Beatrix Potter, in The Tale of Peter Rabbit, says about that naughty rabbit,
First he ate some lettuce and some broad beans, then some radishes, and then, feeling rather sick, he went to look for some parsley.
Guess that naughty rabbit instinctively knew about what is called the carminative action of the world’s favorite herb, parsley. It eases flatulence and the colic pains that may accompany it. So next time you see that garnish on your plate, don’t just think of it as ‘presentation’. Eat it.
In small doses parsley leaves and roots stimulate the appetite, increase stomach secretions, and promote digestion. Parsley’s high chlorophyll content allows it to freshen the breath, which is partly why restaurants include parsley leaves with meals. It is especially good for offsetting garlic odor.
Another reason to have parsley as a regular part of your diet is that parsley’s volatile oils cause it to be a “chemoprotective” food, and in particular, a food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens. One type of carcinogen that parsley neutralizes is benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke. So as you eat that steak you had cooked on the grill and then afterwards sit among your smoking friends (I hope you don’t smoke!), make sure you eat some parsley.
Parsley is also a mild emmenagogue. This means that it is an herb which stimulates menstruation. As a strong tea made from the fresh plant, it works like a charm for starting menstruation when pregnancy is not the cause for delay. Thus parsley should not be used in medicinal dosage during pregnancy as there may be excessive stimulation of the womb.
Parsley is also a diuretic, which helps your body get rid of exess water. So parsley is good for water retention, bloating and high blood pressure. It is said that as a result of this diuretic action in parsley, it helps PMS symptoms.
I could go on and on about the wonderful health benefits of parsley – high in vitamin C and folate, lowers homocysteine and protects against rheumatoid arthritis, for example.
Parsley is widely used as a companion plant in gardens. It attracts predatory insects, including wasps and predatory flies to gardens, which then tend to protect plants nearby. For example, they are especially useful for protecting tomato plants as the wasps that kill tomato hornworms also eat nectar from parsley. While parsley is biennial, not blooming until its second year, even in its first year it is reputed to help cover up the strong scent of the tomato plant, reducing pest attraction.
Want to know more about growing your own parsley? Check this site.
Did I open your eyes, and your mouth, to that garnish on your plate?