Why Parsley Is So Much More Than a Garnish

Meghan Rooney
PHOTO:

Claire Ragozzino 

If you're used to plucking the parsley off the top of your soup or pushing it to the side of your salad plate, it's time to stop overlooking this herb as it can be quite the beneficial addition to your daily diet. Parsley usually plays a supporting role as one of the most common (and pretty) garnishes from the garden, but it really deserves a spot in the limelight as a jack-of-all-trades as far as healthy herbal supplements go. If you're averse to the taste, you'll be pleased to know that ingesting it is not the only way to reap the benefits: It's just as active in the form of essential and seed oils, as well as in teas and disguised in green smoothies. Let's let parsley have its time to shine: Check out all of the amazing (and even surprising) ways it can play a role in keeping you and your health in tip-top shape below.

Parsley is not only vitamin-rich (it's packed with B, A, C, E and K vitamins), but it also contains a high enzyme content, which helps aid digestion and eliminate waste. It has long (for centuries) been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders and constipation, and because its leaves are carminative, parsley helps manage intestinal gas while at the same time stimulating digestion. The herb contains many anti-inflammatory properties and thus helps relieve bloating and water retention too. Consider it a safe all-around answer for any of your tummy troubles.

It's becoming increasingly more obvious that prescribed antibiotics can do as much harm (killing off good, essential bacteria and taking a toll on your gut) as good. That's why parsley can be an effective alternative, as it boosts the immune system (thanks to all the naturally-occurring vitamins and nutrients) to protect against common illnesses like a cold or the flu, and it can also be used to treat more serious matters like bladder and urinary tract infections. Turn to parsley essential oil or the tea derived from its leaves to help kill microbes and stop their growth, and to protect yourself from various infections and diseases.

Due to high amounts of the flavonoid known as apigenin, which is lauded for its anticancer properties, eating parsley may help prevent and reduce the risk of skin, breast, prostate, and other cancers. The herb is also considered a powerful anti-inflammatory and detoxifier, which keeps your body and overall system working properly to help you stay as healthy as possible.

Not only does parsley boost your internal health, but it can work in your favor externally as well. Due to its vitamin C and K content, parsley is often used to treat blemishes and acne, as well as promote collagen production and improve the skin’s elasticity. The vitamin A plays a role in protecting the skin from damage caused by free radicals. As an antibacterial and antifungal, parsley may also help to disinfect pores and fight skin ailments. Parsley's flavonoid properties are specifically beneficial for the hair: Parsley oil (when diluted) can be massaged directly into the scalp to help stimulate the growth of the hair. When ingested, the other beneficial vitamins and minerals it contains promote healthy hair and skin from the inside out.

Sometimes simply brushing your teeth just isn't enough. Parsley contains the compound chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green hue and is also the reason the herb works as an antioxidant and a natural deodorizer, which can combat bad breath. Chewing a few fresh parsley leaves can be a safe and natural way to fight halitosis and freshen breath. 

This is one of those secret healthy life hacks you need to know. When crushed, fresh parsley leaves can help heal bruising on the body. Simply spread the crushed leaves over the bruise and wrap it with an elastic bandage so the leaves are pressing against the skin. Thanks to the active anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin K, parsley can ease the pain and swelling and ultimately speed the recovery process of the bruise. Parsley ice works just as well. You can make it at home by mixing a cup of parsley with two tablespoons of water and pouring the mixture into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, apply the cubes to your black eye, bruise, or any other swelling. 

Menstrual cramps and bloating, be gone. Parsley's natural anti-inflammatory properties relieve any swelling or bloating of the body. The compound apiol, also found in parsley, has been known to stimulate the menstrual process, which helps regulate your cycle and keep your period on track. 

Parsley also boosts the productivity of the kidneys and liver functions, which allows the body to eliminate toxins properly and efficiently. With regular elimination, the body is able to make room for more good than bad, and, therefore, function optimally. 

Take advantage of all of the benefits this amazing plant has to offer and shop a few of our favorite parsley-centric picks below.

Will you use parsley to cure any of the above ailments? Let us know in the comments below.

Add a Comment

More Stories
1