Composition of Parsley
The delicious and vibrant taste and wonderful healing properties of parsley are often ignored in its popular role as a table garnish. Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. The flavonoids in parsley—especially luteolin—have been shown to function as antioxidants that combine with highly reactive oxygen-containing molecules (called oxygen radicals) and help prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. In addition to its volatile oils and flavonoids, parsley is an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of vitamin A -notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene.
Health benefits of Parsley
Parsley is known as a natural diuretic, and the increased flow of fluids through the kidneys as urine production and output increases may have a cleansing effect on the kidneys as bacteria and germs are flushed out.
Parsley is great for your eyes and is used as a natural medicine to heal various conditions while improving your vision. Taking Parsley regularly helps to make sure that your body gets the vitamins and nutrients that you need to develop your own ‘eagle vision’ and see better than before. Parsley is rich in vitamin C, keratin and iron while also working as an antispasmodic, antiseptic, and natural detoxifier. Additional carotenoids present in parsley include lutein and zeaxanthin, which offer more antioxidant benefits for good eye health. These compounds work to neutralize damage caused by UV radiation and other environmental influences that may lead to macular degeneration. According to the American Optometric Association, the consumption of lutein and zeaxanthin helps reduce risks for cataracts. In addition, lutein has been found to inhibit glycation, a process where sugar bonds with protein to form advanced glycation end products that can damage the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.
History of Parsley
Much of the folklore surrounding parsley can be probably attributed to a look-alike plant called fool’s parsley that is actually deadly. The Ancient Greeks simply associated parsley with death as it was supposed to have sprung from the blood of Archemorus, whose name meant ‘Forerunner of Death.’ Homer tells of chariot horses being fed parsley by warriors prior to battle in hopes of making the animals more fleet of foot. Victors at funeral games, athletic contests held in honor of a recently deceased person, were crowned with parsley. The saying ‘to be in need of parsley’ was their way of saying that someone was terribly ill and not expected to survive. It was never served at the dining table.
The Romans did not generally eat parsley either but they did wear garlands of parsley on their heads during feasts to ward off intoxication. Parsley was kept away from nursing mothers because it was thought to cause epilepsy in their babies.
In Tudor times through to recent years, parsley was thought to be a remedy for baldness.
Nicholas Culpepper (1616 – 1654), a physician-astrologer, said “it brings urine and women’s curses”, referring to parsley’s diuretic effect and the belief it could both bring on and relieve the discomforts associated with a woman’s monthly cycle.