Health Benefits Of Parsley

  • Maha Ahmed MBBS, Intarnal Medicine and General Surgery, Cairo University, Egypt
  • Rebecca Sweetman BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, Lancaster University, UK


You might know Parsley as the herb you add to dishes to improve colour and flavour, but are you aware of the wide range of health benefits obtained from this superfood?  The Parsley leaf is a popular herb commonly used as an ingredient and as a dietary supplement. Parsley is a member of the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, celery, and fennel. 

Parsley originated from the Mediterranean region, where the herb and essential oil have been used for centuries for culinary, antiseptic and medicinal purposes. There are 4 main types of parsley:

  • Flat leaf parsley, which is grown for its stronger flavour for use in cooking1
  • Curly parsley, most commonly used for beauty, culinary and medicinal purposes.1
  • Japanese parsley, also known as Mitsuba, is very similar but native to Asia instead of the mediterranean1
  • Hamburg root parsley which is mostly used ornamentally because of its overpowering flavour1

In the kitchen, parsley is known for its fresh flavour and bright colours, it is often used as a garnish or ingredient in dishes like soups, stews, salads, and sauces. As a dietary supplement, parsley is commonly consumed in the form of tablets, teas, and extracts. 

It is believed to have numerous health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, as well as the ability to support digestion and promote healthy blood sugar levels. In this article, we will explore the medicinal uses of parsley as well as its potential benefits as a dietary supplement.

Health benefits of parsley

Reduction of inflammation

Parsley possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, parsley contains an abundance of antioxidants including vitamins C, A, and K, which can reduce inflammation.2 Antioxidant properties reduce free radicals caused by cellular oxidation, which causes, among other disorders, premature ageing. Antioxidants also provide beneficial effects to the body by defending it against the harm caused by free radicals.2

Immunity booster

Vitamins C and A are essential for restoring the immune system after illness, vitamin C in particular aids in the formation of white blood cells and can help shield against several chronic illnesses as well as infections. Fortunately, parsley tea has high levels of both vitamin C and A. Parsley can also function as an antioxidant and protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. 

Cancer prevention

Parsley has been proposed to offer breast cancer protection. The herb has been shown to prevent cell mutation, promote the death of dangerous cells, and is sometimes referred to as a "chemoprotective" plant.2 It contains apigenin, a naturally occurring compound that studies have shown holds promise as a natural product useful in breast cancer prevention.3


Parsley contains volatile oils that can stimulate the production of digestive fluids and fibre that can encourage regularity. It is also useful for relief from bloating as it encourages the kidneys to produce more urine by taking extra water from the abdomen, which can relieve discomfort and digestive issues.2 Parsley also includes other substances that may also aid in better digestion. Parsley contains compounds that can help increase urine production, which can help flush out excess fluids and toxins from the body.

Bone health

Parsley contains vitamin K, which is crucial for bone health since it helps control calcium absorption and may lower the incidence of fractures. Strong, healthy bones are formed and maintained with the help of vitamin K. Since vitamin K release is doubled when parsley is heated or boiled, the benefit is maximised in parsley teas.

Diabetes treatment and prevention

Parsely contains a compound called myricetin, which has been studied in the treatment and prevention of diabetes.4 Myricetin can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels.4

Natural breath freshener

Fresh parsley contains high quantities of chlorophyll, which can help reduce odour. Chewing parsley helps freshen your breath because it eliminates the germs in the mouth responsible for bad odour. People have also reported that chewing fresh parsley or taking parsley capsules is an effective way to clear garlic breath.2

Prevention of kidney stones

It has been found that parsley increases the production of urine, and this increased urine volume helps prevent supersaturation of the urine. It also increases the urine pH, preventing the formation of calcium crystals.5 These crystals could form kidney stones in the bladder or urinary tract, leading to blockage and pain.

Skincare and odour prevention

Parsley’s essential oils are thought to effectively remove the fungus and bacteria that cause skin blemishes. Parsley oil obtained from the plant's leaves, roots, and seeds is considered antimicrobial, and it is used in hygiene products like soaps and detergents due to its ability to kill bacteria and odours.

Nutrients in parsley

Numerous vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in parsley have significant positive effects on our health. Parsley has a particularly high vitamin K content. Additionally, parsley is a strong source of vitamin A and flavonoids, which are antioxidants.2 A nutrient-rich herb, parsley offers a range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Here are a few essential vitamins and minerals found in parsley:

  • Vitamin C: Parsley is a great source of vitamin C, giving 130% of the recommended daily requirement in just one cup. An essential antioxidant, vitamin C helps collagen formation and boosts the immune system
  • Vitamin K: Parsley is one of the greatest food sources for vitamin K, giving ten times the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) in just one cup. Vitamin K is essential in maintaining bone health and blood clotting mechanisms
  • Folate: One cup of parsley contains more than 20% of the recommended daily intake for folate. Folate is crucial for cell development and DNA synthesis

