Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a hardy biennial that is usually treated as an annual. Parsley is one of the most familiar of all herbs and is used for both garnishing and flavoring. It is native from northern and central Europe and western Asia. Parsley was at one time, nothing more than a garnish on the side of a plate. Now, however, parsley is often chopped fresh into soups and stews and on vegetables for flavour, colour and aroma, adding it late in the cooking so as not to lose too much of the flavour. But parsley is packed with flavour and health-giving benefits. It is very rich in vitamins A and C and in minerals, particularly iron. It helps the digestive system, making foods more likely to be digested properly.
It was known in ancient Greece and Rome, but more as a diuretic, digestive tonic and stimulant of the menstrual flow than as a salad herb. Parsley leaves, seed and root treat urinary tract infections and help eliminate kidney stones. It also stimulates appetite and increases blood flow to digestive organs, as well as reduces fevers. Parsley was introduced into Britain in 1548. Parsley has the unusual ability of masking strong odors, particularly that of garlic, which is one of reason for the herb's frequent use as a garnish in cookery.
Parsley root is more commonly prescribed than the seeds or leaves in herbal medicine. It is taken as a treatment for flatulence, cystitis and rheumatic conditions. Parsley is also valued as a promoter of menstruation, being helpful both in stimulating a delayed period and in relieving menstrual pain.
Main properties of Parsley: Digestive, diuretic.