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The Health Benefits of Parsley

written by: Jennifer Gonzalez • edited by: Tania Cowling • updated: 7/12/2011

The old saying of "big things come in small packages" proves to be true when talking about parsley. This little green herb is full of vitamins and minerals, and is packed with benefits that will have a positive impact on your health for years to come.

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    Parsley, Not Just for Cooking

    parsley Parsley, an herb that is often thought of as nothing more than a common side garnish, used to add beauty to dinner entrees, is actually so much more. Many of the herbs and spices that we have in our homes, and use in our day-to-day cooking were first used in ancient colonies for medicinal, preventative, and healing purposes. While there are different variations of parsley, flat leaf (also known as Italian parsley) and curly, they provide the same benefits to your health, while one has a more pungent flavor than the other does.

    Parsley health benefits are plentiful, and have a various range of health issues that it can tackle. It is important to talk with your doctor before beginning any at home health remedy to be sure that what you are doing is safe for you. Women should not consume parsley while pregnant, as it can have unwanted and potentially dangerous effects on the unborn fetus.

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    Keeping a Healthy Bladder

    Eating raw parsley or drinking it in the form of a homemade tea will help to maintain the health of your urinary tract, and keep it functioning properly. Parsley, specifically the roots, can help with the inflammation and blockage that is known to occur with different types of bladder, kidney, and other urinary infections. Parsley root helps to release urine, and also helps to treat blocked stones that can occur during an infection.

    If you are experiencing an infection that has lasted longer than a week, and is not responding to home treatments, you should contact your doctor right away as you could have something that requires treatment with antibiotics.

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    Natural Pain Reliever

    The seeds and roots in parsley produce a natural pain reliever. People who suffer from arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other pain causing conditions benefit from sipping tea made from parsley. The parsley helps to relax their sore joints and temporarily relieves their pain. Parsley also helps with the cramping and other pain caused during a women’s menstrual cycle, and can help to regulate an irregular monthly period.

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    Cardiovascular Health

    Homocysteine is a type of amino acid that is naturally found in the body. When the levels become too high, it puts the body’s blood vessels at risk. The folic acid that is found parsley helps to counteract this process and keep the levels safe and manageable in the body. Eating parsley regularly will also help to prevent heart attack, stroke, and other types of cardiovascular diseases. Eating raw parsley also helps to keep the blood clean and maintain the elasticity of the blood vessels.

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    Nutritional Benefits

    Parsley is full of vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in antioxidants that help to fight off various diseases. Parsley is also full of flavonoids, which has been shown to prevent damage to the cells in our bodies. This herb is a major source of our recommended daily intake of vitamin C, which is also necessary to prevent illness. People who consume regular amounts of vitamin C, such as that found in parsley, has a lesser risk of developing colon cancer, diabetes, and asthma to name just a few.

    Other necessary vitamins and minerals found in parsley are:

    • Folic Acid- needed for cell growth and blood production. Protection against heart disease, depression, various forms of cancer, and reduces memory loss.
    • Zinc- helps in the healing of wounds, supports normal growth and development, especially during pregnancy and childhood. Zinc can maintain healthy skin, and a functioning immune system. It is also used in the proper function of taste and smell.
    • Potassium- needed for the proper function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. Potassium is also important to bone and heart health.
    • Magnesium- works in metabolism. Magnesium is also important for bone, nerve, and muscle health.
    • Thiamine- works in the health of the body's nervous system.
    • Niacin- helps to maintain energy and digestion in the body.
    • Vitamin B6- helps in brain function and metabolism. Also assists in one's mood.
    • Vitamin C- protects against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and skin health.
    • Vitamin K- helps with blood clotting, bone health, artery health, and may help prevent liver and prostate cancer.
    • Calcium- is vital to maintain healthy bones.
    • Iron- helps to keep blood cells healthy, while preventing anemia, and other blood disorders.

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    Side Effects of Parsley

    When using anything as a form of medical treatment, natural or artificial, there are side effects involved. Parsley is safe for most when taken on a short-term basis. For some, allergic skin reactions have occurred, and when applied to the skin in the form of oil, sensitivity to the sun has developed. Women who are pregnant should not take parsley unless under the monitored care of a doctor, as high amounts of parsley have been known to cause abortion. Parsley and its health benefits are plenty, but always consult a physician before beginning a new treatment.

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    References

    The Worlds Healthiest Foods; http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=100

    Health Benefits of Parsley; http://www.greenmuze.com/blogs/natural-notes/1098-health-benefits-of-parsley.html

    Parsley Health Benefits; http://www.elements4health.com/parsley-health-benefits.html

    WebMD: Parsley Side Effects; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-792-PARSLEY.aspx?activeIngredientId=792&activeIngredientName=PARSLEY

    Image:Parsley by Fairy Tale Lights under CC BY 2.0

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