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Parsley

  Parsley is a well known herb in the kitchen. Its common names are parsley, Petroselinum Lativum, Persele . Its botanical name is carum petroselinum or Apium petroselinum. Its Arabic name is Bakdonis or Baqdounis. It is considered as a native of eastern Mediterranean countries.

The Romans used Parsley as a garnish and flavoring. They put it on their tables and around their necks in the belief the leaves would absorb fumes.

The Romans enjoyed eating parsley , it appears that the Romans were the first to use it as a food. They consumed parsley in quantity and made garlands for banquet guests to discourage toxicity and to counter strong odors.

 The Greeks were more hesitant to do so, using it more for medicine, and occasionally using it to feed horses and warriors. The Greeks were superstitious about parsley, they considered it an omen of death. Thus they did not eat it very much, they mostly used it as a medicine. The association of parsley with death, and hence, evil, continued into medieval Europe.

It spread to the Americas in the 17th century, where it now grows plentifully. It is the most widely used culinary herb in the United States.

Its use in traditional Greek medicine spread to India where the dried root, essential oil, and fluid extract are used in traditional Indian Ayurvedic medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine celery root is substituted or used interchangeably with parsley root, reported to act as a carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, and expectorant.

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Parsley

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Though the medicinal virtues of Parsley are fully recognized, in former times it was considered a remedy for more disorders than it is now used for. Its imagined quality of destroying poison, was probably attributed to the plant from its remarkable power of overcoming strong scents, even the odour of garlic being rendered almost imperceptible when mingled with that of Parsley.

The plant is said to be fatal to small birds and a deadly poison to parrots, also very injurious to fowls, but hares and rabbits will come from a great distance to seek for it Sheep are also fond of it.

 

The parts used are the leaves, root and sometimes the fruits. Dried leaves have little or no fragrance.

The taste and aroma of Parsley is of a light, fresh scent and flavor. The aromatic oils of Parsley make it an ideal breath freshener. All parts of the plant exhibit the same characteristic aroma; it is strongest in the root.

Parsley is most popular as a garnish and is an excellent breath freshener. It is high in vitamins A and C, and contains iron, iodine, and copper. Today, two different varieties are grown: Root parsley (var. tuberosum) has a tender, edible root (used as aromatic vegetable), whereas leaf parsley is solely cultivated for its leafs, which are chopped and used as a garnish in many European countries; its root is small and tough with a woody texture.

The species name crispus “crispate” evidently was given because of the crispate leave shape. This meaning was a description to“curly parsley”.

Parsley has many varieties. There is the plain parsley and the curled leaf parsley and many others. The principal variety being the common plain-leaved, the curled-leaved, the Hamburg or broad leaved and the celery-leaved. Of these varieties the species name crispus “crispate” evidently was given because of the crispate leave shape. The meaning was a description to“curly parsley”.

Crispum, or curled-leaved is very popular. The Hamburg, or turnip-rooted Parsley, is grown only for the sake of its enlarged fleshy tap-root. Neapolitan, or celery-leaved, parsley is grown for the use of its leafstalks, which are blanched and eaten like those of celery. There are three cultivated varieties, which in part differ by their chemisms. Var. latifolium (broad-leaved) and var. crispum (curly-leaved) are grown for their leaves, and var. tuberosum is grown for its root.

 

Curled –leaf Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) is a widely cultivated herb that is used extensively for garnishing and seasoning foods, and for production of an essential oil.  Fresh parsley is one of the most popular green herbs.  The mature seed is steam distilled to produce parsley seed oil, and parsley herb oil comes from the plant bearing immature seeds.  Parsley herb oil has a flavor more like the fresh leaves and is in greater demand than seed oil, which is often distilled from aged seed. The root may also be harvested for use as a medicinal herb.

The constituents of parsley are many.
 The main constituent is an essential oil.
The essential oils of leaves and root show approximately the same composition. The main components (10–30%) are myristicin, limonene and menthatriene; minor components are mono- and sesquiterpenes. The curly varieties (var. crispum) tend to be richer in myristicin, but contain much less essential oil than var. latifolium.

In contrast, the essential oil from the fruits (3–6%) is either dominated by myristicin (60 to 80%; mostly var. tuberosum and var. crispum) or by apiole (70%; mostly var. latifolium).

Parsley contains the volatile oils myristicin, apiole, beta-bisabolene, flavonoids such as apiin, apigenin, and luteolin, and the furanocoumarins such as psoralen; several vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, B vitamins, C, K, iron, potassium, and calcium.

The root contains essential oil, apiin, bergapten, isoimperatorin, mucilage, sugar.
The seeds are stronger in essential oil with apiol myristicin, pinene, other terpenes, flavone glycoside, apiin, furanocumarin, bergapten, fatty oil and petroselinic acid.
The leaves have similar constituents to seeds, but weaker, vitamin C, iron, other minerals.

 

Uses:

 

The uses of Parsley are rather multiple with many culinary and medicinal benefits.

Medicinal grade material is usually obtained from the plain-leafed rather than the curly-leafed varieties.

Parsley has traditionally been used as a diuretic and digestive aid, for fevers, and of course, its abundance on dinner plates passively suggests its use as a breath freshener, too.

