Parsley is native to the Mediterranean region of Southern Europe. While it has been cultivated for more than 2,000 years, parsley was used medicinally prior to being consumed as a food. The ancient Greeks held parsley to be sacred, using it to not only adorn victors of athletic contests, but also for decorating the tombs of the deceased.
The practice of using parsley as a garnish actually has a long history that can be traced back to the civilization of the ancient Romans. The delicious and vibrant taste and wonderful healing properties of parsley are often ignored in its popular role as a table garnish.
A sprig of parsley can provide much more than a decoration on your plate. Parsley contains two types of unusual components that provide unique health benefits. The first type is volatile oil components—including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. The second type is flavonoids including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin.
Anti-Diabetic Properties – Controls Rheumatoid Arthritis – Anti-Carcinogenic Properties – Anti-Inflammatory Properties – Diuretic effects
Parsley is one of less calorific herb. 100 g of fresh leaves carry just 36 calories. Additionally, its leaves carry zero cholesterol and fat, but rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Altogether, the herb helps in controlling blood cholesterol, and may 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 antiseptic agent for teeth and gum diseases. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels among diabetics; however, further detailed studies required to establish its role.
Strengthens the Immune System
Parsley is rich in polyphenolic 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 antioxidant 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 pressing effects of sodium. Iron is essential for the production of heme, which is an important oxygen-carrying component inside the red blood cells. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.