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Home > Types of Spices > Leaves > Parsley
ParsleyBotanical name:Petroselinum crispum (P.Miller).
Family name:Umbelliferae.

Indian names are as follows:
Kannada:Achu mooda

This spice is also not traditionally popular in India but gaining popularity only recently in urban areas due to global influence.

It is a hardy, aromatic biennial umbelliferous herb, sometimes lasting up to four years, producing a rosette of finely divided radical leaves in the first year and a flowering stalk, up to 100 cm high in the second. It has rich green compound leaves 2 or 3 pinnate. Flowers yellow or yellowish green in compound umbels; fruits (commonly known as seeds) 2 to 3 mm long, crescent shaped, conspicuously ridged, consisting of two mericarps. Leaves and seeds are used as spice. The color of the dried herb is green. Its aroma is pleasant, characteristic, fragrant and spicy. Dried herb is available as whole, rubbed or ground form.

There are two main types of horticultural parsleys: those cultivated for the leaves (var. crispum) and those grown for their turnip-like roots (var. radicosum Danert). Only the former type of parsley is cultivated in India. In the latter case, roots are cut after the fruits are harvested. The roots are sliced longitudinally to facilitate drying. The seeds are used for the extraction of parsley oil of commerce. Of course, the aroma of the seeds is less than that of leaves. Two to five cuttings of leaves are possible for each planting before flowering. Within the leafy varieties, parsley has been developed into three types of foliage, viz. plain foliage, the double curled leaf, and the moss curled or triple curled leaf. The fleshy rooted parsley has plain celery like leaves.

Parsley is a cool weather crop, growing best in a rich moist soil, amenable to deep cultivation. In this country, the herb grows better at higher altitude. It is grown occasionally in gardens. Sowing is done in March-May on the hills and August to November in the plains.

Analysis of the green leaves gave the following values:
Total ash:3.2%
Calcium:390 mg/100 gram
Phosphorus:200 mg/100 gram
Iron:17.9 mg/100 gram
Vitamin A (carotene):3200 I.U/100 gram
Thiamine:0.04 mg/100 gram
Nicotinic acid:0.5 mg/100 gram
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid):281 mg/100 gram.
Riboflavin and biotin are also present.

The leaves, stems and fruits contain a glucoside apiin, which on hydrolysis yields apigenin, glucose and a sugar; apiose: a second glucoside, consisting of luteolin, glucose and apiose has also been reported.

All parts of the plant contain an essential oil, Oil of Parsley, which is responsible for the characteristic aroma and flavor of parsley. The oil is recovered by steam distillation and is used mainly for flavoring food products. Commercial parsley oil is distilled either from the aerial parts of the herb bearing immature fruits (herb oil, yield about 0.25%) or from the mature fruits (fruit oil, yield up to 7%). The herb oil possesses a superior aroma and is more esteemed than the fruit oil. There is considerable difference in the physico-chemical characteristics of the herb and the seed oil.

The fruit oil contains apiol (parsley camphor) and alpha-pinene, with small amounts of myristin, aldehydes, ketones and phenols. The herb oil reported to contain apiol but no detailed investigation appears to have been undertaken.

The fruit yield about 20% of greenish fatty oil with a peculiar odor and disagreeable sharp flavor. The oil has a high content of Petroselinic acid (up to 76%). It can be tried for a variety of industrial purposes, such as making of plastics, synthetic rubber, lubricating oil additives and protective coatings. It may be tried as a raw material for manufacture of soap. The oil cake can be used for manufacture of industrial adhesives.

Fresh leaves are eaten fresh, incorporated in salads, and used as an ingredient of sauces, stews and soups. They are also used in meat and poultry seasonings. Fresh leaves mask even strong culinary odors and are commonly used for garnishing and seasoning. The leaves are also employed to make a sort of tea, which is considered to possess anti-scorbutic properties since it is very rich source of vitamin C.

The roots are used as vegetable in soups. The dried leaves and roots are used in condiments, but some scholars have contradicted the use of fruits for this purpose.

The herb is reported to possess diuretic, carminative, ecbolic, emmenagogue and antipyretic properties, and has long been used for uterine troubles. The juice of fresh leaves is used as an insecticide. Parsley causes skin irritations in some people, and this is attributed to the presence of a furocoumarins, bergapten. Bruised leaves are applied to bites and stings of insects, and mericarps are used to get rid of lice and skin parasites.


  • The leaves impart piny pungent and lingering aroma.

  • It adds flavour to most unusual foods as well as every day dishes of meat, eggs and vegetables.

  • Freshly chopped leaves gives flavour to Jam, sweet sauces and herb butter

  • It acts as `digestif` after a banquet and will refresh the body and mind.

  • It used in the preparation of biscuits, cheese, eggs, soup, stews, sauces

  • It is also used in meat, fish poultry and stuffing or rabbit

  • It is used for the preparation of Rosemary tea, wine.

  • Medicinal

    For diuretic disorder
    Prepare diuretic tea- take one tea spoon leaves boil it with Lovage and Juniper Rosemary water (Rosemary steeped in boil water) improved the skin, and used as a hair wash. It also stimulates hair growth.
  • It acts on weak digestion, flatulence, neuralgic pains.

  • It stimulates circulation of blood

  • It widens the tissues where it is applied

  • It acts as a room freshner-twigs are burnt to give the aroma

  • It is used as a moth repellant with other herbs

  • Oil of Rosemary; Soak apieal shoots and leaves in vegetables oil for a week and keep it in the sun. Then the oil is filtered and used as Oil of Rosemary

  • Not very popular in the Indian cuisine, Parsley leaves form an important part of the Western cuisine. Parsley is rich in its nutritive value. It contains vitamins A, B & C and many other nutrients. Parsley is an attractive garnish. It is added to soups, salads and seafood. It goes into preparation of sauces, herb butter and savory breads. Dried parsley flakes are used for seasoning a variety of food.

    It also finds use in beverages and medicines.
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