Role of Herbs & Spices on Health & Wellness [Parsley]

Here are a few kitchen hints that you can use from the herb parsley that is plentiful, locally grown and can be purchased from grocery stores, and open air markets but limited on the home front. If you are adventurous you could even plant your own parsley in a pot or in a raised garden bed.

History of Parsley

Grown all over the world but originated in the Eastern Mediterranean region for more than 2,000 years, it is known as medicinal herb. The ancient Greeks valued the seeds and roots of the plant for their soothing diuretic effect on those with kidney and bladder ailments. Today, Parsley is still used primarily as a diuretic. In addition it strengthens the digestive tract and helps alleviate stomach and liver problems.

  • In folk medicine, parsley is recommended for women who have irregular menstrual periods. As a diuretic, it may also ease the bloating that some women experience before their periods.  As importantly, parsley leaves are a good source of many vitamins and minerals—including iron, which is important for the proper formation of red blood cells, potassium and vitamin C. Folate a B vitamin is needed for producing red blood cells and prevents birth defects in the un-born babies.

Kitchen Hints

  • Don’t cook parsley, because heat destroys its valuable vitamins and minerals. To retain parsley’s flavor chop the herb just before using and add it to hot foods at the last minute.
  • Avoid dried parsley—it is far less tasty and healthful than the fresh herb.
  • Try the flat-leaf variety, also called Italian parsley. It has more nutrients and a better flavor than curly parsley.
  • Chop the herb just before using, and then sprinkle the pieces over the dish.
  • Add parsley to complement a dish, such as potatoes, smoked salmon, trout, poultry, pasta and vegetables.
  • Freeze fresh parsley to save preparation time in the kitchen. Wash, dry and chop the parsley leaves, then freeze in a plastic container or zip-seal plastic bag. You can then remove just the amount you need for each recipe.
  • Keep parsley fresh by sprinkling it with water, wrapping it in paper towels and refrigerating it in a plastic bag. Or, place parsley stems in a glass of water (like a bunch of flowers) and refrigerate.

Therapeutic Effect of Parsley

As a diuretic, parsley purifies the blood and accelerates the excretion of toxin. It stimulates appetite and aids digestion and metabolism. The herb can also ease bloating stomach cramps and nauseas as well as relieve arthritis symptoms. Eaten regularly, it reduces heart rate and lowers blood pressure. To keep your breath fresh, chew on fresh parsley leaves. And for treatment of kidney stones, brew up some parsley tea.

Essential Oil

Parsley contains essential oils; the most important one, apiole, is a kidney stimulant. These essential oils can stimulate uterine contractions. Pregnant women should avoid eating large quantities of it. However, after the baby is born, parsley can help tone the uterus and promote lactation.

Parsley Weapon for Osteoporosis

To fight against osteoporosis: when large doses of calcium are taken in supplement form, it can impair the body’s absorption of manganese that helps to build bone. Parsley enhances manganese absorption particularly when it is eaten with foods containing copper and zinc, such as shellfish and whole grains.

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