth of the cancer cells (cell growth inhibition). It also reduces absorption of glucose by cancer cells (glucose is one of the main energy source for cancer cells). It is not considered a treatment for cancer but the regular intake of apigenin in the diet could potentially contribute to cancer prevention.

Interestingly, apigenin has also been found helpful in the treatment of cancers by reducing the resistance of some cancer cells to various anti-cancer drugs.


3. Anti-diabetic

Parsley can potentially reduce high glucose levels. In Turkey, diabetics commonly used parsley to reduce high blood sugar. Scientific studies using diabetic rats have shown that glucose levels in the rats are lower after being fed parsley. It does this by its action on enzymes involved in the breakdown of glucose.


4. Anti-inflammatory

Parsley extracts also contain antioxidants as well as specific compounds that have demonstrated strong anti-inflammatory effects (apigenin, myristicin and carnosol). This property makes parsley an interesting ingredient with potential benefits when inflammation is present (for example, inflammation of the skin or joints).


5. Blood clotting

Parsley contains high levels of vitamin K which has a very important action in blood clotting. Parsley therefore can aid clotting of the blood. Therefore, people taking blood thinners (Warfarin) should be cautious as parsley can reduce the effect of blood thinners.

6. And also….

While still poorly documented, scientific investigations have suggested that parsley has potential properties as a liver protector (antihepatotoxic), as an antibiotic, as a laxative,  and of potential use in  the treatment of amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods).

All these potential beneficial properties brand parsley an ingredient you should consider introducing into your diet to enjoy its many health benefits.

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Critique of medicinal conspicuousness of Parsley(Petroselinum crispum): a culinary herb of Mediterranean region. Mahmood S, Hussain S, Malik F. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2014 Jan;27(1):193-202.

Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley. Kreydiyyeh SI, Usta J. J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Mar;79(3):353-7.

Cell cycle control as a basis for cancer chemoprevention through dietary agents. Meeran SM, Katiyar SK. Front Biosci. 2008 Jan 1;13:2191-202.

Apigenin and its impact on gastrointestinal cancers. Lefort ÉC, Blay J. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Jan;57(1):126-44. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201200424. Epub 2012 Nov 29.

Anti-oxidant, anti-glycant, and inhibitory activity against α-amylase and α-glucosidase of selected spices and culinary herbs. Cazzola R, Camerotto C, Cestaro B. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2011 Mar;62(2):175-84. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2010.529068. Epub 2010 Dec 1.

Src kinase is a direct target of apigenin against UVB-induced skin inflammation. Byun S, Park J, Lee E, Lim S, Yu JG, Lee SJ, Chen H, Dong Z, Lee KW, Lee HJ. Carcinogenesis. 2013 Feb;34(2):397-405. doi: 10.1093/carcin/bgs358. Epub 2012 Nov 17.

Anti-inflammatory effect of myristicin on RAW 264.7 macrophages stimulated with polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid. Lee JY, Park W. Molecules. 2011;16(8):7132-42.

Effects of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) on the liver of diabetic rats: a morphological and biochemical study.  Bolkent S1, Yanardag R, Ozsoy-Sacan O, Karabulut-Bulan O.  Phytother Res. 2004 Dec;18(12):996-9.
Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley.
Kreydiyyeh SI1, Usta J.   J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Mar;79(3):353-7.
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. “Plant metabolite promises more effective chemotherapy.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160406075514.htm>.

Antidiabetic And Antioxidant Effects Of Parsley Extract (Petroselinum Crispum) On Diabetic Rats Mahmoud, K.A. Isotope and Radiation Research 2011 v. 43(2); p. 341-357

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