Parsley- Petroselinum Sativum - Herb
Blending Note: Middle
Main Benefits: Flavonoid, Vitamin C
Properties: Flavonoid, Antioxidant, Vitamin K Vitamin C, Vitamin A
Other Producers: Italy, Greece, Algeria, Tunisia
Allergy Warning: Excessive consumption of parsley should be avoided by pregnant women.
It is safe in normal food quantities, but large amounts may have uterotonic effects.
The word "parsley" is a merger of the Old English petersilie, which is identical to the contemporary German word for parsley: Petersilie and the Old French peresil both derived from Medieval Latin Petroselinum. Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia, but records show that seeds were imported to Britain from Sardinia in 1548; the plant had already been introduced to northern Europe by the Romans. The Ancient Egyptians used parsley, as did the Greeks, who crowned victorious soldiers with wreaths of it. Hercules did this after killing the Nemean lion, and thereafter victors in the Nemean and Isthmian games would do the same. They believed that parsley had grown from the blood of a hero, Archemorus, and Homer tells of a victory won by charioteers whose horses had renewed vigour after eating parsley. Parsley grew on Circe’s lawn in the Odyssey.
Parsley is grown as a biennial plant, in the first year, it forms botany of tripinnate leaves 10–25 cm long with numerous 1–3 cm leaflets, and a taproot used as a food store over the winter. In the second year, it grows a flowering stem to 75 cm tall with sparser leaves and flat-topped 3–10 cm diameter umbels with numerous 2 mm diameter yellow to yellowish-green flowers. The seed are ovoid, 2–3 mm long, with prominent style remnants at the apexe. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The plant normally dies after seed maturation. Parsley grows best in moist, well-drained soil, with full sun. It grows best between 22–30 °C and usually is grown from seed. Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks. Typically, plants grown for the leaf crop are spaced 10 cm apart, while those grown as a root crop are spaced 20 cm apart to allow for the root development. Parsley attracts several species of wildlife.
Some butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae; their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects also visit the flowers. Birds such as the goldfinch feed on the seeds. Parsley is widely used in European, Middle Eastern and American cooking. Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. In central Europe, Eastern Europe and southern Europe, as well as and in western Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Root parsley is very common in central, eastern and southern European cuisines, where it is used as a snack or a vegetable in many soups, stews, and casseroles. Parsley essential oil is extracted by steam distillation and is a light yellow colour. They use the seed for extraction. The oil’s consistency is thin. The medium to strong strength of the aroma is herbaceous and somewhat woody.
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