Table of Contents > Herbs & Supplements > Parsley (Petroselinum spp., Petroselinum crispum, Petroselinum neapolitanum) Print

Parsley (Petroselinum spp., Petroselinum crispum, Petroselinum neapolitanum)

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Also listed as: Petroselinum spp., Petroselinum crispum, Petroselinum neapolitanum, Curly-leaf parsley, Italian parsley, flat-leaf parsley
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Acetylapiin, allyl tetramethoxybenzene, aluminum, Apiaceae, apigenin, apigenin 7-O-(6-O-malonylglucoside), apiol, apiose, Apium petroselinum, Apium petroselinum L., Belgian parsley, bergapten, bergaptene, berlinska, beta-carotene, ß-phellandrene, beta-phellandrene, bur parsley, caffeoyl esters, calcium, carotene, carotenoid phytonutrients, Carum petroselinum, Caucatis platycarpos, Chinese parsley, chlorophyll, chrysoeriol, cilantro, Conioselinum vaginatum, coriander, Coriandrum sativum, coumarins, crispane, crispanone, cukrowa, curled parsley, curly parsley, curly-leaf parsley, Cymopterus spp., cytochrome f, diosmetin, European parsley, fatty acids, fermented parsley juice, feruloyl esters, flat-leaf parsley, flavanols, flavones, flavonols, folic acid, furanocoumarins, furocoumarins, gamma-tocopherol, glutathione, glycolipids, Hamburg parsley, hemlock parsley, hydroxybenzoic acid derivatives, inositol, iodine, iron, isopimpinellin, isorhamnetin, Italian parsley, kaempferol, kinga, koral, limonene, lutein-zeaxanthin, luteolin, magnesium, menthatriene, methoxypsoralen, methylbenzene, monoterpene, myrcene, myristicin, N-alpha-L-arabinopyranoside, nicotinic acid, Ombrelliferae, oxalic acid, oxypeucedanin, p-menthatriene, parsley apiole, parsley fruits, parsley hypocotyls, parsleyapiole, parsley-haulm, p-coumaric acid derivatives, pectic substance, petersilie, Petrosilini herba, Petrosilini radix, Petroselinum crispum, Petroselinum hortense, Petroselinumlatifolium, Petroselinum neapolitanum, Petroselinum sativum, Petroselinum sativum, Petroselinum tuberosum, Petroselinum vulgare, Petroserinum sativum, petroside, phosphorous, phthalides, phylloquinone, phytoalexins, plastocyanin, polyacetylene, potassium, psoralen, quercetin, sesquiterpenes, Umbelliferae, vistula, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K1, xanthotoxin, xylose.
  • Note: The most common forms of parsley used for medicinal purposes are Petroselinum crispum (curled-leaf parsley) and Petroselinum neapolitanum (Italian parsley, also known as flat-leaf parsley). Chinese parsley, also known as coriander or cilantro, is a different species, Coriandrum sativum. This monograph focuses on the Petroselinum species.

Background
  • Parsley is native to the Mediterranean and has reportedly been used for more than 2,000 years as an herbal remedy, seasoning, and garnish. In ancient Rome, parsley was a sacred herb of burial and was served at funeral banquets. This is thought to be the origin of the modern use of parsley as a garnish decorating plates of food. Romans wore garlands of parsley in the belief that it would excite the brain and stimulate the appetite. Later, victors of athletic contests were crowned with garlands of parsley.
  • The forms of parsley most commonly used for medicinal purposes are Petroselinum crispum (curled-leaf parsley) and Petroselinum neapolitanum (Italian parsley, also known as flat-leaf parsley). Chinese parsley, also known as coriander or cilantro, is a different species, Coriandrum sativum.
  • Parsley has traditionally been used as a digestive aid, breath freshener, laxative, diuretic, general-purpose tonic, abortifacient (miscarriage inducer), and a poultice applied to the skin for treatment of burns, bruises, insect bites, and itching.
  • There is evidence that parsley may act as an antioxidant, diuretic, or blood sugar-lowering agent. Parsley is currently used in Turkey to treat diabetes and in Germany as a diuretic in the treatment of high blood pressure.
  • Parsley is available in capsule form as an oil, root, leaf, or seed preparation. The oil is the strongest form, followed by the seeds. These two more powerful preparations should be avoided during pregnancy, because they may cause uterine contractions and induce abortion.
  • Parsley is listed in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) list.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Antioxidants are molecules that work to prevent damage that occurs in cells and body tissues due to both normal bodily processes and exposure to some chemicals. The potential medical benefit of antioxidants may be their ability to prevent or slow the oxidation of molecules, such as proteins and DNA, in the body. Oxidative stress is thought to play a role in many human diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, atherosclerosis, and Parkinson's disease. A small clinical trial noted that parsley reduced oxidative stress.

