This herb is so much more than a pretty garnish—it’s packed with medicinal benefits and definitely deserves more consideration than beautifying your plate. Let’s dive in!
The Curated Kitchen:
WHAT IS IT? //
Parsley is an herb that belongs to the Umbelliferae family, which is same family as carrots (holla!) and celery.
There are two common types—flat-leaf or Italian parsley and curled-leaf parsley. If you’ve ever thought you were buying parsley and got home only to realize you accidentally bought cilantro, you weren’t that far off. Cilantro is actually called Chinese parsley, as it shares the same species as the other two types.
Though it’s most often used as a garnish due to its hardy and vibrant green leaves, it can do SO much more for your health and wellness…
WHY YOU NEED ‘IT //
It’s loaded with chlorophyll, which helps restore and repair red blood cells and when blood flow is increased the body is better equipped to detox itself. Specifically, chlorophyll helps to bind heavy metals in the body and remove drug deposits.
It also contains antioxidants and flavonoids.
When consumed orally, parsley is known as a digestive aid and appetite stimulant. It helps the body eliminate toxins through both increasing the efficiency of the bowels and/or as a diuretic. It also promotes a healthy menstrual cycle and flow.
Other medicinal benefits include treating urinary tract infections, indigestion/ gas, jaundice, edema (water retention), colic, diabetes, spleen conditions, and kidney stones.
Chewing on raw sprigs of parsley is a great natural breath freshener, too.
Beyond it’s edible uses, you can apply parsley topically to treat insect bites, stimulate hair growth, reduce bruising and swelling, or cracked and dry lips. These uses are attributed to parsley’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
VITAMINS + MINERALS OF NOTE
Parsley is a good source of vitamin K, B12, Superior source or vitamin A and three times as much vitamin C as oranges. It also contains twice as much iron as spinach (!), which is essential in producing the component of red blood cells that delivers oxygen to our cells.
It also contains copper (a key mineral for numerous metabolic pathways) and manganese (essential for antioxidant protection).
WAYS TO USE ‘IT //
Obviously you can place a few sprigs on top of a platter of food or an individual plate to add a bit of green to an otherwise bland looking dish like a curry or stew, but I encourage you to think beyond the garnish!
Steamed. Add a little H2O to a pan and cook greens until wilted. Drain any excess water and enjoy however you like!
Sautéed with garlic and lemon. Add parsley to a sauté pan with other greens (like Swiss chard!).
Smoothies + Smoothie Bowls + Green Juice. It’s often added to juices for its detoxifying properties so feel free to toss in a few bunches when making a green smoothie.
Salads + Grain Bowls. Add it to your salads and roasted vegetable or grain bowls for a nutrient-packed meal.
Soup + Broths + Stews. Use it to season soups (it would be great mixed in with my alkalizing green soup), stocks, and stews.
Tea. Infuse boiling filtered water with dried parsley for a refreshing cup of tea that will help flush toxins from the body, tone the digestion, and support liver and kidney function. You can also use 1-2 teaspoons of dried parsley seed per cup.
Pesto. Blend with your nut of choice, olive oil, garlic, and season with salt and pepper for a unique and bright spin on pesto (here’s my favorite recipe for dairy-free pesto with spaghetti squash and shrimp!).
Casseroles + Frittatas. Add the herb to baked dishes to add a fresh flavor.
Ointments + Salves + Lip Balm. Use a mortar and pestle to grind it into a paste and use it as natural remedy for treating cracked, dry lips and other topical conditions as previously discussed.
SHOP SMART //
There are two common varieties of parsley—Italian or flat leaf parsley and curly. Either one is great and will offer the same health and medicinal benefits.
As with all leafy greens, if you can find and afford organic you should purchase it since greens treated with pesticides can be especially harmful.
After purchase, lightly rinse it and wrap with a damp paper towel and store in the refrigerator. You can also keep it in a mason jar filled with cool water near a filtered light source like a window or windowsill with shades.
TIPS + ADVICE + SAFETY //
In small amounts, parsley is totally fine, but don’t overdo it as too much can be harmful. A few handfuls to a recipe, salad, or dish are ideal.
Pregnant women should not consume parsley due to it’s uterus-stimulating effects.
YOUR THOUGHTS >>>
Have you ever used parsley beyond a garnish? What fresh herbs do you always keep in stock?
Until next time!