Parsley contains up to 22 percent protein. It is high in vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and riboflavin, and contains some niacin, thiamin, and phosphorus.
The seeds and leaves have been used for health benefits to help support indigestion, jaundice, menstrual problems, gall stones, coughs, asthma, and dropsy. They are diuretic, stomachic, carminative, depurative, expectorant, and emmenogogic. The leaves can be chewed as a breath freshener.
The essential oil from the seeds contains apiole, myristicin, and alpha-pinene among other substances. A fixed oil in the seed is comprised mainly of petroselinic acid. The leaf oil contains bergapten and can be used in oriental perfumes and men's colognes. Parsley preparations are reported to be antimicrobial, laxative, and tonic on uterine muscles.
General Herb Information
Perhaps no other herb is as familiar in its fresh form as parsley. What plate of restaurant food is served without a sprig tucked to the side of the main course? At meal's end it is often the only thing left on the plate, even though it may well have been the most nutritious part of the meal.
Parsley is native to Europe and western Asia. It is a biennial growing to six to eight inches the first year, then reaching three feet in height when in flower. The smooth, bright green leaves are deeply divided. Tiny yellowish-green flowers are borne on loose compound umbels. There are numerous cultivated varieties. P. crispum var. crispum has curled and crisped leaves. Its cultivar, 'Perfection', produces stiff erect stems, making a clean bunch, easy to harvest. 'Triple-curled' has tightly crisped dark green leaves, looking from a distance like broccoli heads. P. crispum var. neapolitanum Italian parsley, has flat leaves similar to celery. P. crispum var. tuberosum, turnip root parsley or Hamburg parsley, produces thick parsnip-like taproots and has tall fern-like leaves. Parsley leaves stay green during winter.
The key to growing parsley from seed is patience. Seeds may take three to six weeks to germinate. Plant anytime from spring to autumn; but for an early crop, sow parsley one-fourth inch deep at the same time peas are sown. A frost or two won't deter young seedlings. Parsley can be sown indoors, but seedlings transplant with difficulty. Direct sown plantings are best. Treat parsley as an annual, planting anew each year. The second-year leaves tend to be tough and bitter. Once germinated, thin seedlings to stand at six- to eight-inch spacings. Six pounds of seed will sow an acre.
A fertile, moist, sandy loam with 6 to 8 pH is best. Good drainage is essential, especially if you intend plants to survive a winter so you can collect seeds the following year. A friable, double-dug bed serves parsley culture well.
Harvest the leaves once they reach a height of about eight inches and at any time thereafter. Hamburg roots are dug in the fall of the first year or the following spring. They can be stored in a cellar in moist sand. Italian parsley is grown for dried leaf or "parsley flakes?" Leaves must be dried quickly under forced heat to retain a rich green color.
What better herb for culinary use than parsley? Add to salads, tomato dishes, baked potatoes, fish, meat, peas, egg dishes and branch out into parsley butter and parsley sauces. The list is endless. The roots of Hamburg parsley can be grated in salads or soup stocks and cooked like parsnips. Harvest roots in early spring, slice very thin, and sauté in butter with the first fresh mint leaves of the season - delicious!
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Take 1 capsule, 3 times daily, with meals.
Not recommended if you are pregnant as large amounts of parsley are a uterine stimulant.
Do not use parsley if you have a kidney infection.
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