As I was growing up, I always saw that small branch of green stuff the restaurants put on the side of my plate when they served it to me. But, I never knew what it was or what I was supposed to do with it. When I got a little older, my mother told me what it was for; freshening my breath. Well, since I have always liked onions, it sounded like a good idea. But, I didn’t think that small piece would make a difference. So, I left it there. You did too. Didn’t you?
Since that time, I have learned a lot about parsley. And, freshening my breath is the last of my thoughts on using parsley. It has many uses; medicinal, nutritional, and it is even a great natural cleanser and deodorizer for cleaning around the house.
Nutritional use is the big focus because of the extremely high content of vitamin A, C, and Chlorophyll. It is also very rich in minerals; iron, potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and sulphur. There are moderate amounts of B complex, and small amounts of selenium, silicon, zinc, as well as other trace minerals.
Historically, the medicinal use has been beneficial for the kidneys and bladder, as a great natural diuretic. It is good for the stomach as it aids in digestion and assimilation of nutrients. It is very good for the gallbladder, liver, and the spleen. In this area, it helps to alleviate obstructions; like gallstones when parsley is used with olive oil. And, it has been known to tone the blood vessels, arteries, and capillaries.
The list of ailments that have been treated with parsley historically: allergies, due to the high mineral content and diuretic properties, arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, blood builder and blood cleanser, great for low blood pressure, bad breath, cancer, coughs, digestion, dropsy, eyes, gallstones, gonorrhea, gout, hay fever, jaundice, kidney inflammation, liver, lumbago, menstruation (promotes), pituitary, prostate, rheumatism, sciatica, thyroid, tumors, urine retention, varicose veins, venereal diseases. As you can see, that list is a lot longer than just freshening the breath. Although, those restaurants that put that parsley at the side of the plate were on to something.
Another feature about parsley is that it is a great spice to add to any cooked recipe or fresh salad. It is potent whether you use it dry or fresh. One of my favorite recipes, with fresh parsley, is to make tabbouleh. And when I make mine, I add the other ingredients to my fresh chopped parsley as it is a green dish in my house; whereas others only use the parsley sparingly. Recently, I also came across a parsley soup recipe which quickly became a regular go to meal. For cleaning, parsley is great for freshening up the house and it is good natural alternative to clean surfaces and windows.
Last, but not least, I need to mention that parsley is a great, biennial herb to grow. Not only is it pretty, it also is a favorite to the ‘parsley butterfly’. Papilio polyxenes, the (eastern) black swallowtail, American swallowtail or parsnip swallowtail, is a beautiful black and blue butterfly found throughout much of North America. It is known as the parsley worm when it is a brilliant green caterpillar because it feeds on parsley to grow. I always grow extra parsley plants for this lovely creature. And they always make sure to leave some parsley for me too. It amazes me how they find the parsley plants as I have moved them around the yard several times. As you can see, parsley is one of my favorites in many different ways. I hope it will become one of your favorites too.