– shared from Veraveg.org
Now that you’re all charmed by the benefits of curly parsley from last week’s post, I thought it would be nice to freshen your Friday with the story of its uncurly kin, flat-leafed Italian parsley!
After reading this article from our friends at Veraveg, I’m going to head in the weekend with the following in mind:
- Avoid the temptation to lie on a bed of parsley.
- Avoid making travel plans with long-germinating parsley seeds.
- That said, I think I’ll get myself some small brown parsley seeds the next time I’m out honky-tonkin’! 😉
If you’re saying to yourself, “That’s gal’s green smoothie isn’t making it to the top of her blender,” then be sure to read for yourself and enjoy some herbal history!
Herbal History of Italian Flat Leafed Parsley
Italian Flat Leafed Parsley (Petroselinum neapolitanum) has been cultivated and developed over so many centuries that its precise origins are difficult to pinpoint. This is compounded by the fact that the parsleys we know today probably bear little resemblance to their ancestors. The botanical name Petroselinum comes from the Greek word for stone, which is petro, given to parsley because it was found growing on rocky hillsides in Greece.
Although the Ancient Greeks did not use parsley in cooking, it was revered as a symbol of oblivion and death and as a funeral herb. According to legend, parsley first germinated in the blood of Archemorus, an ancient character in Greek mythology, where it was spilled when he was eaten by serpents. The Greeks used the herb to fashion wreaths for graves. Conversely, parsley is used in the Hebrew celebration of Passover as a symbol of spring and rebirth.
Popularizing Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Parsley is mentioned as one of the plants in the gardens of Charlemagne and Catherine de Medici. Rumor has it that Medici is responsible for popularizing parsley when she brought it back to France from its native Italy. In medieval times parsley was surrounded by much superstition, one belief being that the long germination period for the seeds was due to them having to travel to hell and back seven times before sprouting.
Parsley has long been popular in European and Mediterranean cuisine. A favorite of King Henry VIII, he relished a parsley sauce on top of his roasted rabbit.
Health Benefits of Italian Flat Leaf Parsley
Parsley root has been used medicinally since ancient times for digestive disorders, bronchitis, and urinary tract problems. As far back as Hippocrates parsley was used in medicinal recipes for cure-alls, general tonics, poison antidotes, anti-rheumetics and formulas to relieve kidney and bladder stones. One herbalist used the small brown seeds of the plant to help “those who are light-headed to resist drink better.”
In Russia, a preparation containing mostly Parsley juice is given during labor to stimulate uterine contractions. The juice has been used to treat toothache, and as a hair rinse or as a facial steam for dry skin. Other uses for parsley root have been to tone the urinary tract reducing the possibility of infections, alleviate painful menstruation, lowering blood pressure and improving asthma, allergies and bronchitis by drying excessive mucous.
Modern science has confirmed many of these claims. Parsley is rich in vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamins A and C, and compounds that clear toxins from the body. It also reduces inflammations, contains histamine inhibitors and is a free radical scavenger. Commercially, oil from the seeds is used to scent Oriental style perfumes and colognes. Because of the high chlorophyll content, it acts as a great breath freshener. Scientists have even isolated a compound, apiol, which is now used in medications to treat kidney ailments and kidney stones.
About the Authors: Many thanks to the Vectis Road Allotments Association, affectionately known as VERA to its members, for sharing their cultivated history of veggies! Situated in the heart of historic East Cowes, the VERA allotments offer fun, friendship, peace, tranquility and, if you’re prepared to make the effort, the opportunity to grow and eat your own, fantastic veg. We look forward to sharing more education with you from them about the leaves we love!
You can get lots of great green smoothie recipes featuring the benefits of Italian flat leaf parsley and many other greens when you sign up for our 21-Day Super Green Smoothie Detox!