Parsley is a popular culinary and medicinal herb, which is recognized as one of the functional food for its unique antioxidants, and disease preventing properties.
This wonderful, fragrant rich biennial herb is native to the Mediterranean region belonging in the Apiaceae family, in the genus; Petroselinum. Its botanical name is Petroselinum crispum, according to whfoods.com.
The herb is a small plant featuring dark-green leaves that resemble coriander leaves, especially in the flat-leaf variety. However, it is milder in flavor than that of leaf-coriander. The herb is widely used in Mediterranean, East European, and American cuisine, according to whfoods.com.
Parsley is an excellent of vitamin K and vitamin C as well as a good source of vitamin A, folate, and iron. Parsley's volatile oil components include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. Its flavonoids include apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.
Parsley is one of less calorific herb. 100 g of fresh leaves carry only 36 calories. Additionally, its leaves contains zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Altogether, the herb helps control blood-cholesterol, offer protection from free radical mediated injury and cancers.
Parsley contains health benefiting essential volatile oils that include myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene.
The essential oil, Eugenol, present in this herb has been in therapeutic application in dentistry as a local anesthetic and anti-septic agent for teeth and gum diseases.
Parsley is rich in poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidants, including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin;and has been rated as one of the plant sources with quality antioxidant activities. Total ORAC value, which measures the anti-oxidant strength of 100 g of fresh, raw parsley, is 1301 µmol TE (Trolex equivalents).
The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily-required levels of potassium. Potassium is the chief component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure by countering the effects of sodium.
Additionally, the herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, beta-carotene,vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zea-xanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates. Zea-xanthin helps prevent age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) in the retina of the eye in the old age population through its anti-oxidant and ultra-violet light filtering functions.
Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1).
It is, perhaps, the richest herbal source for vitamin K; provide 1640 µg or 1366% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin K has been found to have the potential role in bone health by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It has also established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Potential health risks of consuming parsley
If you are taking blood-thinners such as Coumadin (warfarin) it is important that you do not suddenly begin to eat more or fewer foods containing vitamin K, which plays a large role in blood clotting.
It is the total diet or overall eating pattern that is most important in disease prevention and achieving good health. It is better to eat a diet with a variety than to concentrate on individual foods as the key to good health.