Including parsley in the diet

You may already be used to some of the ways to use parsley, but you might be surprised to find there are other ways to enjoy this superfood. Parsley can be used as a finishing touch by sprinkling the freshly cut or dried leaves over foods or adding freshly chopped leaves to soups or salads. Additionally, parsley is a crucial component of many herbal spices, sauces, and foods. Parsley can be eaten raw in both fresh and dried forms; below are several alternative sources of parsley:

  • Parsley tea: Making parsley tea is as simple as boiling some parsley in water and straining the mixture. It can be consumed hot or cold and aids with bloating, digestion and menstruation. Parsley tea can also be utilised to keep the liver healthy, helping keep your liver free of toxins and supporting normal bodily functions
  • Smoothies: Parsley leaves can be incorporated into smoothies to add a dose of nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin K, and potassium
  • Parsley-infused oil: Infusing olive oil with parsley can create a flavorful and nutritious oil that can be used in cooking or as a salad dressing
  • Skincare routine: Parsley can be ground into a paste and used topically to help soothe skin irritation and reduce inflammation. It can also help reduce the appearance of dark spots and brighten the skin.

Fresh parsley can be stored for up to a week; it must be washed, dried, wrapped in a damp paper towel, then put inside a plastic bag and refrigerated.

Overall, parsley is a versatile herb that has several health benefits. Incorporating parsley into your diet and skincare routine can help improve overall health and well-being.

How much is enough?

Although parsley is generally safe to eat and offers several health advantages, some people may have adverse effects, just like with any herb or dietary supplement. The following are some possible adverse effects of parsley:

  • Allergy: Parsley may trigger allergic responses in some people, including skin rashes, itching, swelling, and breathing difficulties
  • Stomach irritation: Consuming too much parsley over a long period might result in uncomfortable stomach symptoms like bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach pain.6
  • Medication: Blood-thinning medications, such as warfarin, may not work as well when parsley is consumed because of its high vitamin K content. A cup of parsley contains 1,640 micrograms of vitamin K, which is more than 50 times the daily intake for children and about 20 times the minimal amount advised for adults.2 Blood thinners are prescribed to minimise clot formation in patients who are at risk of forming harmful blood clots whilst consuming parsley, high in vitamin K, facilitates blood clot formation
  • Kidney damage: Consuming excessive amounts of parsley can result in kidney issues for those who already have kidney disease. Therefore, if you have kidney disease, it is recommended that you avoid consuming excess parsley because chemicals in parsley have the potential to exacerbate kidney diseases.2
  • Photosensitivity: Parsley includes substances that may make people more sensitive to the sun, which could result in sunburn or rash

If you are pregnant, it is safe to eat parsley, including in recipes. However, it should not be consumed in higher doses for therapeutic purposes. This is because there is some evidence that parsley has been used to initiate menstruation and, at high doses, can induce an abortion. Furthermore, some studies indicate that ingesting excessive amounts of parsley along with other herbs during the first three months of pregnancy may raise the chance of birth abnormalities.2

Parsley oil has the potential to burn the skin or trigger an allergic reaction. Therefore, avoid applying it straight to the skin. To avoid these unwanted reactions, combine with a carrier oil like coconut, olive, or almond oil before applying it to the skin.4

It's significant to highlight that most people can safely consume parsley as part of a balanced diet because these negative effects are typically uncommon and only occur at high levels of consumption or when another health condition is present. You should stop using parsley and see your doctor if you suffer any strange symptoms after doing so. Additionally, you should always consult with your healthcare provider before taking supplements if you suffer from any pre-existing medical condition or are using medication.


Although Parsley is frequently used to add vibrant colour to foods, it is more than just a garnish. Parsley is frequently used as a dietary supplement in the form of pills, teas, and extracts. It has a high amount of vitamin K and antioxidants, which are responsible for its nutritional benefits. It is generally safe for consumption but may have some adverse effects when consumed by those with health conditions or at excessively high volumes.


  1. Contributors WE. Health benefits of parsley [Internet]. WebMD. [cited 2023 Apr [7]. Available from:
  2. Ajmera, Puneeta, et al. ‘Parsley-Benefits & Side Effects on Health’. Journal of Sports, vol. 4, no. 1, 2019, pp. 1236–42, available from:
  3. Perrott KM, Wiley CD, Desprez PY, Campisi J. Apigenin suppresses the senescence-associated secretory phenotype and paracrine effects on breast cancer cells. Geroscience. 2017 Apr;39(2):161–73. Available from:
  4. Li Y, Ding Y. Minireview: Therapeutic potential of myricetin in diabetes mellitus. Food Science and Human Wellness [Internet]. 2012 Dec 1 [cited 2023 Apr 10];1(1):19–25. Available from:
  5. Al-Yousofy F, Gumaih H, Ibrahim H, Alasbahy A. Parsley! Mechanism as antiurolithiasis remedy. Am J Clin Exp Urol [Internet]. 2017 Nov 9 [cited 2023 Apr 8];5(3):55–62. Available from:
  6. What are the medicinal properties of parsley and - ProQuest [Internet]. [cited 2023 Apr 10]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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