Many of us have used parsley to top our favorite pasta dishes or salads without any thought for it’s amazing health benefits. However, it turns out this subtly savory herb with Mediterranean origins is more than just a pretty garnish. It might surprise you that parsley boasts plenty of impressive health benefits—from aiding digestive upset to soothing achy joints.
Here’s how this super herb can benefit your health and overall wellness:
1. Munch parsley to improve digestion
Before you reach for that pastel pink bottle of Pepto Bismol after a particularly rich meal, try chewing on a few parsley leaves. The herb hosts natural digestive properties, which have been linked to treating gas and bloat, soothing colic and constipation, and even calming symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and ulcers. The herb’s digestive prowess lies in the fact that it’s chock full of beneficial enzymes that help naturally break down food during digestion.
2. Soothes joint pain
A large majority of North Americans have achy joints, and as a result they spend a ton of money on over-the-counter pain relievers as a result. Who knew parsley could help relieve joint inflammation? According to research published by the Journal of Natural Remedies, parsley hosts natural anti-inflammatory abilities that were able to diminish painful joint inflammation in lab rats with osteoarthritis in their paws.
3. Parsley fights breast cancer
While breast cancer studies on the herb have been largely conducted on animal (rat) studies, parsley has long been considered a natural cancer fighter due to a particular flavonoid within, known as apigenin, which has been linked to blocking the augmentation and growth of breast cancer cells. However, if parsley isn’t to your liking, you can also find plenty of apigenin in chamomile tear, wheat sprouts, oranges and onions.
4. Regulates blood pressure
If heart disease runs in your family, it’s not a bad idea to begin incorporating more fresh vegetables into your diet. However, certain veggies—including spinach, beets, brussels sprouts, peas, lentils, oranges, and parsley—can be of extra benefit due to the folic acid within.
Studies conducted by Harvard Medical School researchers claim veggies rich in folic acid can support the healthy regulation of blood pressure and new cell growth.
5. Prevent premature balding with parsley
Starting to look a little sparse in the hairline? Or thinning on the top of your head? The American Hair Loss Association estimates over $3 billion dollars worth of spend annually on hair loss products. However, Dr. Mercola claims you can save yourself some money and some hair by drinking parsley juice or by massaging parsley oil directly to the scalp to stop hair loss.
6. Parsley protects kidney function
Research shows parsley is a natural diuretic, which helps eliminate excess fluids from the body. While the kidneys are mainly responsible for the removal of toxins and fluids from the body, they can get a natural boost thanks to parsley, according to research from Livestrong.com. However, the same source also notes that those with existing gallbladder (gallstones) or kidney issues should avoid parsley and it’s diuretic perks.