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Now grown all over the world, parsley originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. For more than 2000 years, it has been known as a medicinal herb. The ancient Greeks valued the seeds and roots of the plant for their soothing, diuretic effect on those with kidney and bladder ailments. Today, parsley is still used primarily as a diuretic. In addition, it strengthens the digestive system and helps alleviate stomach and liver problems. In folk medicine, parsley is recommended for women who have irregular menstrual periods. As a diuretic, it may also ease the bloating that some women experience before their periods. In addition, parsley leaves are a good source of many vitamins and minerals-including iron, which is important for the proper formation of red blood cells, potassium and vitamin C.

A parsley tonic to aid circulation

Medieval german herbalist Saint Hildegard of Bingen prescribed parsley wine to improve blood circulation. It was believed to help heart conditions. To make parsley wine combine 10-12 large sprigs of parsley with 1 quart of red or white wine vinegar. Boil for 10 min., then add 9 oz. of honey. Strain the mixture and pour into bottles. Take 1 tbsp. three times a day.

Therapeutic effect
Parsley is a diuretic that purifies blood and accelerates the excretion of toxins. It stimulates appetite and aids digestion and metabolism. The herb can also ease bloating, stomach cramps, and nausea, as well as relieve arthritis symptoms. Eaten regularly , it reduces heart and lowers blood pressure. To keep your breath fresh, chew on fresh parsley leaves. And for treatment of kidney stones, brew up some parsley tea.

This herb supplies important vitamins and minerals. For instance, just ½ cup of fresh parsley provides a third of your daily vitamin C requirement. Its high vitamin C and A content also help fight cancer. Parsley actually ranks higher than most vegetables in histidine, an amino acid that inhibits tumors. In addition parsley is an excellent source of potassium which is important in lowering blood pressure and folic acid which may help prevent cardiovascular disease. Finally it contains some calcium, manganese and iron.

Extra Tip : Parsley contains essential oils; the most important one apiole, is a kidney stimulant. Because these essential oils can stimulate uterine contractions, pregnant women should avoid eating large quantities of it. But, after the baby is born, parsley can help tone the uterus and promote lactation.

Parsley Spread

  • 2 bunches parsley
  • 2 shallots
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt
  • White pepper
  • 2 scallions
  • 4 large tomatoes
  • Cayenne pepper
  1. Wash the parsley in cold water and strip the leaves from the stalks. Coarsley chop the parsley, then peel and dice the shallots.
  2. Mix together the heavy cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, parsley and diced shallots. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  3. Peel the scallions, cut into thin rings. Dice 2 tomatoes, season with salt and cayenne pepper to taste; mix with the scallions
  4. Cut the remaining 2 tomatoes into ½ " slices. Cover them with the parsley spread and top with the tomato scallion mixture.

Parsley for Osteoporosis

To fight against osteoporosis, sometimes high doses of calcium are taken in supplement form. However, this can impair the body's absorption of manganese, which helps build bone. But parsley enhances manganese absorption, particularly when it is eaten with foods containing copper and zinc, such as shellfish and whole grains.

Kitchen Hints

  • Don't Cook parsley, because heat destroys its valueable vitamins and minerals. To retain parsley's flavour, chop the herb just before using and add it to hot foods at the last minute.
  • Avoid dried parsley, it is far less tasty and healthful than the fresh herb.
  • Try the flat leaf variety, also called Italian parsley. It has more nutrients and a better flavour than curly parsley. Chop the herb just before using, sprinkle the pieces over the dish.
  • Add parsley to complement a dish, such as potatoes, smoked salmon, trout, poultry, pasta and vegetables
  • Freeze fresh parsley to save preparation time in the kitchen. Wash, dry and chop the parsley leaves, then freeze them in a plastic container or zip-seal plastic bag. You can then remove just the amount you need for each recipe.
  • Keep parsley fresh by sprinkling it with water, wrapping it in paper towels and refrigerating it in a plastic bag. Or place parsley stems in a glass of water (like a bunch of flowers) and refrigerate.