Parsley - Petroselenium crispum
- Created: 20 August 2014
Herb Name - Parsley
Botanical Name - Petroselinum crispum
Family - Umbelliferare/Apacieae
Other Names - Apium petroselinum, Petroselinum lativum, Petersylinge, Persely, Persele
Parts Used - The tap root, leaves and seeds.
Native to the Eastern Mediterranean, cultivated worldwide. The Garden Parsley is not indigenous to Britain: Linnaeus stated its wild habitat to be Sardinia, whence it was brought to England and apparently first cultivated here in 1548. Bentham considered it a native of the Eastern Mediterranean regions. Since its introduction into these islands in the sixteenth century it has been completely naturalized in various parts of the world, on old walls and rocks. There is an old superstition against transplanting parsley plants. The herb is said to have been dedicated to Persephone and to funeral rites by the Greeks. It was afterwards consecrated to St. Peter in his character of successor to Charon.
Petroselinum, the specific name of the Parsley is said to have been assigned to it by Dioscorides. The Ancients distinguished between two plants Selinon, one being the Celery (Apium graveolens) and called heleioselinon - i.e. 'Marsh selinon,' and the other, parsley - Oreoselinon, 'Mountain selinon'; or petroselinum, signifying 'Rock selinon.' This last name in the Middle Ages became corrupted into Petrocilium - this was anglicized into Petersylinge, Persele, Persely and finally Parsley.
Several cultivated varieties exist, the principal being the common plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the Hamburg or broadleaved and the celery-leaved. Of the variety crispum, or curled-leaved, there are no less than thirty-seven variations; the most valuable are those of a compact habit with close, perfectly curled leaves. The common sort bears close leaves, but is of a somewhat hardier nature than those of which the leaves are curled; the latter are, however, superior in every way. The variety crispum was grown in very early days, being even mentioned by Pliny.
The Hamburg, or turnip-rooted Parsley, is grown only for the sake of its enlarged fleshy tap-root. Neapolitan, or celery-leaved, parsley is grown for the use of its leafstalks, which are blanched and eaten like those of celery.
The plain-leaved parsley is less attractive than those of the curled, less brilliant green, and coarser in flavour. It also has too close a resemblance to Fool's Parsley (Anthriscus cynapium), a noxious weed of a poisonous nature infesting gardens and fields. The leaves of the latter, though similar, are, however, of a rather darker green and when bruised, emit an unpleasant odour, very different to that of Parsley. They are, also, more finely divided. When the two plants are in flower, they are easily distinguished, Anthriscus having three tiny, narrow, sharp-pointed leaflets hanging down under each little umbellule of the white umbel of flowers, whereas in the Garden Parsley there is usually only one leaflet under the main umbel, the leaflets or bracts at the base of the small umbellules only being short and as fine as hairs. Anthriscus leaves, also, are glossy bene
Volatile oil, containing apiole, myristicin,[[beta]]-phellandrene, p-mentha-l,3,8-triene, 4- isopropenyl-l-methylbenzene,2-(p-toluyl)propan-2-ol. Coumarins Flavonoids Phthalides Vitamins.
The fresh herb, so widely used in cookery, is a rich source of vitamin C. Medicinally, Parsley has three main areas of usage. Firstly, it is an effective diuretic, helping the body get rid of excess water and so may be used wherever such an effect is desired. Remember, however, that the cause of the problem must be sought and treated -don't just treat symptoms. The second area of use is as an emmenagogue stimulating the menstrual process. It is advisable not to use parsley in medicinal dosage during pregnancy asthere may be excessive stimulation of the womb. The third use is as a carminative, easing flatulence and the colic pains that may accompany it.
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the leaves or root and let infuse for 5-l0 minutes in enclosed container. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Do not use the essential oil internally unless under the guidance of a qualified health care practitioner. The constituent, apiole, in the essential oil can cause kidney inflammation. Parsley is contraindicated in pregnancy due to the emmenagogue effect and uterine stimulation reported in animal research.