Parsley is a pretty little Mediterranean herb that lends a sprinkling of colour to your plate. But let’s not think of it as just a garnish—after all, parsley has been around for more than 2000 years and boasts some time-tested benefits that you should know about.
1. Provides Beneficial Essential Oils That Fight Cancer
Parsley contains unique elements in its oil known as volatile oil components — myristicin, limonene, eugenol and alpha-thujene. These powerful oil components benefit the body’s immune system and help fight cancer formation, in particular, slowing tumour growth, neutralizing oxidative stress and fighting off carcinogens from harming the body.
2.High Source of Flavonoid Antioxidants
Parsley contains a range of protective flavonoid antioxidants that are responsible for many of the disease-fighting parsley benefits being researched today. These antioxidants including luteolin, apigenin, lycopene, beta-carotene and alpha-carotene.
Antioxidants help to slow the ageing process by fighting free radical damage, or oxidative stress, along with inflammation of the body. This is important because the free radical formation is known to contribute to almost every age-related disease, including cancer, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases and eye disorders.
3. Acts as Natural Diuretic and Helps to Relieve Bloating
Strong evidence exists that parsley can be used as a natural diuretic to help relieve water retention and ease bloating, according to a 2002 review study done by The American University of Beirut. In the study, rats given parsley seed extract showed a significant increase in the volume of urine they produced over the 24 hours following. Parsley benefits digestive health because it helps stimulate kidney production of urine and draws excess water out of the abdomen, where it can cause discomfort and indigestion.
4. May Help Fight Kidney Stones, Urinary Tract Infections and Gallbladder Infections
According to Dr John Christopher of the Herbal Legacy Group, “Parsley is used for inflammation of the kidneys and bladder, gravel, stones, and urine retention.” He notes that when jaundice and venereal diseases are present, the root and leaves work well for the liver and spleen.
When other remedies fail, parsley can also help reduce edema, says Dr Christopher. Meanwhile, parsley juice can soothe the blood vessels, particularly the capillaries and arterioles. He continues, “Parsley is remarkable for its ability to expel watery poisons, excess mucoid matter, [even] flatulence, reducing swollen and enlarged glands.”
Dr Christopher recommends parsley tea for helping the body to detox and to fight off kidney stones, bladder and edema problems. To treat these issues, make at least two quarts of strong parsley tea and then drink them slowly over the course of the day. Drink one-half cup to a full cup every hour.
5. Has Antibacterial and Antifungal Properties
Parsley benefits skin and dental health by fighting off infections and bacteria. Parsley’s essential oils are believed to be effective at eliminating fungus, plus it clears up bacteria-caused blemishes on the skin. The parsley oil held within the oil of the plant’s leaves, roots and seeds is considered antimicrobial; it’s used in soaps, detergents, perfumes and other hygiene products for its ability to kill bacteria and odours.
Parsley and parsley essential oil are used to cure a number of gastrointestinal symptoms and disorders, including gas, constipation, bloating, indigestion and nausea. According to Ayurveda practices, parsley benefits digestion because parsley essential oil can help increase bile production and beneficial gastric juices that are needed for proper enzyme functions involved in food and nutrient absorption. Parsley essential oil can be added to a bath or diluted and rubbed on the stomach area for relief.
7. Helps Reduce Bad Breath
Another parsley benefit is that it’s a great way to naturally reduce bad breath. Parsley is a natural breath freshener because it kills the bacteria in the mouth that cause odours.
8. Good Source of Bone-Protecting Vitamin K
Parsley provides high levels of vitamin K, an essential nutrient for maintaining bone density, fighting bone breaks and fractures. It works together with the other bone-building nutrients in parsley — calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D and magnesium.
9. Contains Immune-Boosting Vitamin C
Parsley benefits your immune defences due to its high levels of antioxidants, including vitamin C and vitamin A. Vitamin C helps to maintain a healthy gut environment, where much of the immune system is actually located. High intakes of vitamin C correlate with lower levels of inflammation and help prevent diseases like atherosclerosis (dangerous plaque build-up in the arteries), arthritis, colon cancer, diabetes and asthma.
10. Helps Protect Eye and Skin Health by Providing Vitamin A
Parsley nutrition is loaded with vitamin A, which includes two antioxidants — pro-vitamin A carotenoid and beta-carotene — used by the body and that can boost eye health. These antioxidants protect the retina and cornea from damage as someone ages, helping to prevent eye disorders like macular degeneration and cataracts. Vitamin A also fights signs of ageing on the skin, protects eyes and skin from UV light damage, and may be able to help prevent skin cancer.
11. Provides Folate That Is Needed for Heart Health
Because it’s a vital B vitamin that plays a critical role in protecting your heart, folate deficiency is very dangerous. Parsley benefits cardiovascular health because we need folate in order to convert homocysteine, a type of amino acid found in the blood. Homocysteine is a potentially troublesome molecule that can cause damage to blood vessels when uncontrolled, potentially leading to a heart attack or stroke.
12. Helps Balance Hormones
Since it helps to prevent neural tube defects that can result when a folate deficiency takes place, the folate within parsley is also important for a healthy pregnancy. Another one of the parsley’s benefits? It’s believed to help balance hormones — important for fertility and preventing symptoms of PMS.