Parsley is used as a diuretic, lithotriptic, carminative, antihelminthic, stimulant, emmenagogue (especially seeds), expectorant, laxative, antispasmodic.

The diuretic effect of parsley is probably due to the actions of its volatile oils myristicin and apiole. Parsley is used as an herb and root in preparations for flushing out the urinary tract and for preventing and treating kidney gravel. Parsley root is indicated for use as a mild diuretic. The internal use of parsley herb is for flatulent dyspepsia, dysuria, and rheumatic conditions.

Parsley also stimulates delayed menstruation and promotes menstrual flow.

Parsley is one of Germany's most important medicinal plants. In Germany, parsley herb and root is taken for systemic irrigation for ailments of the lower urinary tract and as irrigation therapy for the prevention of renal gravel, in aqueous infusion dosage form or other equivalent galenical preparations. The dry extract is also used as a component in tablets

In the United States, the herb or root is often used as a carminative or diuretic component of dietary supplements, in aqueous infusion, juice, or alcoholic tincture dosage forms.

The approved modern therapeutic applications for parsley are supportable based on its history of clinical use in well established systems of traditional medicine, on phytochemical investigations, and pharmacological studies in animals.

Parsley helps with lowering blood pressure,  detoxifying and cleansing the body, acting as a natural antibiotic and  has strong deodorizing properties.

Parsley is used as a herb in the topical treatment for baldness and dandruff and taken systemically is used in detoxifying the body, as a slimming aid, freshening the breath, promoting healthy skin, as a digestive tonic, mild laxative, preventing kidney ailments, treating cellulite and arthritis.

It can be very effective in removing blackheads. The indications of using parsley are in these conditions: edema, fluid retention, frequent urination, enuresis (bed-wetting), kidney stones, rheumatic complaints, menstrual disorders, PMS, indigestion, gas, intestinal worms, swollen glands, gall-stones, sciatica, lumbago.

Parsley tea is used to settle the stomach after a meal. The tea is also used to treat congestion caused by flu and colds, to lessen asthma attacks, for kidney and liver obstructions, and anemia. It is often used to treat urinary infections and fluid retention. Eaten fresh, it is a boost to the body, as it contains many vitamins and minerals necessary for good health. It also freshens the breath after eating fresh garlic and encourages milk production for nursing mothers.

Culinary uses:

 

Parsley is one of nature's most important herbs and need to be taken daily into the diet to help in maintaining a high level of well being. Today, chopped parsley leaves are a popular decoration in Central Europe, mostly for soups and vegetables. It is eaten in stews, salads, soups. Parsley is often used for sauces; the famous German Green Sauce is an example. Chopped parsley and garlic in olive oil make for a wonderful Mediterranean sauce, to be served to broiled fish. The famous French recipe sauce béarnaise also makes use of fresh parsley leaves

As parsley aroma suffers from any prolonged heat treatment, parsley leaves should not be cooked if distinct parley fragrance is desired; quick frying in olive oil, though, is acceptable.
Parsley is a common and popular herb in Western Asia and often appears in Turkish, Lebanese, Syrian or Jordan foods, particularly in cold appetizers like
hummus (flavoured chick pea puree)or baba ganoush (aubergine puree). Another famous example is tabbouleh, often regarded as the national dish of Lebanon: It is a salad made from burghur (or bulgur, parboiled cracked wheat), onion, lemon juice and a selection of vegetables, often cucumber or tomatoes; it owes its fresh flavour to large amounts of chopped fresh parsley and also some mint leaves.

In the Causasian region, parsley is also known and popular; dried parsley appears in the famous spice mixture from Georgia.It is also found, dried of fresh, in the Irani herb blend ghorme.

The root of parsley is eaten as a vegetable or cooked in soup to improve the soup's taste, as it does not diminish in flavour after a long time of cooking. The fruits, though aromatic, have found little application; their use in vegetable stews or lentil dishes may, however, have surprising effects. Since they are an efficient diuretic drug, large amounts of them may be hazardous, especially for people with kidney weakness; the same holds true, but to a lesser extent, for the root, but not for the leaves.

Eating parsley at the end of a meal will aid digestion and counteract gas and overcomes the scent of garlic. Stir Parsley into melted garlic butter for a savory, yet simple, pasta or steamed vegetable topper. Add directly to liquids, cooked foods, melted butter, and salad dressings for a light spicy touch. Crush Parsley in your hand or with a mortar and pestle before adding to food. 

To dry Parsley towards the close of the summer for culinary use, it may be put into the oven on muslin trays, when cooking is finished, this being repeated several times till thoroughly dry and crisp, when the leaves should be rubbed in the hands or through a coarse wire sieve and the powder then stored in tins, so that neither air nor light can reach it, or the good colour will not be preserved. In the trade, there is a special method of drying which preserves the colour.

The oil is extracted from the 'seeds' or rather fruits, when fresh, in which condition they are supplied to manufacturing druggists.

The oil is of a golden yellow color from the above ground steam distillation of the immature plant.

It is mainly used in food flavours,used in gripe waters and also in specialised fragrances.

 

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