What is Parsley Extract?
Parsley is a plant native to the Mediterranean area, but it’s cultivated all over the world. It’s used as an herb, a spice and a vegetable. It’s great for your garden because it attracts butterflies and birds. Although most Americans are accustomed to leafy parsley, root parsley is used in central and Eastern European cooking as well.
It’s rich in folic acid and vitamins K, C and A. In addition, parsley benefits include antioxidants such as beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. The plant contains iron and a flavonoid called apigenin. It’s rich in zinc, niacin, folate, magnesium and calcium. In addition, it contains an oil called eugenol that may help joint disease.
Due to the myriad of vitamins and minerals found in the plant, there are many different uses and advantages to adding a parsley supplement to your diet.
Parsley is famous for its diuretic abilities. It reduces bloating and helps remove water weight. It also helps the body expel gas. Enzymes in parsley help the body to break down food.
Chemicals in parsley cause muscle contractions in the intestines, uterus and bladder. It’s used to treat urinary tract infections (UTI) and bladder and kidney stones (x).
Elevated levels of uric acid, which is basically a waste byproduct, in the blood can damage your body, resulting in gout and other diseases. Too much uric acid is a factor known to contribute to an increased risk of cancer (x). It is known to suppress a liver enzyme that’s used in the production of uric acid (x).
Supports Healthy Eyes and Skin
The vitamin A present in parsley powder is key for eye health. Adequate levels of vitamin A are necessary to prevent night blindness, cataracts and dry eyes. The herb can even help slow down age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (x).
Parsley can also promote skin health. Both the zinc and vitamin C found in parsley extract support the production of collagen. Collagen is vital to support healthy and glowing skin as it ages. In particular, vitamin K is great for the skin because it helps blood vessels stay elastic (x), assisting in the treatment for rosacea and stretch marks. In addition, it can help to treat varicose veins (x).
Anti-Inflammation and the Immune System
Parsley supplements are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help prevent or reduce inflammation.
Our bodies’ immune systems are activated in the presence of inflammatory conditions, and if the conditions persist, inflammation can be a factor in developing diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Anti-inflammatory compounds are important to help reduce inflammation and the resulting risk of disease.
One of the main parsley benefits is that it is a plentiful source of anti-inflammatories. The oil within it known as eugenol has been shown to suppress arthritis in rats (x) and can reduce the risk for type-2 diabetes (x).
Another parsley benefit is that it contains calcium. Calcium is a key component for healthy bones. Human hearts, nerves and muscles also require calcium to function at their best.
Parsley contains ample vitamin K, which is necessary for making protein for blood clotting and your bones. Without enough vitamin K in your body, you’re at higher risk of fractures. Vitamin K also lowers the risk of osteoporosis in women after menopause.
A healthy heart needs zinc. The Journal of Nutrition shows that Zinc helps reduce stress on the heart from oxidants (x). Moreover, potassium is another mineral that helps keep hearts healthy (and build and maintain muscle). It’s necessary for nerves to function correctly. Luckily, both potassium and zinc are present in parsley.
Supplements such as parsley extract that are rich in carotenoids (e.g., lycopene) help boost the anti-oxidant properties of the “good” cholesterol HDL. This can also help support heart health.
The vitamins found in parsley play extensive roles within the body to help the brain stay healthy and function properly.
High homocysteine levels are linked to oxidative stress and has been associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is often made worse from oxidative stress so ensuring that you’re ingesting plenty of anti-oxidants is important to help keep your brain healthy (x).
Lutein and zeaxanthin also pair up to improve brain function when it comes to processing speeds visually (x). Additionally, vitamin K helps support cognitive functioning in older adults (x).
Anti-Cancer Benefits of Parsley
Parsley is thought to have anti-cancer benefits as it contains plenty of apigenin. This particular flavonoid is known to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits (x).
Supplementing with lycopene has been shown to reduce tumor growth and reduce the risk of developing some types of cancer (x). The antioxidant also lowers the risk of prostate cancer in young men (x). Lycopene-rich foods such as parsley can reduce the risk of prostate cancer for men as well (x).
Parsley Extract Side Effects
Some people experience allergic skin reactions with parsley. It’s closely related to carrots, celery and fennel, so anyone allergic to these vegetables shouldn’t take parsley extract or eat the plant.
Kidney and Liver Complications
Large amounts of parsley supplements or parsley itself may lead to anemia and other liver or kidney problems. Anyone with kidney disease should avoid it in any form, since it may make the disease worse.
It’s a diuretic, so those on medication for high blood pressure should probably avoid it. As parsley increases blood clotting when taken in large amounts, it may affect those taking the blood thinner warfarin, making the medication less effective.
Patients taking lithium may find they don’t react well when the medicine is combined with parsley.
Parsley Extract Dosage
It’s best to take parsley extract powder with meals. The usual dosage is 2,500 mg, just about one teaspoon.
Be sure to talk to a medical professional before adding any supplement to your regimen, especially if you are taking other medication or have existing conditions.
The Bottom Line
Parsley is an herb with many vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and other compounds that support optimal health. It has several different kinds of anti-cancer properties, relating to how the various substances react in the body and protect it.
The level of vitamin C found in parsley is one of the key parsley benefits. Vitamin C is necessary for all of the body’s tissues. It assists in wound healing and also strengthens the immune system.
Taking parsley as a supplement allows you to get all of these benefits while you’re out living life, too busy to have a sit-down meal.