Parsley: Overview

Alternative names: Common parsley, Rock parsley, Garden parsley, Hamburg parsley, Persely, Persil.

Parsley is one of the best known and most widely used herbs.

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Parsley seeds were used traditionally as a carminative to decrease flatulence and colic pain.  The root was used as a diuretic and the juice to treat kidney ailments.  Parsley oil also was used to regulate menstrual flow in the treatment of amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, and is purported to be an abortifacientBruised leaves were used to treat tumors, insect bites, lice and skin parasites, and contusions.  Parsley tea once was used to treat dysentery and gallstones.  Other traditional uses include the treatment of diseases of the prostate, liver, and spleen, anemia, and arthritis; as an expectorant, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, hypotensive, laxative; and as a scalp lotion to stimulate hair growth.

Why it is Recommended

Parsley Root helps bladder, kidney, liver, lung, stomach, and thyroid function; it helps clear uric acid from the urinary tract, contains a substance that prevents the multiplication of tumor cells, expels worms, relieves gas and stimulates normal activity of the digestive system.  It reduces nausea due to upset stomach, is used to treat urinary tract infections, helps dissolve and expel gallstones and gravel, is used to prevent kidney stone formation, acts as a diuretic, increases urine volume, and is used to treat digestive weakness and bronchial and lung congestion.

It may also be used to treat edema and high blood pressure.  Other uses include the treatment of constipation and female problems such as not having a monthly period.  Parsley may be used to treat cuts, insect bites (rubbing crushed parsley onto mosquito bites relieves the itching), lice, and dry or chapped skin.

Side-Effects; Counter-Indicators and Warnings

Adverse effects from the ingestion of parsley oil include headache, giddiness, loss of balance, convulsions, and renal damage.

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects.  Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it:

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin
  • Itching, redness, blistering of skin after picking/handling parsley in sunlight.  The psoralen compounds found in parsley have been linked to a photodermatitis reaction found among parsley cutters.  This skin reaction is usually only evident if the areas that have contacted the juice are exposed to strong sunlight.
  • Blood, kidney, or liver problems

Parsley should not be used by women who are pregnant (because of its potential uterotonic effects), breastfeeding or expecting to become pregnant, by those who have other health problems such as high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease, or by individuals with liver or kidney problems.

Do not use large amounts of Parsley.  Parsley seed oil is very strong and contains chemicals that may cause serious side-effects.

On This Page


Parsley can help with the following:


Not recommended for
Pregnancy-Related Issues

Parsley contains essential oils; the most important one, apiole, is a kidney stimulant.  Because these essential oils can stimulate uterine contractions, pregnant women should avoid eating large quantities of it.

Organ Health

Kidney Disease

Parsley contains essential oils; the most important one, apiol, is a kidney stimulant.

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Moderately useful: often helps with
Moderately useful:
often helps with
Should be avoided: is NOT recommended for
Should be avoided:
is NOT recommended for
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