C


Based on early research using a combination product containing parsley leaf, it is unclear whether parsley is effective for lowering blood pressure in patients with high blood pressure or whether it may increase the risk of side effects.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abortifacient (uterine contraction stimulant), acne, antiaging, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet effects, aphrodisiac, arthritis, bad breath, bronchitis, bruises, burns, cancer, common cold, deodorant, detoxification, diabetes, digestive disorders, diuretic, epilepsy, flavoring, heart disease, infection, hormonal effects, immune system stimulant, insect bites, iron deficiency anemia, itching, kidney cleanser, laxative, learning disorder, liver protection, menstrual cramps, osteoporosis, pain, premenstrual syndrome, prostate cancer, skin diseases, sleep aid, snakebite, tonic, ulcers, urinary tract infections.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Parsley has traditionally been taken by mouth in the form of parsley seed tea, capsules containing parsley leaf or root, and parsley oil.
  • Parsley oil is much more potent than other preparations and should be ingested only under medical supervision.
  • Parsley has been applied to the skin in the form of poultice to relieve itching and discomfort from insect bites and to promote healing of burns and bruises.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for parsley in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to parsley, carrots, fennel, or celery.
  • Parsley may cause hives or skin inflammation.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Parsley may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Parsley may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Parsley may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients with low blood pressure and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.
  • Parsley may cause skin to become sensitive to light. Use caution in patients with skin disorders.
  • Parsley may have effects on the gastrointestinal system. Use caution in patients with gastrointestinal disorders.
  • Parsley may cause hives or skin inflammation. Avoid in patients with known allergy or hypersensitivity to parsley, carrots, fennel, or celery.
  • Parsley oil may cause uterine contractions and miscarriage. Pregnant women should avoid parsley oil and seeds.
  • Fresh parsley should be washed with water before use to remove bacteria.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Parsley oil may cause uterine contractions and miscarriage. Pregnant women should avoid parsley oil and seeds.
  • Parsley is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Note: For some of the following agents, the parsley species was not specified. However, Petroselinum crispum is the most common species used for medicinal purposes.
  • Parsley may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Parsley may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners) such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Parsley may lower blood pressure. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood pressure.
  • Parsley may also interact with analgesics, antibiotics, anticholinesterase inhibitors, anti-inflammatory agents, anticancer agents, antispasmodic agents, antiulcer agents, cytochrome P450-metabolized agents, diuretics, estrogen, gastrointestinal agents, immune suppressants, laxatives, osteoporosis drugs, sleep aid medications, or uterine stimulants.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Note: For some of the following agents, the parsley species was not specified. However, Petroselinum crispum is the most common species used for medicinal purposes.
  • Parsley may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring. Doses may need adjustment.
  • Parsley may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Parsley may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Parsley may also interact with analgesics, antibacterials, anticholinesterase inhibitors, anti-inflammatory herbs, anticancer herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antispasmodics, antiulcer herbs and supplements, asparagus root, calcium, cytochrome P450-metabolized herbs and supplements, diuretics, garlic, gastrointestinal herbs and supplements, immune suppressants, iron, laxatives, lysine, osteoporosis herbs and supplements, sleep enhancement herbs and supplements, or uterine stimulants.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Chrubasik S, Droste C, Dragano N, et al. Effectiveness and tolerability of the herbal mixture Asparagus P on blood pressure in treatment-requiring antihypertensives. . 2006;13(9-10):740-2.
  2. Daly T, Jiwan MA, O'Brien NM, et al. Carotenoid content of commonly consumed herbs and assessment of their bioaccessibility using an in vitro digestion model.. 2010;65(2):164-9.
  3. Duthie GG. Parsley, polyphenols and nutritional antioxidants. 1999;81(6):425-6.
  4. Gorgus E, Lohr C, Raquet N, et al. Limettin and furocoumarins in beverages containing citrus juices or extracts.. 2010;48(1):93-8.
  5. Heck AM, DeWitt BA, Lukes AL. Potential interactions between alternative therapies and warfarin.. 2000;57(13):1221-7.
  6. Meeran SM, Katiyar SK. Cell cycle control as a basis for cancer chemoprevention through dietary agents.. 2008;13:2191-202.
  7. Meyer H, Bolarinwa A, Wolfram G, et al. Bioavailability of apigenin from apiin-rich parsley in humans. 2006;50(3):167-72.
  8. Nielsen SE, Young JF, Daneshvar B, et al. Effect of parsley (Petroselinum crispum) intake on urinary apigenin excretion, blood antioxidant enzymes and biomarkers for oxidative stress in human subjects. 1999;81(6):447-55.
  9. O'Neil J, Hughes S, Lourie A, et al. Effects of echinacea on the frequency of upper respiratory tract symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. l. 2008;100(4):384-8.
  10. Patel D, Shukla S, Gupta S. Apigenin and cancer chemoprevention: progress, potential and promise (review).. 2007 Jan;30(1):233-45.
  11. Potter JD, Steinmetz K. Vegetables, fruit and phytoestrogens as preventive agents.. 1996;(139):61-90.
  12. Putnam SE, Scutt AM, Bicknell K, et al. Natural products as alternative treatments for metabolic bone disorders and for maintenance of bone health. . 2007;21(2):99-112.
  13. Ren S, Lien EJ. Natural products and their derivatives as cancer chemopreventive agents. . 1997;48:147-71.
  14. Wright CI, Van-Buren L, Kroner CI, et al. Herbal medicines as diuretics: a review of the scientific evidence. l. 2007;114(1):1-31.
  15. Yarnell E. Botanical medicines for the urinary tract. 2002;20(5):285-93.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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