Once you see these flowers, your plant is all done giving you fresh herb for the year.
It’s often right there on your plate.
You probably even toss it away without eating it…
But you shouldn’t.
You shouldn’t because this little herb is a powerhouse with important benefits.
It didn’t always go so unnoticed. Greeks revered it so much they used it to crown winners at competitions and to decorate tombs of the people they honored the most.
In fact, Hippocrates, the father of Western medicine, used it for many remedies. And Emperor Charlemagne helped popularize the herb in Europe by growing it in his gardens.
But what they didn’t know is that the oil from the leaves has a potent cancer fighter called myristicin. I’ll tell you more about that in a moment.
Big Things in a Little Package
Just a couple of sprigs have three times as much vitamin C as oranges, twice as much iron as spinach, and high levels of vitamin K, vitamin A and folate.
Even better, you can use it to lower your blood pressure. One class of drug they use to lower blood pressure is a group of synthetic diuretics. That means the drug works by making you urinate more, and increasing the amount of sodium in your urine. This herb also acts as a diuretic to lower blood pressure, but it’s completely natural with none of the side effects.
One study called it one of the “most promising” natural diuretics.1 And a report by the European Food Safety Authority recommended the herb and its root for diuretic purposes.
It’s also a natural substitute for another class of high blood pressure drugs called antiplatelet drugs. These drugs use chemicals to keep the platelets in your blood from clogging and clotting. But in an animal study, extracts of the herb were able to stop clots from forming and make blood platelets act normally again.2
It also lowers blood sugar levels. Animals given an extract dropped weight and had lower blood sugar than the ones that didn’t get the herbal extract.3
The leaves also kill cancer cells.
In China, they closely study herbs and plants to try and find out if they can prevent and treat cancer, and which cancers the herbs and plants are effective against. When they did a study on the oil from the herb’s leaves as a cancer treatment, they discovered the oil contained a never before seen component now called myristicin.4
Eradicates Lung Tumors
When they tested myristicin on cancer cells, they found it reduced tumor formation by 65%. And it especially prevented tumors in the lungs, one of the most deadly cancers we know of.
Myristicin also powers up your body’s internal antioxidant system. It activates glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach one of your body’s most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, to carcinogens.
These active cancer-causing agents are then turned into less toxic byproducts that you then eliminate through your bodily waste so they don’t do damage inside your body.5
That’s why the herb’s volatile oil is known as a “chemoprotective” food, or a food that protects against cancer. It particularly helps neutralize carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) like the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke that can contribute to lung cancers.
This incredible little herb also protects your brain. That’s because it’s one of the most bio-available sources of the flavonoid apigenin.6
The American Cancer Society sponsored a study that showed apigenin was able to kill deadly glial brain cancer cells while at the same time protecting healthy cells.7
And in another study, apigenin not only protected animals against symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but those given apigenin had:
- improved learning and memory capabilities,
- maintained the integrity of their brain cells,
- had better brain blood flow,
- reduced free radical damage, and
- improved brain chemical transmission.8
Stronger Bones, Better Vision
All these benefits from eating a little, green herb you probably usually ignore and then throw out?
What herb could be so small but so powerful?
Vitamins in One Ounce of Parsley
Just the vitamin K alone – over 150% of the recommended daily allowance – would make it worth eating. That’s because the form of vitamin K in parsley, vitamin K1, is what helps keep your blood pressure low and can prevent liver cancer, and kill off leukemia, pancreatic and ovarian cancer cells9,10 by programming them to “self destruct.”
Parsley also has lots of the minerals potassium and calcium which, along with vitamin K, keep your bones healthy and strong, and the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help improve your eyesight.
I recommend you eat two tablespoons full of fresh parsley every day to get all its health benefits. Dried parsley doesn’t have a long shelf-life, and it won’t stay pungent for more than a few months.
Did I ever tell you how I have fresh parsley for months at my house?
I planted it, then I ignored it.
Oh, I tried growing it in my garden, but it was impossible. Parsley’s fickle. The first two years I got these skinny little yellow leaves. I thought I had done everything right, with the right soil and the right amount of water…
The third year it bloomed up, flowered and that was the end of it in just a few weeks.
After that I just stuck it in a pot and left it there. Wouldn’t you know it, that was when I got a huge, bushy parsley plant. So that’s what I do now. I plant a little in a pot and then forget it. Works every time.
Pick a few leaves and chew them and you’ll be using one of the world’s most effective breath fresheners.
The fresh leaves are also great for adding to salad dressing or soup stock. Sometimes I mix it in and add it to meatballs or use it in dry rubs for barbeque.
When the plant starts to flower, it’s mature and that means it’s done giving you fresh parsley for that season. So what I do is dry the leaves that are left.
To dry them, spread them out on a baking sheet and set the oven temperature to 100°C, and then turn off the heat. Within 20 minutes most of the leaves will be completely dry, but still a deep green. After about 45 minutes, you’ll have parsley that’s ready for crushing and crumbling which and should last you a couple of months.
1. Wright C, Van-Buren L, Kroner C, Koning M. “Herbal medicines as diuretics: a review of the scientific evidence.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Oct 8;114(1):1-31.
2. Gadi D, Bnouham M, Aziz M, Ziyyat A, Legssyer A, Legrand C, Lafeve F, Mekhfi H. “Parsley extract inhibits in vitro and ex vivo platelet aggregation and prolongs bleeding time in rats.” J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Aug 17;125(1):170-4.
3. Yanardağ R, Bolkent S, Tabakoğlu-Oğuz A, Ozsoy-Saçan O. “Effects of Petroselinum crispum extract on pancreatic B cells and blood glucose of streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.” Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 Aug;26(8):1206-10.
4. Zheng G, Kenney P, Zhang J, Lam L. “Inhibition of benzo[a]pyrene-induced tumorigenesis by myristicin, a volatile aroma constituent of parsley leaf oil.” Carcinogenesis. 1992 Oct;13(10):1921-3.
5. Zheng G, Kenney P, Lam L. “Myristicin: a potential cancer chemopreventive agent from parsley leaf oil.” J. Agric. Food Chem., 1992, 40 (1), pp 107–110.
6. Meyer H, Bolarinwa A, Wolfram G, Linseisen J. “Bioavailability of apigenin from apiin-rich parsley in humans.” Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(3):167-72.
7. Das A, Banik NL, Ray SK. “Flavonoids activated caspases for apoptosis in human glioblastoma T98G and U87MG cells but not in human normal astrocytes.” Cancer. 2010 Jan 1;116(1):164-76.
8. Liu R, Zhang T, Yang H, Lan X, Ying J, Du G. “The flavonoid apigenin protects brain neurovascular coupling against amyloid-β-induced toxicity in mice.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2011;24(1):85-100.
9. Shibayama-Imazu T, Sakairi S, Watanabe A, Aiuchi T, Nakajo S, Nakaya K. “Vitamin K(2) selectively induced apoptosis in ovarian TYK-nu and pancreatic MIA PaCa-2 cells out of eight solid tumor cell lines through a mechanism different geranylgeraniol.” J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2003 Jan;129(1):1-11.
10.Miyazawa K, Yaguchi M, Funato K, et al. “Apoptosis/differentiation-inducing effects of vitamin K2 on HL-60 cells: dichotomous nature of vitamin K2 in leukemia cells.” Leukemia. 2001 Jul;15(7):1111-7.